This is a really tasty soda alternative. You can control the amount of sugar–if the fruit is really sweet, cut back on some of the sugar. Other fruits to consider are strawberries, peaches, nectarines. Make sure they’re sweet enough to eat on their own. Check out the recipe for Sour Cherry Syrup on our blog, based on a Persian recipe

The syrup is ripe for canning–10 minutes in boiling water, follow traditional canning instructions (you’ll thank me in January).

2 c or so fresh blueberries
1 c sugar
1 c water
8 – 10 fresh basil or mint leaves, optional
4 1/2 t fresh lemon or lime juice (though bottled juice will work in a pinch)
1/8 t ground ginger or cinnamon or nutmeg
pinch of salt

1. Combine blueberries, sugar, water, and fresh herb, if using, in a saucepan over medium heat and bring just to the boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool some. Strain in a fine-meshed sieve. Allow to drip for a while; don’t press the berries or some of the seeds will make their way into the syrup. Reserve blueberries for another edible use.

3. Pour the contents into a bottle or jar and store in the fridge.

4. To make soda: Using a 1:2 ratio, 1 part syrup to 2 parts carbonated water, combine in a glass, and fill with ice. You could add a splash of vodka, white rum, or white wine if you like.

5. To make your own carbonated soda: Using the 1:2 ratio, put into a glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid (I like to use a mason jar with the metal lid and rim) and add a pinch of active (baking) yeast. Seal and shake to dissolve yeast. Allow to carbonate at room temperature for 1 to 3 days (hot weather will speed carbonation). Test each day for carbonation: when you unscrew or open the lid you should hear a little hissing sound, or pour out a small amount into a glass and check for bubble. Be sure to tightly seal the “mother” bottle.  Store in the fridge and drink within a few days, as the carbonation can build up in the bottle…