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Fermented Orange Juice – an Orangina-type beverage

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Fermented Orange Juice - www.ohlardy.com

Growing up I moved around quite a bit (well, actually, a lot…13 schools in 12 years!), mostly between California and New Jersey…two completely different places with very different food cultures.

One of my biggest food memories of living in New Jersey (besides the amazing NY style pizza!) was going to our local bagel shop and getting a toasted plain bagel slathered with butter and a bottle of ice cold Orangina.  I visited this fall for a high school reunion and took my daughter to the same bagel store for the same treat!

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I can vividly remember cracking open the bottle of Orangina and loving the subtle sweetness of the sparkling orange beverage.  I realize you can buy Orangina many places but for me, it will always be associated with New Jersey and bagels.  It seemed ‘fancy' to me at the time, a step above other traditional American sodas.

Reading the ingredient label, though, suddenly made this drink not so appealing!  Unfortunately, in the US, the second ingredient in the drink is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.  Yuck!!

I have been looking for a way to make a simpler, healthier version at home.

One easy way is to simply mix fresh orange juice with sparkling water.  You could also add a splash of grapefruit and lemon juice as well.  But I wanted to go even healthier!

I saw in the book Nourishing Traditions that there was a lacto-fermented orange juice recipe of an ‘Orangina' type drink.  This seemed promising.  Having a tasty, sparkling orange beverage WITH added benefit of good bacteria, enzymes and vitamins!?  Why not!  You know, here at Oh Lardy, we love our lacto-fermented foods and all the benefits that come with them!

Does the topic of fermenting baffle you?  We created a Fermenting eCourse just for you and when you sign up, we will send you a Quick Start Guide!  Grab the eCourse and the guide here!

I gave the Nourishing Traditions recipe a go, but the end result was too salty for me and seemed to be a tad complicated of a recipe for such a simple beverage.

I ended up making my own simple recipe for lacto-fermented orange juice.  My daughter absolutely LOVES this drink and I feel it is much better for her than plain juice.  It is full of probiotic goodness, deliciously sparkling and subtly sweet.  It also makes a delicious jello!


Fermented Orange Juice



  • Take 1 quart mason jar.
  • Add approximately 2 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (I cheated and bought the fresh squeezed oj at the store instead of juicing my own)
  • Add 1/2 tsp culture starter (or 2 tbsp whey) and pinch of salt
  • Fill with approximately 1 cup room temperature filtered water, leaving 1 inch or so of headspace.
  • Cover tightly , give a quick shake to mix and leave at room temperature for 48 hours.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy!
  • Be sure to open carefully as gases do build up during fermentation!!
***Update: if your kitchen is warm, it may ferment faster.  Look for pressure on your lid and bubbles.  48 hours worked fine in my 70 degree kitchen with halogen under-cabinet lights turned on.

Also, it really should be fresh squeezed orange juice, not from concentrate and not things like the refrigerated 100% juices.  They may turn out tasting a bit different.  Click here to read more on bottled orange juice.

  • I did the same process except used all oj (no water).  This turned out great, but it fermented much quicker…24 hours.  This was a little bit more ‘sparkly' but I felt I could get more for my dollar by doing the recipe above with added filtered water.
  • Instead of all orange juice, you could do a mix of mostly orange juice and add a bit of grapefruit, lemon and mandarin juice to get closer to the Orangina flavor.
  • You could easily double this recipe and use a 1/2 gallon mason jar if you wish.
  • If you like to imbibe every now and again, this is AMAZING with vodka 😉

For more information on fermenting foods, check out our other posts: health benefits, what are the bugs in our belly, what you need to ferment foods at home, how to use fermented foods and more fermented recipes!

Pin for later:

Fermented Orange Juice - www.ohlardy.com


More Fermented Drink Recipes:

Elderberry Wine from And Here We Are

Fermented Ginger Bug Soda from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

Blackberry Soda from And Here We Are

Fermented Lemonade from Food Renegade

Elderflower Soda from And Here We Are

Hard Cider from And Here We Are


Featured at:  Real Food Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Fight Back Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Sunday School Blog Carnival, Make Your Own Monday, Thank Goodness It's Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday




  1. I can’t wait to try this! We are building a house on an old orange grove, so this will come in handy. I am so happy to know that it is ok to make it without the salt. I tried NT’s recipe and didn’t like it so much, but this sounds delicious!

