Obviously, the Coca-Cola company is the only one with the secret formula for the actual Sprite brand soda, so I'll clarify my headline a little bit. You can make a drink that reportedly tastes "almost exactly like Sprite", using pine needles. This is according to a post I recently stumbled upon in a Montana foraging group on social media. Read on for the recipe.

Credit: The Coca-Cola Company
Credit: The Coca-Cola Company
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Free food!

Foraging is the act of gathering wild food from the natural environment. This ancient practice has been used for centuries by hunter-gatherers and is still used today by many cultures around the world. Foraging allows people to connect with nature and learn about the different plants and animals that can be found in their local area. It also allows for a more sustainable and self-sufficient way of obtaining food. Foraging can include collecting fruits, nuts, berries, mushrooms, and even insects. Many Montanans forage for wild mushrooms, huckleberries, and ditch asparagus in the spring.

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Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash
Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash
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How to make pine needle Sprite.

It is important to be knowledgeable about which plants are safe to eat and to only take what is needed to ensure the preservation of the natural environment. That includes harvesting pine needles for this homemade Sprite concoction because one coniferous tree is poisonous to humans (the Yew tree). Here's the recipe to make one gallon of the Sprite-like drink:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 6 cups of conifer tree needles (you may use lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, white spruce, Rocky Mountain juniper, common juniper, red cedar, etc... just NOT yew).
  • lemon wedges for garnish/flavor

Dissolve the sugar in the water and let it cool to room temp before adding your (gently washed) pine needles to the sugar/water mixture. Screw a tight-fitting lid on the jar and let it sit for three days. The wild yeast in the pine needles will begin eating the sugar water. This produces mild fermentation, creating natural carbonation. How cool is that?

You don't want your homemade soda experiment to explode everywhere, so be sure to unscrew the jar lid after three days of fermentation to prevent excessive gas pressure from the yeast. You can learn more about pine needle Sprite HERE. Have you tried making this before? We'd love to hear about your experience. Email mornings@billingsmix.com

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