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Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

December 17, 2016

Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday season with this bubbly, naturally probiotic rich fermented cranberry soda!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I remember the year like it was yesterday…

My oldest was 2 1/2 and we were enjoying a delicious New Year’s dinner platter of raw cheeses, crackers, fruit, olives – the works! My husband and I had glasses of wine to ring in the new year and my toddler was all of a sudden not as excited about her glass of milk!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Listen…kids love to celebrate just as much as we do!

Creating amazing memories for them while they are little so that the smells, the people, the traditions, and the food have a warm, nostalgic feeling every time the holidays come around builds family pride and appreciation.

After that year we started making sure that the girls had something special to drink with us as we rang in the new year as a family! (They also love having these fun swing top bottles to make them feel like they have their own special drink!)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

Naturally fermented, bubbly cranberry soda became our New Year celebration tradition!

While some years I chose the easier route and served store bought Kombucha as I sleepily nursed newborns, or tended to crabby witching hour toddlers, we are now in a really cool season of kids that actually sleep through the night (most of the time!), and a couple of older kids that really love to help in the kitchen and truly appreciate real food.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Use real food to make real, bubbly soda!

All you need to make a traditionally fermented soda is a fermenting medium such as whey, a ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha, a little sugar for them to feed on to grow, and a really fun seasonal fruit to flavor it! You can choose whatever fermenting medium you wish, and the cranberries give this soda the most vibrant, beautiful red color you have ever seen! It is also helpful to have these grolsch/swing top type bottles to make your fermenting happen easily!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

A note on the sugar

The sugar in the recipe is for the probiotic bugs, not for you! While there is some sugar left behind, the amount is completely up to you! The longer you let the drink ferment, the less sugar there will be, as the bugs in the fermenting medium (the whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha) eat up the sugar.

The beauty is in being able to taste it along the way. I check the bottles every couple days and decide when it’s done. It’s pretty cold up here so fermenting happens slow in the winter – if you are in a warmer climate I would recommend checking for taste daily.

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Fermented drink newbies, this part is for you!

If you are new to fermenting drinks, don’t be intimidated! It is so easy!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a fermenting medium such as a ginger bug, water kefir grains, or a SCOBY for kombucha, simply strain off some whey from a container of quality yogurt and you’ll be good to go! Put a thin towel over a bowl, scoop a 32oz container of plain, whole milk yogurt into the towel, and then tie the towel up to a cupboard door handle. The whey will drip out into the bowl – you’ll need about 1 cup to make this drink recipe and that should take about an hour-ish to drip if you squeeze it a little. The leftover yogurt in the towel is essentially “Greek yogurt”, or, if you strain it completely, it is like cream cheese!

(If you are interested in getting into more fermenting, here is my full tutorial about getting into water kefir brewing, and I love these tutorials from The Nourished Kitchen on making and using a ginger bug, as well as how to brew kombucha.)

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Have the kids help you bottle up something special to ring in the new year! The hands on time is pretty minimal – once it’s bottled it just needs some time to sit and work it’s bubble magic!

Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Fermented Cranberry Soda :: A naturally probiotic rich, kid friendly, real food soda!
  • 8 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2½ - 3 cups organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup whey, OR 1 cup ginger bug, OR 1-2 quarts brewed water kefir or kombucha
  1. Put the cranberries, water, and sugar into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until the cranberries soften and burst. You can use the back of your wooden spoon or a potato masher to squish them up.
  2. Pour the cranberry sugar mixture through a strainer over a gallon jar to strain the cranberry pulp from the sugary cranberry syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of your wooden spoon to push the liquid through the strainer, spreading the pulp around. The leftover pulp can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into yogurt or soaked oats.
  3. Let the cranberry syrup cool to lukewarm/room temp and then stir in your fermenting medium (The whey, ginger bug, or brewed water kefir or kombucha). If using the whey or ginger bug, you'll have to add water to top off the gallon jar leaving a couple inches of head space
  4. At this point, you can either put a tight lid on your jar to ferment, or transfer to swing top/grolsch style bottles to ferment. Leave the soda at room temp for a few days to a week, checking for taste daily. The rate of fermenting greatly depends on the environment in which you live. This time of year where I live the fermenting takes 7-10 days since it is so cold here (we do have heat but it is still quite cool - this week we were in the single digits for wind chills!). I leave the flip top bottles up in a high cupboard where the heat rises in the kitchen near my stove. I do find that my ferments finish up faster using the flip top bottles versus a jar with lid. A Pickle Pipe on your jars work just as good as flip top bottles in my experience too. (I love my Pickle Pipes!)
  5. Once your cranberry soda is the taste and amount of natural carbonation you like, transfer your jar or bottles to the fridge to slow down the fermenting. They will keep in the fridge 3-4 weeks.