  2. I’m excited to try this! I’m always getting tons of oranges from my grandma’s orange grove and fermented orange juice sounds amazing!

  3. This looks really good! I’m so glad you shared it on Wildcrafting Wednesday, I can’t wait to try it myself! 🙂

    1. I have never done that. But I have had success with previously frozen fresh berries for fermented berries. It’d be worth a try! Let me know how it turns out!!

    2. It’ll work just fine.
      Just warm it up. ; )
      If you notice a change in the juice itself from the freezing process, you might notice a similar difference in the fermented product.

  4. Just made 3 quarts. Can’t wait until it’s “cooked/fermented”. Thanks for making it so easy to get the culture starter and mason jars. I just clicked on your links and ordered them.

  5. I let it ferment 24 hrs using all freshly juiced oranges. There were little bubbles on top. I just checked the taste and it has a sharp taste, somewhat unpleasant. Not like alcohol, more like the difference between sharp and mild cheddar. I left in a warm spot. Did I leave it too long? This is my very first fermenting attempt.

    1. Hmmmm…it shouldn’t taste too sharp. Fermented foods can have a bit of an ‘unpleasant’ taste but my oj did not. I would describe mine as ‘sparkling’. I think It should be fine. It might have fermented fast if it was warm. I let my taste buds be my guide for fermenting…if it tastes truly horrid, I toss it.

      1. It tastes kind of like grapefruit juice. I just skimmed whey off the top of my yogurt without straining (no cheesecloth!). Could that have done it? Thank you for your help!!! 🙂

    2. Fermenting OJ can have an off flavor for a day or two before it settles in. It’ll taste like it’s going bad because, well, it is. But in a good way. Set your usual OJ expectations aside, enjoy your new and different beverage.

  6. I would love to try this, but am new to lacto-fermented foods… when you mentioned the powdered culture starter, are you referring to one in particular?

      1. I use the contents of a good probiotic capsule mixed with a little water and it works GREAT as a starter culture – I thought I was going to have an OJ geyser when I opened the bottle (verrrrrry slowly and over the sink since the cap was bulging!). Lucky you being able to buy fresh-squeezed unpasteurized orange juice! The organic oranges I could get were such sorry little things that it took *12* of them to get the 2 1/2 C juice with my little hand juicer! (And at 50 cents apiece, this was a VERY expensive quart of fizzy goodness. Uncle Matt’s Organic is pasteurized but doesn’t have any fake ingredients in it; a 59oz bottle is $6, but I could get 3 batches of “Orangina” out of one bottle of juice. To look on the bright side, I now have a ton of dried orange peel to use in baking, since I took the potato peeler to them before I juiced them).

        I think I may have let it go a little too long (I let it ferment exactly 48 hours as your recipe called for, as a sort of benchmark) because it was VERY sour; my oranges were a fairly normal level of sweetness, not super-sweet like clementines or honey tangerines. I had to add some liquid stevia (the only kind of stevia that doesn’t have a strongly bitter aftertaste to me) to make it drinkable, and I diluted the finished product in the glass with more filtered water, about 50/50, since it was a lot thicker than bottled Orangina which was always one of my favorite sodas too. Then it was really good! I tasted it at 24 and 36 hours (using the straw trick) and it didn’t have hardly any fizz. Next time I’ll make it when I’ll be home the last 12 hours or so and taste it every hour to see if I can catch it with some fizz but before it gets so sour my eyeballs pucker. >) But it’s a million billion trillion light-years better than that nasty salty stuff in NT, which is like sour orange seawater…

  7. This was my first attempt, drianed the whey, squeezed the oranges, two days later no bubbles, still just tasted like pretty regular OJ nothing sparkly about it. My house is kept pretty cold 69/70 at the warmest, drops to 65 during the day, I left it about 52 hours. Could it need more time? I put it in the fridge now just because I don’t know what to do, can I take it back out and let it sit, maybe put it near a heater for a day?

