How to Make Orangina (Fermented Orange Juice)

by Sarah Fermented Beverages, Recipes, VideosComments: 81

Oranges are the most commonly grown fruit tree in the world. A hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly the pomelo and the mandarin, the orange is widely grown in warm climes with Brazil and the United States (California and Florida) predominant.

The elementary school I attended in Dunedin, Florida happened to be located only a few miles from a Hood’s orange juice factory, now owned by Coca-Cola.

Many days, my classmates and I could smell the distinctive aroma of burning citrus peels from the belching smokestack. While the smell didn’t bother me too much, many of my classmates found it nauseating with some even choosing to stay indoors for recess on days when the wind was blowing in the school’s direction.

While burning citrus peel waste may not seem too problematic, the process of extracting the juice from the oranges in a factory setting definitely is. Conventional oranges are sprayed heavily with a class of pesticides called cholineseterase inhibitors, known to be highly toxic to the nervous system. An orange juice factory is able to squeeze up to 1,800 tons of oranges each day with the entire orange placed into the machines doing the processing – pesticides and all!

As if that isn’t enough to turn your stomach, acid sprays are used to ensure that every drop of juice is extracted from each orange including the oil from the skin. These toxic residues (not listed on the ingredient label) are served up with every glass of your “healthy” glass of supermarket OJ in the morning.

While orange juice can and should be a wonderfully healthy beverage, processed orange juice from the supermarket is clearly to be avoided!

How to best make orange juice a healthy choice? Surely, fresh squeezed from unsprayed oranges is the best choice, but you can take it even one step further if you’re game.

Orange juice is easily fermented into a delicious, bubbly beverage commonly referred to as orangina that includes a healthy dose of probiotics along with enhanced nutrition and enzymes too.

All you need to get started with homemade orangina is a dozen medium sized oranges – unsprayed is best. If you can’t easily obtain a bag of oranges, many healthfood stores sell freshly squeezed, unpasteurized orange juice in the refrigerated section.  While this would be a good alternative, squeezing your own would be the most economical way to make orangina.

In this latest video (which also happens to the the 100th lesson posted on my Youtube channel), I demonstrate how to transform oranges into fermented orange juice that is a healthy substitute for processed versions from the supermarket. As a bonus, you can bottle the fermented orange juice into orangina if you are seeking an alternative to orange soda.

Orangina: Fermented Orange Juice

orangina_miniRecipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

Makes 1 half gallon


12 unsprayed oranges of medium size (9 large oranges or 15 small oranges may be substituted)
1-2 tsp organic orange extract (sources)
1/4 tsp sea salt (sources)
1/4 cup liquid whey (click here for a video how-to; powdered whey cannot be substituted)
Filtered water


Squeeze the oranges to produce about 1 quart of unfiltered juice.  Add water and mix well in a half gallon mason jar (I like these) taking care to leave an inch or two at the top.

Stir in the sea salt and orange extract.  Screw on the lid and leave on the kitchen counter for two days. Refrigerate.

You may serve the chilled orangina plain or mixed with a bit of seltzer water to add additional carbonation. Alternatively, you can bottle the fermented orange juice to transform it into orangina – an orange soda like beverage. Click here for a video how-to on bottling homemade fermented drinks.

The orangina will last a month or two in the refrigerator and will develop an appealing orange/banana like flavor after a few days.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry

Switchel: Nature’s Healthy Gatorade

Make Your Own Healthy and Traditional Root Beer

How to Make Fermented Lemonade (Hindu Lemonade)

How to Make Ginger Ale

Comments (81)

  • Emily McMillan

    Can you use essential oils instead of orange extract?

    December 3rd, 2015 2:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah

      I’ve not tried this.

      December 4th, 2015 6:44 am Reply
  • Emily McMillan

    Can you use essential oils (wild orange) instead of extract?

