Where's the kaboom?
Further adventures in fermentation...
I decided to try my hand at lactofermented soda. This is soda made the old-fashioned way, with a "ginger bug", water, sugar syrup and flavourings. The basic methodology is covered here, along with some interesting political/philosophical musings.
I read it all very carefully and then proceeded to do many things wrong. First, I think I overfed the ginger bug by about 2 or 3 days, resulting in some kind of super-powered creature capable of fermenting many more gallons of liquid than I had. Secondly, I might have added too much sugar for the volume I had, but I realized as I was adding the liquid that I had only a quarter of the volume of starter I was supposed to have (according to the recipe). So basically I ended up throwing something together in a carboy and hoping for the best.
Here, to the best of my recollection, is what I used:
ginger bug: 1 cup water, with 2 tsp sugar and 2 tsp finely diced ginger added every day for 5-6 days.
3 1/2 gallons water
2 litres apple juice
2 kg blackberries, juice only
6 cups sugar
I put the carboy beside the fireplace, thinking the warmth would make up for the lack of starter. (The recipe suggests 1 cup of starter for each gallon of liquid.) I was quite surprised to see the carboy airlock begin to blip the next day. I let it go another 2 days then decided it was fermenting away nicely, so I should bottle it and let it get fizzy. I did so. The next day my neighbour came by and, as she was heading off for Christmas, I figured I should give her a bottle. Before I did I opened one to see how the carbonation was going. It was definitely going!!! Fortunately I had the foresight to open it in the sink. It made a bit of a mess but it was mostly contained, and it was really yummy. Then, for some reason, I thought it was still a good idea to give my neighbour a bottle so she could put it in her van and bump it around for the 200 km to Port Alberni. In my defense, SHE thought it was a good idea too.
I gave a bunch of the rest to other friends and they have not yet called to complain so I am hopeful. But the bottle that went to Port Alberni exploded all over the kitchen there when opened - like, BOOM right up to the ceiling - and when I heard that I decided that maybe the bottles I'd stored in the cool entryway were not quite cold enough, as that exploding bottle had been stored outside. I took them over to Justine's for lunch today and told her to open the first one with a plastic bag over it in the sink. KABOOM! Went right through the plastic bag and splattered all over her kitchen, her clothes, her shoes and her husband. Good times. We opened the second bottle outside but it was not quite as explosive, probably because we had the camera ready to go to capture the action.
It is truly delicious soda, though - almost worth the explosions. It's refreshing and nicely balanced - the blackberry flavour isn't too sweet or overwhelming and I would totally do it again. Except maybe with more... caution.