Watering plants with soda

The Effect of Salt and Sugar on Alfalfa Seeds

Created by Naomi L.

6th grade SOAR 1998


The purpose of this experiment was to determine what substances, like salt and sugar, when dissolved in water, will affect the growth of alfalfa seeds. I hope to see which substances have the greatest effect.

I became interested in this idea because I am concerned about pollution and how it affects plants. I know salt is used to melt ice on winter roads. I was concerned it might create an environmental problem.

The information gained from this experiment will help people make better decisions about substances that are safe or dangerous to use near plants. Farmers and homeowners would be especially interested in my results.


My hypothesis is that plain water will sprout seeds better than either salt or sugar solutions. The mass of the sprouts in plain water will be greater than the mass of the sprouts, in the salt or sugar solution.

I base my hypothesis on the information that I have collected from a book from which I have used during this experiment. Focus on Life Science said, “Plants do not grow when other substances are absorbed in the plant.”


The constants in this study are:

Amount of water.

Amount sunlight.

The temperature of the seeds and sprouting areas.

The size and type of paper towel.

The amount of sugar or salt dissolved in the units.

The manipulated variable was the substance dissolved in each treatment.

The responding variable was the mass of the sprouts.

The responding variable was measured by weighing the dry sprouts on a spring scale capable of measuring in grams.




45 grams

alfalfa seeds
11×11 paper towels
identical glasses

750 ml.

of water

15 grams

of salt

15 grams

of sugar
scale (capable of measuring to 1 gram)
roll of tape


  1. Get the following supplies:

    – 45 grams of alfalfa seeds.

    – 6, 11×11 paper towels.

    – 3 identical glasses. (Capable of holding 250 ml. or more.)

    – 750 ml. of water.

    – 15 grams of salt.

    – 15 grams of sugar.

  2. Take one glass and put 250 ml. of water and mix in 15 grams of salt.
  3. Take another glass and add 250 ml. of water and mix in 15 grams of sugar in.
  4. Take another glass and pour 250 ml. of water in.
  5. Now take one paper towel and evenly spread 15 grams of alfalfa seeds in a line across the center from left to right. Put another paper towel on top of the first one. Roll the towels tightly, so the seeds are sandwiched between them halfway between the top and bottom. Tape them together.
  6. Repeat step five two more times using identical methods.
  7. Now take one of the rolled up towels and stand it in the salt water, so the seeds are above the liquid. Label it salt. Let the liquid wick up into the towel and seeds.
  8. Using the same method as number seven, put the next towel in the sugar water. Label it sugar.
  9. Using the same method as number seven, put the last rolled towel in the plain water. Label it controlled.
  10. Donít disturb the alfalfa seeds for a week, but replace the appropriate liquid if a glass starts to run dry.
  11. After the week remove all seeds and sprouts from one group. Squeeze the paper towel and drain out the excess liquid. Weigh the alfalfa seeds and sprouts and record their mass in grams.
  12. Repeat step eleven for each of the three groups being careful to label the data to show what group it was from.



My science project is about testing alfalfa seeds sprouted with plain water, salt water, and sugar water. While I do this project I hope to learn more about plants and how they sprout.


Water gets to a plant by the epidermal cells of the roots. Root cells increase the amount of water that may be absorbed through the soil. Water entering the roots of a plant goes through xylem tissue up the plant to the leaves. As water leaves the xylem and goes to the leaf cells, more water must enter the roots to take its place. Water passes through the epidermal cells of the roots, through neighboring cells, and on into xylem cells in the center of the root. There is a flow of water that keeps on going up the plant from the roots, through the stem and out to the leaves, it is then evaporated and then somehow the water has to be replaced at the root if the plant is to live.


The first stage of growth in a seed is germinating. But first, before it can germinate, the seed absorbs water from the soil. It also needs oxygen and the right temperature. Many ripe seeds will not germinate at first even if they are under these conditions. These kinds of seeds are called “dormant seeds”. Seeds become dormant so they donít start to grow at times when conditions are unfavorable, or when they would usually not survive. Times of drought are not ideal for plants to sprout.


