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How To Make Lemon Soda At Home

For those of you who need of a fun activity for your kids (or yourself), we have asked teacher, Nandi Devan, to create this Lemon Soda Science Experiment.

For many of us work from homers, it is hard to juggle getting our work done and keeping our families occupied with fun and rewarding activities. So, we’ve asked Nandi Devan, Biology and Marine Biology teacher at Coronado High School, to share one of his favorite at-home science experiments with us—homemade soda. You will be surprised at just how easy (and how much healthier) making your very own soda will be!

*Sodas made with yeast do turn into alcohol if left for too long. Be sure to open your sodas from time-to-time to “burp” them.

Let’s Get Started

For all you who are stuck at home, homeschoolers, or parents looking for something to do, this blog is for you. Making soda is a fantastic way to incorporate hands-on activities in your day-to-day routine while using science to create something delicious. For most of us, if we are craving something sweet and bubbly, we’ll head to the store and pick up Coca-Cola, La Croix, or your favorite craft soda. But, with store visits being limited during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is super easy to make your own soda with ingredients that you may (or may not) already have right in your kitchen.

How To Make Lemon Soda At Home

To make lemon soda, you will need the following items:

  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • 1 g jug (filled with H2O)
  • Airlock
  • Sugar
  • Raisins
  • Yeast

Other Items You Can Use

If you do not have some of these items, do not worry! There are some simple alternatives available:

  • First off, you do not have to have a 1-gallon jug. You can easily swap this out for a mason jar of any size (with a lid), but quart and two quarts are best.
  • Airlocks aren’t common items to have around the house. If you do not have one, you can use a balloon. If you are using a Mason jar, only the lid is needed (no airlock or balloon).
  • Sugar is fine, but be sure to use minimally processed sugar (i.e. not white), and honey is even better and results in a different flavor than if you use sugar.
  • The most important and necessary ingredient to get the carbonation that you crave is yeast. Now, any yeast can work, but if you want max bubblage, I highly recommend buying a champagne yeast. It is a specially formulated yeast for making champagne, hence the name, because of its better ability to produce carbon dioxide than regular active dry yeast. In fact, this is great because regular yeast is hard to come by right now, but champagne yeast is fully in stock!

The Science Behind Soda

The science behind this is very simple. The lemons are there just for flavor. In fact, you can use any type of fruit that you’d like! The sugar or honey that you use is the main food source for the added yeast. As the yeast breaks down the sugars the yeast releases carbon dioxide in the form of gas. This is why the bubbles are produced. The purpose of the airlock or balloon is to prevent oxygen from entering the living soda environment. As the yeast releases carbon dioxide, it is allowed to exit through the airlock or balloon while preventing oxygen outside the bottle from entering. So how do you make lemon soda? Read below to find out.

Step 1: Gather all your materials

Step 2: Measure out the ingredients

  • 2 – 4 C of fresh lemon juice, depending on your taste preference
  • 2 – 3 C of water, depending on your sweetness preference

Step 3: Mix water with sugar and lemon juice

  • Put in a large pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the stove and wait until the mixture reaches ~100°F. This could take a while, so be patient.

Step 4: Add 5 – 10 raisins to the jug or mason jar and pour in lemon mixture

  • Add the airlock, balloon, or lid to your container
  • Notice that the raisins sunk to the bottom. The raisins are for two things: (1) once they float, they tell you that the soda is nicely carbonated and (2) they provide natural, wild yeast to the concoction.
  • Now is a good time to label your container, too, with the drink and date.

Step 5: Wait 2 – 4 days.

  • The longer you wait, the less sweet and more carbonated your soda should be.
  • Also by now, all the raisins should be floating
  • You should also be seeing bubbles rising to the surface. Yay! That is the yeast doing its job, eating the sugars, and making carbon dioxide.

Step 6: Seal jug or disperse into bottles.

  • I like to siphon my soda into separate 16oz swing-top bottles. You may use old soda bottles you have lying around or just seal up the container that the soda is already in.
  • I suggest leaving the soda at room temperature for one more day before putting it in the fridge.

That’s it, now you can enjoy some quality soda sipping with your family, and feel rewarded for making your very own craft soda at home! What science experiments have you tried so far? Let us know below!

This post was written by Nandi Devan, High School Biology and Marine Biology teacher at Coronado High School. You can find out more about him on his blog or his Teachers Pay Teachers store.