Did you know that those lovely smelling lilac flowers in your yard are edible and taste as good as they smell? If you haven’t tried them, it’s time, and wild fermented lilac & honey soda is a great recipe to start with.
Adding botanicals from your back yard or other outdoor places has a great advantage. They are abundant in wild yeasts. This makes the perfect built-in starter for many ferments. Lilacs have an intoxicating scent and taste that make this a unique and refreshing wild soda.
Tips for Making Wild Fermented Drinks
Wild fermentation is a fascinating concept and is the ultimate form of alchemy. Wild yeasts are all around us. They live on plant surfaces, in the air, and on insects. You can lure them in and coax them into making liquid gold out of ordinary ingredients. All you need is to provide something for these little guys to eat (sugar) and some oxygen. Combine these with some botanicals, you’ll be able to enjoy some of your own wild fermented soda.
- Choose unrefined sugars: Honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut sugar are all excellent choices. These types of forms of sugar contain essential minerals that yeasts love. Refined sugar works as well, but if you choose to use this, add a few drops of molasses for the best results.
- Stir, stir, and stir some more: Yeast needs more than sugar alone to thrive, it also needs to breathe. Stirring a few times per day when making your fermented drinks will add plenty of oxygen. Stir clockwise, then reverse and stir counterclockwise. Do this for 1-2 minutes at a time.
- Be patient: When your concoction begins to bubble and fizz when you stir, you’ll know you’re in business. Sometimes, it can take a little longer than expected. This is usually due to using unrefined sugar sources. Honey, for example, takes much longer for yeasts to break down than table sugar.
- Timing is everything: If you don’t want your soda to turn to wine, transfer it to bottles for secondary fermentation right when it begins to bubble. If your aim is wine, allow it to continue until the bubbling has slowed. If your aim is vinegar, allow it to keep going after the bubbling has stopped. These are all great options, know what your desired outcome is, and keep a close watch.
Making this wild fermented lilac & honey soda is a great way to experience the magic of wild yeasts. Once you have befriended the yeast fairies and learned their ways, you’ll be ready to come up with your own brews. Please feel free to reach out to me on your journey with any questions or comments you might have.
Wild Fermented Lilac Honey Soda
A seasonal lilac and honey soda that is fermented using wild yeasts
- 5 C Unchlorinated Water
- 1 C Raw Honey
- 2 C Freshly picked lilac flowers (all stems and leaves removed)
- 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
In a large jar or another non-metal container, combine all of the ingredients and stir vigorously until the honey is completely dissolved.
Place a coffee filter or a clean towel on top of the container and secure it with a rubber band.
Allow the mixture to ferment in a warm place out of direct sunlight for 3-7 days, stirring vigorously 2-3 times per day to add oxygen.
When the soda begins to bubble and become fizzy when stirred, strain and transfer to an airtight bottle or jar with a lid. Swing top bottles work best.
Allow to sit for another 1-2 days at room temperature until the desired level of carbonation has been achieved.
Be sure to burp the bottles or jar at least once daily to prevent bottle bombs.
Transfer to the refrigerator and enjoy!