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  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish December 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    LOVE this recipe!!! And it’s SO gorgeous! Such a beautiful, festive color!

  • Reply Alex from Happy Body Formula December 19, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Really festive! I’d love to make a batch of this for holiday parties for those who are avoiding spirits for the season which I know quite a few of! It’s so nice to have a healthier and tasty option.

  • Reply Halle From Whole Lifestyle Nutrition December 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    OMG, the red!!! So in love with this recipe! I can not wait for my kids to try this one, they LOVE cranberries! Thanks for the AMAZING recipe! 🙂

  • Reply Jessica DeMay December 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    What a fun festive drink! My husband and I don’t drink alcohol so this would be the perfect special drink for us 🙂

  • Reply Jo Hughes December 20, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Renee- When you say whey, would whey from milk kefir work?

    • Reply Renee Kohley December 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

      I think that would work Jo 🙂

      • Reply Jo Hughes December 21, 2016 at 2:14 am

        Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Irena Macri December 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Definitely going to have to make some of this to get me through the holidays this year! It’s beautiful.

  • Reply ChihYu December 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    This is so perfect for the holiday season. I’m going to make this for my house guests !

  • Reply Cristina Curp December 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Love love love the color…. bonus for delish and gut healthy!

  • Reply Katja December 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    This looks so delicious. And perfect for the holidays! Lovely photos!

  • Reply Rachel December 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Gorgeousssss color in this soda!

  • Reply Real Food with Dana December 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Woah, gorgeous!! Love the idea of getting in some probiotics to celebrate the New Year!

  • Reply Kari Peters December 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This soda is so beautiful, that deep cranberry color is mesmerizing!

  • Reply Michele Spring December 21, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve gotten out of fermenting stuff lately but I think this is going to make me get back into it! My kids would go nuts over this and after this trip we are on in Mexico with the kids drinking tons of sugary pina coladas, they need to get back on the healthier drink train! This will be just the thing.

  • Reply Taesha December 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I’m so excited to see this recipe up! What a fun and festive drink that is so god for the gut too! Love it!

  • Reply Kelly Bejelly December 22, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I’m SO ready to celebrate 2017 and this drink makes me want to party already! I have to say I think it is so wonderful to see you and your husband want to include your kids in the festivities. What a fun way to make them (or anyone) feel special. Happy New Year!

  • Reply STACEY CRAWFORD December 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    This sound so good! I love cranberries! Lovely photos too!

  • Reply Green Moms Network Week in Review December 23, 2016 at 6:58 am

    […] about some fermented cranberry soda to help ring in the new year? Raising Generation Nourished has got the […]

  • Reply Becky Winkler December 23, 2016 at 9:13 am

    This is so pretty! I’ve never tried fermenting but your tips have me feeling inspired. Love those bottles, too!

  • Reply Carrie Forrest December 26, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Can I just say that this is amazing?! The color of this is absolutely incredible and I imagine the taste must be simply tantalizing. Also, I love that it is wonderful that it is equally wonderful for adults and children alike.

  • Reply Alexa Bishop January 2, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Will the pickle pipes let all of the fizz out or just enough to keep it from exploding? I am a little nervous about having an explosion.

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Alexa! Yes Pickle Pipes are fine for the fermenting if you feel more comfortable with those!

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