All plants have special needs such as light, heat, humidity, water and soil. Although most houseplants are sold already potted, some of them can be grown from seeds or leaf cuttings from another plant. Plants that already potted are left alone until the roots have grown too large to fit in the container. Some houseplants live all year round, however some plants grow for just one season. Some plants only grow in certain soils, because most plants get a lot of their food and nutrients from soil, and some soils donít have enough food and nutrients for that specific plant.


The root of a plant functions to anchor the plant to the soil and to absorb and transport nutrients and water, and sometimes to store food. The root also takes in minerals. The roots help transport these substances to the leafy shoots. Some roots also store food for later use. Root systems might be made up of one major root, called a taproot. Or the root system could consist of many taproots. Some plants do not have roots, stems, and leaves. These plants do not have the tube-like structures needed to move water. These plants are called “nonvascular plants. ” Mosses, liverworts, and some algae are a part of this group of plants.


The root is a very important part of the plant because the plant needs water, nutrients, and minerals and the root takes in all these things. Many of the plants that we keep and own are houseplants. Houseplants are plants that are adapted to the habitat of peopleís homes. Most plants do not eat other plants or animals for their food; they produce their own food. Plants have been making food by a process called Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis in green plants makes use of two simple ingredients, water and carbon dioxide. Both ingredients make up large quantities on the earth. Water is taken into the plant through roots by osmosis and is carried through the stems to the leaves. Once the water reaches the leaves it moves into the cells by osmosis and is carried through the photosynthetic process.

There are many types of plants and they all have different reactions to different things. Some plants do not have roots, stems, and leaves. These plants do not have the tube-like structures needed to move water these plants are called nonvascular plants. Mosses, liver warts, and some algae are apart of this group of plants.


The original purpose of was to determine what substances, like salt and sugar, when dissolved in water, will effect the growth of alfalfa seeds.

The results of the experiment were that the plain water worked the best to sprout seeds. The sugar water worked better than the salt water, but not as good as the plain water. The seeds that were in the salt water didnít sprout at all. The seeds that were in the sugar water sprouted, but they didnít sprout as much as the seeds in the plain water.


My hypothesis was that the seeds in the plain water would do better than the seeds in the salt and sugar water.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted. The mass of the sprouts in the plain water was greater than the sprouts and seeds in the salt and sugar water.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if we should stop using salt to melt the snow and ice off the road, because it is unhealthy for plants

If I were to conduct this project again I would have used a different product to wrap the seeds in, because it was hard to scrape the seeds off of the paper towels. I would also conduct the experiment 4 or 5 times to see if my science experiment is really accurate, use other amounts of sugar and salt (like 5 and 15 grams.) And I would also use different substances to put in the water.


Bates, Dr. Jeffery .”Hands on Science: Seeds to Plants”, Belgium, Aladdin Books, 1991.

Burnie, David .Eyewitness Books: Plant, New York, Knopf, 1989.

Carter, Joseph L. Life Science: A Problem Solving Approach, Lexington, Massachusetts, Ginn and Company, 1971

Heilmer, Charles H. Focus on Life Science, Columbus, Ohio, Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, 1969.

Heimler, Daniel, and Lockard, Focus on Life Science, Columbus, Ohio, Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, 1984.

“House Plants” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1998.

“House Plants”, The New Book of Popular Science, 1989, 4.

What Type of Water is best for Plants?

Have you ever noticed a change in lifespan of your plant-products when there has been a recent rainfall, or if you’ve made use of a different type of water to keep them hydrated?

We already know that different types of water interact differently within the human body – so why would plants be any different?

Off the bat, it’s safe to say that tap water may actually be detrimental to the lifespan and “grow-ability” of your plants; no, we don’t suggest using bottled water to water your gardens – we understand that watering such a large space with anything other than natural rain or tap water is just not going to work.

However, when it comes to indoor and house plants, we might want to consider using a different type of water to keep them going.