    December 1st, 2015 3:59 pm Reply
  • Emma

    Hi. I have a question about this amazing recipe. I roughly followed your recipe-i peeled 7 organic oranges and blitzed them in my blender. (I wanted to extra fibre) I then added the salt and whey and filtered water (minus the orange extract). I stored it in a 2 liter glass bottle with an airlock (like a cider or beer making bottle) i left it on the bench for 3days until air bubbles started to bubble out of the airlick. When i opened the bottle to rebottle the juice for the second fermentation(for the extra bubbles ) i noticed that some of the pulp had set like jelly. I wasnt sure if this was the pectin in the oranges or something else. It tastes and smells fine its just kinda like lumpy orange juice with jelly.

    November 2nd, 2015 12:35 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It’s not a good idea to ferment anything with the skin as this greatly increases the chances for mold. If yours came out fine, that’s great!

      November 2nd, 2015 9:03 am Reply
  • Brooke

    I made this 2 days ago and left it out on the counter in the kitchen (68-70 degrees) for the past 2 days… just opened it up and it smells like rotten eggs??? What would cause it to smell like sulfur? Does it need to ferment longer or is it bad?

    February 8th, 2015 9:58 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Sounds like it’s bad. Did you use fresh OJ?

      February 8th, 2015 10:29 am Reply
  • Monica

    I made this and let it sit exactly 48 hours. I opened to stir, but noticed there was no fizz or bubbling. I followed the instructions exactly :( What could be the problem? We keep the house between 70 and 72 degrees.

    Since it did not fizz, is it still okay to drink?

    February 2nd, 2015 9:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It’s still fine. Probably not much fizz as your home was cool. You can bottle it (see link in post for how-to) to get the fizz if you like.

      February 3rd, 2015 7:17 am Reply
  • Stacey

    I made this and today is the second day yet I see no sign of bubbling with my juice. Is it not visible in juices? I am new to fermenting but I have done sauerkraut and a few other vegetables which always bubbled within a day or so. I added more than enough fresh whey to my orange juice and there are no signs of spoilage. Am I simply being impatient?

    January 27th, 2015 3:04 am Reply
  • M J.

    Must the half-gallon jars used for orangina and Hindu lemonade be sterilized for 10 or more minutes in boiling water? I’m having a problem finding a large enough container to sterilize the large jars. I have the same question with kraut, though I make that in quart jars and can properly sterilize those jars more easily.

    January 15th, 2015 7:15 pm Reply
  • Kristine

    Can you add essential oils to the fermented beverage? I would rather use wild orange then orange extract.

    December 12th, 2014 9:24 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That should be fine.

      December 12th, 2014 9:26 am Reply
  • reneekatz

    I did this with just fermenting 2 oranges in a jar with water. I left it out for 2 days, it tasted amazing and so carbonated! I got into fermenting fruit recently, almost any fruit left out for 2 days turns into something fizzy, less sugary, and amazing-tasting.

    August 24th, 2014 5:35 pm Reply
  • Aleta

    I have Concord Grapes that will be ripe soon. How do I make fermented grape juice. I prefer to keep the pulp in my juice.

    Can I use a Kombucha mother to ferment fruit? I know how to add the fruit to the Kombucha, but I just want plain juice fermented.

    July 19th, 2014 2:57 pm Reply
  • milena

    Hi Sarah,i love your blog i learn soo much thank you….
    Sarah how much water need my children drink per day in hot summer?
    is fermented beverages best options?.
    i hear to take 8 glasses per day of water?
    must i give them to drink or waiting they ask to drink?
    thank you Sarah

    June 16th, 2014 2:59 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    As I think more aboutmthis, I’m guessing the faster fermentation would not allow enough time for the probiotics

    April 30th, 2014 5:16 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    Hi Sarah,
    In one of the comments you replied that adding orange extract helps with the flavor since the juice is diluted to slow fermentation down. What would happen if you used full strength juice? A faster fermentaion, based on your comment, but is that a bad thing?

    Looking forward to making this!

    April 30th, 2014 5:05 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      As mentioned in the video, this would ferment the juice too fast and it would not work as well.

