How to Make Orangina (Fermented Orange Juice)

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

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

How to Make Fermented Lemonade (Hindu Lemonade)

How to Make Ginger Ale


Comments (77)

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist February 3, 2015 at 7:17 am

      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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

  9. 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!

    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist April 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

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

  10. 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?

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

  11. 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

  12. Sarah Scott Barnette via Facebook March 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

    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 :)

  13. Debbie Eisa via Facebook March 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

    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?

  14. 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?

  15. Vicki Lyon Carreiro via Facebook March 28, 2014 at 12:10 am

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

  16. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

  17. Tiffany Black via Facebook March 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    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

    • 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.

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

  19. 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!

    • 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.

  20. Pingback: How to Make Orangina (Fermented Orange Juice) » Nourishing News

  21. 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??

  22. 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?

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

    • 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. 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?)

      • 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?

    • 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!

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


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