How to make Naturally Fermented Fruit Fizz
This bubbly drink is a simple ferment composed of fruit, sugar, water, air and time.
With the help of the naturally occurring yeasts on the skins of the fruits, these simple ingredients can be transformed into a delicious good-time brew. Using high quality ingredients such as organic local fruits will increase your fermenting success!
1.5 cups white sugar
2 litres un-chlorinated water (spring, filtered, or well water will work)
4 cups fruit (approx.)
1 gallon wide-mouth glass jar
Cheesecloth for covering and straining
Funnel for bottling
Fermentation grade swing-top bottles (approx. 6 500ml bottles)
First, dissolve the sugar and half the water in the large glass jar. Add the fruit, top with more water leaving an inch of space at the top. Stir vigorously.
Put the jar in an easy to reach spot, leave the jar uncapped, covering with a cloth to keep the flies out, and stir multiple times a day to re-submerge the fruit.
Stir and stir and stir every day, at least 2 times up to 10. Whenever I walk by or think about it I give the jar a stir. This achieves multiple things; drowning any moulds that are thinking of growing on the surface, adding oxygen to the brew, and agitating the ferment - in a good way.
After 2-4 days you will see bubbles forming! The time it takes to ferment will depend on conditions like the temperature of your kitchen and the natural yeasts on your fruit. Taste the brew regularly, it will start very sweet, then gradually become more fruity and flavourful as days go by.
A few days later (approx 5-8 days after starting), the bubbling will calm down slightly. Strain the fruit (it will be strangely tasteless), squeezing out every drop of goodness if you don’t mind a cloudy brew, or letting the fruit drain naturally if you want a clear brew.
At this point you can bottle right away, or whenever it tastes good to you. You should not taste sugar, but full fruit flavour! If you continue to ferment the brew for a couple days it will start to taste tangy with a little funk to it (I prefer this flavour). If you continue to ferment it will become slightly alcoholic, like a wine. If you are concerned about trace amounts of alcohol you can either ferment for a shorter amount of time, or reduce the sugar.
In this ferment, the source of the fizzy bubbles are wild yeasts consuming sugar and releasing gas. Please take extra care when bottling, as these yeasts will continually produce gas, increasing pressure as time goes on.
Only use fermentation grade bottles. These can be found at wine brewing stores (I bought mine at the Bulk Zone in Thunder Bay), Grolsch beer bottles also work well. Avoid decorative olive oil bottles with the swing-top seal, these cannot handle internal pressure. If you seal the fermenting brew in a regular glass container it will eventually explode - this is very dangerous!
Pour the strained liquid into the bottles, leaving the neck of the bottle empty. Seal the top and leave on the counter top for an hour or so. Monitor the pressure inside by opening the bottle (called burping) and listening to how much pressure is released. Alternatively, you can fill a plastic water bottle with the brew, cap it, and monitor the pressure by squeezing the sides. As the pressure builds the plastic walls will become firm.
Once the bottles are as fizzy as you like (usually 1-2 hours at room temp), put them in the fridge to slow the fermentation process. Keep in mind the pressure will continue to slowly build in the bottles, so burp them every day even when storing in the fridge. Enjoy!
I have been using this recipe for several years, and have tried many kinds of fruit with great success! Rhubarb, peach, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, apple, pineapple, and pear work wonderfully. Combinations of any of these are also good, such as rhubarb-apple. 4 cups is a good amount overall, but with milder fruits such as peach or rhubarb I tend to add a little more, and strong flavoured fruit like raspberry or blueberry I add less. The more fruit the stronger the flavour, experiment and find what you like!
As with all fermented foods, if it looks or smells questionable or develops slime, throw it in the compost and start over. You may see a thin layer of white yeast on top if you forget to stir, generally this yeast is harmless and can be stirred back into the mixture, but if you are in doubt throw it out.
If you plan on taking these fizzy drinks to the beach or on a hike, burp the bottles before you go to avoid a Champagne-like blast of fizz!
I have adapted this recipe from Sandor Katz’s Young Country Wine recipe.