Water for House Plants

“Rainwater and bottled spring water are great at helping plants grow, but sugar water and salt water actually hurt growing plants. Tap water and distilled water may not hurt the plants, but you’ll notice they don’t grow as tall and proud as the plants that were fed rain and spring water.”

Spring water contains natural minerals which are needed for optimal growth in plants. Using distilled water might not have any other effect than keeping the plant alive, due to the nature of the water itself.

Too many people have believed that adding sugar or salt to plant s- especially roses- will allow them to grow faster and bigger. This is actually a hindrance on the plant and will not reap any positive effect – it may in fact cause root rot.

Some have suggested using Epsom slats to grow plants faster – although this hasn’t been proven – it is a better bet than using ordinary table salt or refined sugar.

Purified water allows the plant the chance to absorb the hydration without the need to filter anything out, making it’s growing process that much easier. Adding plant nutrition sticks or liquid to your indoor plants will aid in its growth – but in summary – using spring water or purified water to keep your plants and flowers growing is the best bet.

What are your tips on watering indoor plants?

What’s the Difference Between Club Soda, Seltzer, Sparkling and Tonic Water?

Simply put, club soda, seltzer, sparkling and tonic water are different types of carbonated drinks.

However, they vary in processing methods and added compounds. This results in different mouthfeels or flavors, which is why some people prefer one type of carbonated water over the next.

Club soda is carbonated water that has been infused with added minerals. Water is carbonated by the injection of carbon dioxide gas, or CO2.

Some minerals that are commonly added to club soda include:

  • Potassium sulfate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Sodium bicarbonate

The amounts of minerals added to club soda depend on the brand or manufacturer. These minerals help enhance the flavor of club soda by giving it a slightly salty taste.

Like club soda, seltzer is water that has been carbonated. Because of their similarities, seltzer can be used as a substitute for club soda as a cocktail mixer.

However, seltzer does not contain added minerals, which gives it a more “true” water taste.

The absence of minerals also allows seltzer to be enhanced with flavorings like citrus without altering the taste.

Seltzer originated in Germany, where naturally occurring carbonated water was bottled and sold. It was very popular, so European immigrants brought it to the US.

Unlike club soda or seltzer, sparkling mineral water is naturally carbonated. Its bubbles come from a spring or well with naturally occurring carbonation.

Spring water contains a variety of minerals, such as sodium, magnesium and calcium. However, the amounts vary based on the source from which they were bottled.

According to the FDA, mineral water must contain at least 250 parts per million dissolved solids (minerals and trace elements) from the source where it was bottled (2).

Interestingly, the mineral content of water may change the taste significantly. That’s why different brands of sparkling mineral water typically have their own unique taste.

Some producers further carbonate their products by adding carbon dioxide, making them even more bubbly.

Tonic water has the most unique taste of all four beverages.

Like club soda, it is carbonated water that contains minerals. However, tonic water also contains quinine, a compound isolated from the bark of cinchona trees. Quinine is what gives tonic water a bitter taste (3).

Tonic water was historically used to prevent malaria in tropical areas where the disease was prevalent. Back then, tonic water contained significantly higher amounts of quinine (3).

Today, quinine is only present in small amounts to give tonic water its bitter taste. It is also commonly sweetened with either high-fructose corn syrup or sugar to improve taste (4).

Tonic water is often used as a mixer for cocktails, especially those including gin or vodka.

Summary Club soda, seltzer, sparkling and tonic water are all types of carbonated drinks. However, differences in production, amounts of minerals or types of additives result in unique tastes.

They’re all fizzy, refreshing and fun to drink, but is there any real difference between sparkling water, seltzer, club soda and tonic water? Lots of us choose these sparkling drinks as a healthier alternative to soda, but one recent study found that they may actually make you hungrier. That’s enough to burst anyone’s bubble. Let’s take a closer look at these sparkling sips. (And if you’re looking for a nutritional guide to your favorite bubbly water brands, head here.)

Dylan Dreyer’s baby Calvin tries seltzer for the first time

Sept. 1, 201700:51


At its most basic, seltzer is simply plain water that has had carbonation added to it. It does not contain added salt, so it is sodium-free. Seltzer may also be naturally or artificially flavored.