      April 30th, 2014 10:29 pm Reply
  • Molly

    HI Healthy Home Economist,
    I’ve been getting a lot of oranges in my CSA boxes lately and I hate eating them, so I made orangina as a treat! I only had 8 oranges so I made a slightly smaller batch. I finally pried it open to try today and boy was it fizzy – no seltzer would be required!
    I have a small issue though I was wondering if you’ve ever encountered – Although I can’t smell or taste it, it seems to contain a small amount of alcohol. My muscles are being systematically relaxed with the same sensations that having a few sips of wine does to me, after drinking this on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
    Do you ever get mild amounts of alcohol occurring in your batches? What would cause this, and is it cause for concern?

    April 30th, 2014 10:10 am Reply
    • Brian Love

      Anytime you ferment, there is alcohol present…yeast consume sugars, and expel co2 and etanol….fyi…but drink it, enjoy it

      January 30th, 2015 12:13 am Reply
  • Katie

    Hi, I made this & it was lovely my whole family enjoyed it. However it was flat, was it meant to be a little fizzy? I used whey leftover from making kefir cheese x

    April 6th, 2014 4:32 am Reply
  • Natashya Cole via Facebook

    Margaret Haines Whittington.. our next project I think.. – although you’d better leave the squeezing to me – lol!

    March 28th, 2014 12:47 pm Reply
  • Rhonal Rampersad via Facebook

    Shaun Rampersad

    March 28th, 2014 10:50 am Reply
  • Sarah Scott Barnette via Facebook

    We just tried this a few days ago and my four y/o in particular loves it! It feels good to give my kids what they need and to make it taste good :)

    March 28th, 2014 8:19 am Reply
  • Renee Carr via Facebook

    I want to try this!!

    March 28th, 2014 8:00 am Reply
  • Debbie Eisa via Facebook

    My first attempt at making Beet Kvass was going great and then mold started to grow on the lid. I also tried doing cucumbers, but they never crunched up…only seemed to get soggy. Now I’m a little hesitant to try other ferments. Maybe I needed one of those fancy jars with the airlock?

    March 28th, 2014 7:40 am Reply
  • Amanda Greene Bressi via Facebook

    Sounds yummy :)

    March 28th, 2014 3:16 am Reply
  • Michelle

    Please add the whey step to the recipe. I know it’s in the video but, why force pus to watch a video on an otherwise basic recipe? Or, I guess we can just google to find the recipe from another source?

    March 28th, 2014 2:12 am Reply
  • Emily

    Super cute shirt Sarah! :)

    March 28th, 2014 1:32 am Reply
  • Juliana Oushana via Facebook

    Wow. Thanks!!!!

    March 28th, 2014 12:22 am Reply
  • Vicki Lyon Carreiro via Facebook

    I’m wondering if I did something wrong. Mine didn’t get bubbly. It just seemed like regular OJ.

    March 28th, 2014 12:10 am Reply
  • Angela Banning via Facebook

    Does the whey get added at the beginning? I didn’t see where to add it in the directions.

    March 28th, 2014 12:10 am Reply
  • Rachael Smith DeMaggio via Facebook

    Sara Smith Justus enrichment idea

    March 27th, 2014 11:58 pm Reply
  • Rebecca Holt

    I regularly kill my kombucha grains, so maybe I will have more luck with this!!!!

    March 24th, 2014 9:33 pm Reply
  • DEB

    I made this using 8 large oranges, orange flavor and whey. I fermented for 2 hand a half days. I must say it is very reminiscent of orangina, but I was disappointed in the flavor of the orange flavor. Is there a diff between orange flavor and orange extract? I did notice that the orange flavor had sunflower oil in it.

    March 24th, 2014 7:48 pm Reply
  • Shoes

    Sounds Good! I was wondering what ferments I could do

    March 23rd, 2014 6:40 am Reply
  • Lori Labonte via Facebook

    So I loved your lemonade, however, I used water kefir grains instead of whey. I am guessing this can be made the same way the difference is it may have different strains of probiotics…..?

