Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Soda-- I'm in heaven!!!!!!

OK, as I sit here tonight, I keep looking into the kitchen and marvel at the new toy this family just got today. What is it, you ask? It's a soda maker. Now I know most people look at that and think that we got the Soda Stream. Well, you couldn't be farther from the truth. I went with this soda system from Keg Connection. It consists of a CO2 bottle, something close to a welding/air pump guage, a hose with a connector on the end and a little gadget called the Carbonator. But before I go on and explain this system, I would like to give you all a background story on the reason we switched from Coke to this system.

As I sit here, I'm comtemplating about getting the LapBand put in. I try to eat right, and do what I can, but my weight has ballooned out of control. There were no diets that were working, and now I'm sitting at over 300 lbs. I've been told I need to cut out sodas, chocolate, anything that would have sugar in it. Someone would have to shoot me if I totally cut them out of my life. Then I sat back and realized, some of the weight problems began when they started bringing out convience foods and putting that high fruitcose corn syrup in sodas. That was around the start of the 80's when the microwave also came out. Before that, food was almost always cooked from scratch, and soda was still made from sugar. Maybe my family needs to take a trip back in time. Or maybe I can bring those days to the present.

So, now we are back to the soda maker. I did look at the Soda Stream, and just couldn't justify the cost of it when the CO2 canisters cost $15 for a tiny bottle. There are conversion kits out there, but they cost just as much as the machine does, so I started looking for alternatives. For what I would have payed for a Soda Stream and at least one extra CO2 bottle that might not last, I got the above setup, including extra bottle. These bottles hold 20oz of CO2 and I can get them refilled for only $4 each. Well, there's some savings, $4 vs $30 for the Soda Stream. You do the math. Another bonus-- I can mix the soda in some old 2 liter bottles, or 20oz bottles, where with the Soda Stream, I would be stuck with their 1 liter bottles.

I'm still on the search for syrups for it. I did make a decent root beer that rivals A & W and Hires Root Beers. For those that want the recipe, all I did was mix 1 cup each of sugar and water on the stove until it boils and all the sugar disolve, then mix in one teaspoon of McCormick Root Beer extract. Let cool and then put 1/8 of a cup (2 tablespoons or 1 ounce) in a cup and add ice and the carbonated water. Stir gently and enjoy. I'm also working on an “energy drink”. But we are planning on ordering the syrup concentrate and some 32oz bottles with pumps (like what you see at those sno cone shops) so we can meter out the syrup. We also tried the cola from Soda stream, even though we had to make 2 liters worth of it. It wasn't bad, tasted like Coke even though the syrup smelled like crap.

When we get more ideas about syrups, will come back and post them. One thing for everyone to remember if you get either system; Don't expect to carbonate your water/beverage to bubble like the commercial sodas do. But the taste so far competes with the commercial sodas.