Sparkling Mineral Water

True mineral water comes from a natural, unpolluted, underground source and contains small amounts of natural minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and sodium. The layers of rock that the water has flowed through impact the type and amount of minerals it contains. An 8-ounce glass may contain between 10 to 30 milligrams of sodium, depending on the origin and brand. The carbonation may be naturally occurring, or it may be added. Thanks to its trip through the mountains (usually in Europe), mineral water costs about twice as much as seltzer.

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Club Soda

Most commonly used as a mixer, club soda is a mix of carbonated water with sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and potassium sulfate, to enhance the flavor. It has 95 milligrams of sodium per 12 ounces, so stick to one serving a day to avoid sodium overload.

Tonic Water

This bar staple is a departure from the other waters in that it is sweetened. Along with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, tonic water also contains citric acid, sodium benzoate (as a preservative), quinine (a naturally occurring chemical) and natural flavors. Tonic water was created in 1858 in Britain, but wasn’t introduced to the United States until 1953 when Schweppes began bottling it. Quinine gives a bitter flavor to the beverage, which makes it pair well with lime and gin. However, quinine can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, statins and antacids. Check with your doctor if you’re not sure whether the medications you are on could cause any side effects if combined with quinine.


Slimmed Down Frozen Gin and Tonic

Maureen Petrosky

Thanks to the fact that these bubbly waters (with the exception of tonic water) are calorie-free, they’re generally considered to be healthy beverage choices. But what about that study that showed that carbonated beverages make us hungrier?

Well, if you dig a little into how the study was done, you’ll find that soda — both regular and diet — was used, not plain sparkling water. Also, the study was done in rats and showed that fizzy drinks caused them to eat more and therefore gain more weight over a six month period. The weight gain was linked to a hormone called ghrelin. The researchers did repeat the study in 20 young men and found that their blood levels contained more ghrelin after consuming the soda than after drinking regular water or flat soda. It’s definitely interesting, but one small study in rats with soda doesn’t mean that your sparkling water habit will make you gain weight.

Now, what about your chompers? Will they be destroyed by all that carbonation? You may have read that carbonated water can harm the enamel on your teeth. The concern is over the carbonic acid, which forms when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water. This acid can gradually weaken and destroy tooth enamel over time. The good news is carbonic acid is a weak acid, so a sparkling water, like Perrier or San Pellegrino, has a pH of about 5.5 compared to bottled still water, which has a neutral pH of 7. The issue really comes in when carbonated water is flavored with citric or other acids, making them more acidic and more harmful to your teeth.

If you’re a sparkling water or seltzer junkie, don’t freak out. The best advice is to enjoy your fizzy beverage with meals and stick to plain water between meals for hydration. And here’s something to make you feel better — despite its acidity, sparkling water is still a better choice for your pearly whites than regular or diet soda.

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, is a nutrition expert, writer, mom of 3 and best-selling author. Her books include Feed the Belly, The CarbLovers Diet and Eating in Color. Follow her @FrancesLRothRD and check out her website.

For years, bottled water has been sold with various health claims. Many brands of bottled water sold today are not natural mineral water. Instead, they are simply processed tap water. Club soda is carbonated water to which minerals and mineral salts have been added to improve the taste. In comparison to plain water, the sodium content of club soda is often higher. Sparkling water refers to either tap water that has been carbonated with natural or manufactured carbon dioxide, or it can refer to water drawn from a naturally effervescent source with carbon dioxide being injected into the water during bottling. Such products are labeled “naturally sparkling.”

The advantage of club soda is that it is a better way to keep the body hydrated, since it has more minerals than regular water. However, there may not be any other nutritional benefits. A study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation in 2001 suggested that drinking carbonated water is a safer alternative for teeth, as compared to drinking juice or sugary sodas.