    1. Maybe leave it out one more day? It should still be fine to drink. I have 3 quarts on my counter now that are going on 24 hours underneath halogen cabinet lights and, while there are no visible bubbles, the canning lid is bursting with pressure.
      Fermenting is such a quirky thing! Sometimes you just have to try again. I have a friend who has been fermenting for 10 years and for whatever reason, she can not get things to ferment with whey in her house. She has tried everything. She has fermented things at other people’s houses with whey just fine. She thinks it is something weird with her house’s microbial environment.
      Not saying you can’t ferment with whey 😉 just giving an example of the quirkiness of fermenting!

    1. Maybe? Fermented foods do have a touch of a ‘gone bad’ flavor. People who are used to very sweet things may find that difficult at first. I do find the orange juice is one of the easiest to start with. Hmm…it shouldn’t taste like oj gone bad…just like less sweet but sparkling oj. Did you use fresh squeezed orange juice? (as in you squeezed oranges yourself?) Many store bought orange juices have been pasteurized and you will not get a consistent result fermenting it.

      1. yes- i squeezed fresh organic oranges- it doesn’t taste sparkling to me at all 🙁 Might have to give it another try…maybe my kitchen was too warm and it over fermented?

        1. Possibly! That is one of the quirks of fermenting…sometimes things go bad and it is hard to figure out why! Good luck! Hopefully it works out for you next time as it is pretty delicious!

  8. Finally getting to try this. I used the Vitamix and not a juicer, so it’s pulpier than a straight juice would be. Looking forward to the results. I’m not quite ready to DIY kombucha yet but the store-bought is $$, so this would be a great substitute.

  9. I had two ruby red grapefruits and two big oranges so I did a mixture which gave me about half a quart of juice. I used a little liquid from some cultured ginger carrots I had along with whey and in right around 26 hours, I had to let the CO2 out. Not sure if I should go longer for more bubbles or if this is it, since it is my first go at juices and Kvass’. I am so excited though!

  10. Thanks for this recipe! I’m heading to the kitchen now to give it a try. I thought the NT version was salty, too. And I have to say that I love the name of your blog!

  11. Just tried this for my son who LOVED Orangina in France (don’t want to buy the US version.) I let it go a bit longer (I forgot about it), but it seems right (tastes like bubbly, less sweet orange juice.) I really enjoyed it, hope he does too!

    Question – I used the Body Ecology powder, but once this is fermented, for future batches is there any way to use some of the existing fermented juice as a “starter?” (I am brand new to this, but just wanted to check if I needed the powder for each batch.)

    1. Technically you can use the liquid of a previously fermented batch of food to start the next. However, I’d be careful with fermented fruit liquid as it can turn to alcohol. You could give it a shot and see…maybe with a small batch?
      And, yes, that is exactly what it should taste like…bubbly, less sweet oj!
      Fermented fruit drinks can last about a month or so in the fridge. But, mine are always gone by then!

      1. Thanks! I know this batch I just made won’t last a week. Great news! My son LOVES it! Going to make a bigger batch this weekend when I get some oranges.

        1. That’s great! If you ever find that the oj gets too ‘not sweet’ sometimes I add a drop of pure stevia extract or a pinch of honey for the kiddos 😉 Enjoy!! (btw, it makes a good popsicle too!)

  12. I finally just tried this recipe. I am pretty new to fermenting, but have been very successful with sauerkraut, pickles, and cranberry sauce. I followed the directions exactly, and it tasted delicious but never got even a bit fizzy. Any ideas?

      1. Yes, I did juice the oranges myself. The only thing I did differently is the filtered water was slightly cold, and I also ended up not needing to add quite as much water…probably only about 2/3 of a cup.

  13. I’ve been running a fermentation in OJ for several months now (since October) that started in (incompletely) pasturized cider.
    It’s in the fridge in a 1/2 gallon plastic jug with a screw cap (loose).
    I serve from that jug, and refill from the gallon when it gets down to about a pint, which takes about 2 days (single guy).
    If it goes too long, at can get unpleasant, but after about 5 days it becomes a beverage that Orangina wishes it could grow up to be.
    I’m using from-concentrate store-brand OJ. I’m sure fresh squeezed would be even more marvelous but I’m just a poor blacksmith.
    Oh, and it’s _really_ good with pineapple juice.

    – Carl

  14. I use Caldwell’s starter for fermenting veggies. Do you think that culture would work for this too? If not how about some kombucha tea to ferment it? Those are the only two things I have on hand. Thanks!