    March 21st, 2014 11:44 am Reply
  • Meg Stodghill via Facebook

    Drew Stodghill

    March 21st, 2014 2:40 am Reply
  • teresa

    Does the finished orangina get fizzy or bubbly?

    March 21st, 2014 2:13 am Reply
    • Molly

      If you use just enough salt and have enough live whey for your batch, it should be quite fizzy. Before opening mine the lid was extruding out from the gasses accumulating in the jar, and when opening I had to rush it to the sink because it almost frothed over!

      April 30th, 2014 10:13 am Reply
  • Jamie Pellman via Facebook

    Has anyone tried using orange essential oil rather than the extract?

    March 21st, 2014 1:09 am Reply
    • Molly

      I actually did use Sweet Orange EO (Aura Cacia brand) for mine since I didn’t have orange extract. For 1.5 quarts I used about 8 drops. Tasted awful before fermenting – tastes great afterwards. I didn’t know how much was safe for consumption so I erred on the side of caution… I think.

      April 30th, 2014 10:14 am Reply
  • Tiffany Black via Facebook

    When do you put the liquid whey in? Did I just completely miss that part??

    March 20th, 2014 8:57 pm Reply
  • Tiffany Black via Facebook

    Didn’t even know you could do this! I can’t wait to try. Especially after finding that the orange juice I thought was a decent one is not

    March 20th, 2014 8:43 pm Reply
  • Raw Food Stylist via Facebook

    Sounds Good! I ferment limes!

    March 20th, 2014 8:36 pm Reply
    • steph

      Is it sour? I was thinking of doing lemons for a lemonade, but I think it would just be too sour? Let me know your thoughts.

      March 21st, 2014 2:51 pm Reply
  • Alan Santana

    This sounds amazing, I will definitely try it with my girlfriend in the very near future.
    Thanks a lot for sharing :)

    March 20th, 2014 5:08 pm Reply
  • Darcie Mayo via Facebook

    Will taste good with vodka right?

    March 20th, 2014 3:38 pm Reply
  • Brianna Bloyer via Facebook

    Is there a way of making this gluten free with something other than the liquid whey?

    March 20th, 2014 3:21 pm Reply
  • Peggy Lippold Gates via Facebook

    I am nearly drooling at the thought!

    March 20th, 2014 1:32 pm Reply
  • Isabel Johnson via Facebook

    Love fermented orangina. Delicious.

    March 20th, 2014 11:10 am Reply
  • Luba McDonough via Facebook

    Sounda good, the GMOs and factory processing, very bad

    March 20th, 2014 10:56 am Reply
  • An Organic Wife via Facebook

    Thanks for sharing, I’m going to make this today!

    March 20th, 2014 10:05 am Reply
  • Barb Herbert via Facebook

    No, but I have tried fermented grapes… 😉

    March 20th, 2014 10:00 am Reply
  • Teresa C. Orso via Facebook

    Lauren Joy Orso Logan Orso Delgado

    March 20th, 2014 9:58 am Reply
  • Ana

    I always take Wikipedia info with a grain of salt, but the part of ‘Highly processed derivatives containing little to no DNA or protein’ seems to make sense:

    March 20th, 2014 4:55 am Reply
    • Guest

      You should continue to take their info with a grain of salt

      March 20th, 2014 11:38 am Reply
  • Ana

    Hi Sarah. Just wanted to know what’s the problem with GMO sugar, as to my knowledge, genetic manipulation only can affect the proteins codified by genes, and the sugar is just that, sugar, there are no proteins, I think. It’s a very refined product (for me, that’s the main problem). With that processing, the final product is the same if it comes from GMO or not, just pure sugar without proteins.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the same applies to cornstarch, just starch, no proteins.
    Just wanted to clarify.
    The recipe sounds great!

    March 20th, 2014 4:46 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      GMOs have never been proven safe and the science is ominous that they are likely very detrimental to health. I have many articles on this on this blog if you use the search box and type in GMO. I don’t prefer to be a guinea pig for the biotech industry, so I avoid them.

      March 20th, 2014 10:31 am Reply
  • mariam

    Sarah, I wonder if adding some orange rind wound enhance the flavor, nutritional value, and perhaps the Orangina’s fermentation because the peel has its own bacteria.?? Or not a safe idea??

    March 19th, 2014 10:55 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Adding the peel would significantly increase chances for mold and the fermentation not working properly.

      March 20th, 2014 10:30 am Reply
  • Marta

    This is great, I was wondering what ferments I could do that my kids would actually eat and this may be one of them! I live in VA, so we have no local oranges. would oranges from the store have any value in this recipe?

    March 19th, 2014 9:09 pm Reply
    • Serena Wcislo

      Oranges from the store are fine. You don’t necessarily need certified organic … just try to find no spray ones.

      March 20th, 2014 10:29 am Reply
  • kathy

    I ferment cabbage as an immune booster. does orange juice work the same way ? what does the salt, whey and essence do ? cheers kathy

    March 19th, 2014 4:02 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Yes, traditional ferments are all of value in boosting immunity by improving gut health.The salt and the whey promote proper fermentation. The orange essence is to improve the flavor given that the juice is diluted with water to slow the fermentation down to a manageable level.

      March 20th, 2014 10:33 am Reply
  • kim

    Can you use whey left after making cheese?

    March 19th, 2014 3:50 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      No as it has been heated and no longer contains probiotics.

      March 19th, 2014 7:03 pm Reply
  • John

    WOW congratulations on the 100 vid milestone! You can be proud of how many people you have helped and entertained. Thank you and keep the vids coming!

    March 19th, 2014 2:33 pm Reply
  • Janelle

    How do you juice the oranges? By hand with an old-fashioned juicer or do you use a juicing machine? Doing it by hand seems to take so much time and doesn’t get all the juice out.

    March 19th, 2014 1:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      You can see how I do it in the video.

      March 19th, 2014 3:22 pm Reply
  • Joni

    My son is a type 1 diabetic. He is really never supposed to have juice at all. Would fermenting the oranges lower the sugar content at all (as it does in kombucha?)

    March 19th, 2014 1:42 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I would check with your doctor as there will be at least some sugar still left even after fermentation.

      March 19th, 2014 3:22 pm Reply
  • Laurie

    When do you add the whey?

    March 19th, 2014 1:21 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      You can see when I add it in the video.

      March 19th, 2014 3:23 pm Reply
      • Laurie

        The recipe seemed self explanatory so wasn’t planning to watch the video. Can you add that step to the recipe?

        March 19th, 2014 4:29 pm Reply
      • Melissa

        I don’t see in the video how you juiced your oranges. Is it in a separate video somewhere? Also, I bought organic oranges from my grocery store but they did not have organic orange extract so I just bought regular. Is that ok or will it affect the end product?

        March 31st, 2014 8:46 pm Reply
    • Wagashigrr.

      Hi Laurie, I’m deaf so I have to ‘make do’ with the video too. Based on the video transcript here, it looks like it is added after the organge extract:
      at a little bit orange extract that doesn’t seem to work
      a little bit better 40 got any little bit salts
      I’m energy traditions recipe Hernandez call for couple
      teeth I teeth and so I MS too salty army
      so I only ask about forty skin
      assaults and then you’re gonna need fresh liquid whey
      which is the clear liquid is on it haha cup plain yogurt

      I hope that helps. Our hard of hearing and deaf WAP followers have to get used to making do! Good luck with it. It looks interesting. But fruit juices in any form really are too much sugar for me.

      Thanks Sarah!

      March 19th, 2014 11:48 pm Reply
  • Laura

    I made this for the first time just a few weeks ago. We loved it!

    March 19th, 2014 10:11 am Reply
  • ricki

    I understand there is a grower in Dade City, Fl who sales organic citrus, do you know the name or address of this farm?

    March 19th, 2014 9:40 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I don’t know … if you find out, please post! I have 8 citrus trees in my yard, so use my own to make orangina in season.

      March 19th, 2014 10:12 am Reply

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