  15. Hello,
    I will try it this weekend, it sounds fantastic! Can I use Caldwell’s Starter Culture ( it also says “for fresh vegetables” on the box). I thought making this soda might be easier than cutting and pounding veggies to start.

  16. I made this a couple weeks ago. I let it ferment for a week and it was just barely fizzy. My kitchen is pretty cold ~62-65 degrees. I meant to leave it out for another week, but forgot about it! It ended up fermenting for 3 weeks in a cool kitchen and it is SO good! It is super fizzy but also quite sour. I’m really enjoying it! Next time I’ll try not to forget about because it definitely fermented a bit too long, lol! I was wondering if this could be done with other juices too? Maybe cranberry or grape?
    Thanks for the great idea!

    1. I am glad it turned out! Fruit usually ferments quickly (24-48 hours) but you describe a cold kitchen for sure. Yes, most fresh juices work well fermented, even a mix of them! Experiment and let us know how it turns out!

    1. You can use tap water. Filtered water would be any water run through a filter. The reason we don’t recommend tap water, is most city tap water is treated with chlorine which could possibly hinder the fermentation process. The recommendation of filtered water is to keep the chlorine out of the fermentation.

  17. I’ve never fermented before (successfully) and, the recipe calls for sea salt – but, it’s not in the instructions? Could this be why my OJ isn’t fermenting with whey?? I keep my house at 72 – and it’s next to the fridge. Also, is it safe to drink if it doesn’t ferment?? Help please!!

    1. I just added the salt to the recipe. Good catch! I just use a pinch of salt as it helps halt ‘bad’ bacteria from growing. Some people don’t have success with whey. Try Culture Starter instead.

  18. This sounds devine… Can’t wait to make some… I read above that Mari used a good probiotic capsule mixed with a little water and it works GREAT as a starter culture… I have done this before when I fermented bananas and they were over the moon… Thank you so much for your posts… And every time I order from Amazon, how can I give your site credit?… I really like you guys… 🙂

  19. Hello there! I dont have whey or cant buy anything on line because of credit limit( ooops, have been buying too much!) Can I ferment with water kefir? Thanks foryour fast response!

  20. Hi i followed your recipe but instead of juicing the oranges i peeled them and blitzed them in my blender. (i wanted the extra fibre) after a few days the juice had turned into a kind of set jelly. It tastes and smells fine i was just wondering if you could enlighten me. I thought petrhaps it was the pectin.

  21. I am a huge fan of probiotic drinks and can’t wait to try this! Wouldn’t adding vodka to this just kill of the culture? Even if it does, that still sounds amazing!

  22. Where’s the best place to get a culture starter? Or the best type to get? New to this whole she-bang and want to be sure I do it right. This looks delicious though! I really want to try this at home.

  23. As with Billy, I am looking for other culture starters. In the past, whey has not worked, but I added some kombucha and that kicked it up. Ginger bug works great, but I wouldn’t want ginger in this particular recipe. Is there another type of “bug” that we can make that wouldn’t have such a strong flavor?

  24. I love fermented foods and make all kinds. I will try fermented orange juice, I’m thinking Blood orange juice fresh squeezed. My only comment is…and I have seen this mentioned in lots of articles by well meaning folks…adding whey to a basic none dairy ferment. Whey will ferment with lactose and milk protein found in dairy products. Even though it’s called, “locto fermentation”, there is no lactose involved in a lacto fermentation. Adding whey to start a lacto fermentation actually does nothing to help and may delay the fermentation start. They are two different types of bacteria and need two different foods for proper fermentation. So, you actually do not need whey to start a lacto fermentation! Cheers!

  25. Does the fermenting eat all the sugar in the orange juice or will this drink send my blood sugar level sky high? Thank you.

  26. Hi there… I love this recipe and just had to give it a try. I used kefir whey as my fermenting culture and no fizz.😕 So…. I added a little sugar and some more whey…. and still no fizz. I also make fermented soda using berries and whey, and it turns out crazy fizzy, so much so that if I’m not careful it will be all over the ceiling! Am I doing something wrong here? Should I ferment with Kombucha instead of Kefir whey? Thanks for the recipe!

  27. This Fermented Orange Juice seems delicious and amazing , I own an orange farm and always tried making juice in different way, thank you for sharing with us.

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