The benefits of sparkling water are claimed to be the following:

  • Quenches thirst satisfactorily
  • Maintains sodium levels in the body
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol levels and increases HDL cholesterol levels
  • Suppresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the body
  • Does not contain sweeteners or any harmful chemicals

The drawbacks of sparkling water are:

  • May erode the enamel of teeth after prolonged consumption
  • It may not be easily digested due to the presence of carbon dioxide
  • Causes dry and dull skin and vision problems on long-term consumption

There are also some reports on a nutritional downside to drinking soda waters – they are said to prevent calcium absorption and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. However, there is no evidence that drinking carbonated water harms the bones. An association has been found between carbonated cola drinks and low bone mineral density. But, the same does not hold true for non-cola carbonated drinks.

Carbonated waters are usually calorie free, but it is advisable to check the label before taking them. For added flavor, a hint of lime or lemon can be squeezed in.

Thus, the jury is out on whether club soda drinks are healthier than sparkling water or not. More research is required to determine which variant of carbonated water is healthier to drink.

8 Creative Uses for “Flat” Soda

Yes, I know that soda (or pop as we call it here in Michigan) is definitely not a health food… and Dave and I honestly don’t drink a lot of it.

However, this time of year, 2 lt. bottles go on sale for as low as $0.79 and I often have $0.75 off coupons… which means I can get multiple 2 lt. bottles for ALMOST free. And with all the BBQ’s, family gatherings, and cookouts we have over the summer months, it’s nice to have a variety of pop available.

But… the one thing I absolutely hate about opening a 2 lt. bottle of pop is when I’m left with multiple half-empty bottles that we either need to drink ASAP or throw out.

Yes, I hate wasting food even when it’s junk food I got for free 🙂

So, a couple weeks ago, I posted a question on my Facebook page asking if anyone knew of creative ways to use up “flat” pop. To my surprise, there was a huge response.

Since we had several half-empty bottles at the time I posted that question, I immediately tried several of them to see if they worked. And since you all are so smart… they did!


Here are a few of my favorite uses for flat pop:

Ice Cubes:

Pour the leftover (clear/citrus) soda into ice cube trays to use in punch, lemonade, or the next time you drink pop. This way, your beverages won’t get watered down.

Here is my favorite and extremely simple punch recipe using Sprite, Sierra Mist, or other citrus pop.

Plant Food:

Add a little citrus soda with the water in your cut flower arrangements to help prolong the beautiful blooms. I had never heard of this before, but it did work. But after I thought about it, it DOES make sense because you can also add sugar to water for the same effect… and we all know how much sugar pop has in it!

Sparkling Jell-O:

Again, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this, because I even have Jell-O recipes that call for pop instead of water! The basic idea is to simply substitute the pop for the cold water in whatever Jell-O recipe you’re making.

For example, I have an orange Jell-O recipe that I substitute Orange pop for the cold water, and a cherry Jell-O recipe that I substitute with Cherry Coke. It tastes fantastic and has just a little extra flavor!

Prevent Brown Fruit:

Instead of soaking your cut fruit in lemon juice (which is something I always seem to run out of whenever I need it), soak it in citrus pop instead. It will prevent it from turning brown — which will probably come in handy if you have to make any fruit salads this summer.

I was also told (but didn’t try it myself yet) that you can pour pop over apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon to make really delicious baked apples. YUM!

Bake a Cake:

This was a new one for me… but I’m happy to report that it DOES work! You can replace the eggs, oil, and water called for in a boxed cake mix with 12 oz. of pop. Bake as directed and it should taste delicious!

And if you want to bake a cake from scratch, here are 27 recipes that include “carbonated beverage” as one of the ingredients.

Beer Bread:

I’ve already shared my recipe for Beer Bread — which is crazy simple! You just need to add a 12 oz. of ANY carbonated beverage to self-rising flour and a little sugar.

Add Flavor to Meat:

I love roasting meat — either in the oven or in my slow cooker, and I’ve used pop as an alternative to water many times to keep the meat juicy and tender. I like using Dr. Pepper, Coke, and Cherry Coke the best and I’ve had excellent results with ham, pork, meatballs, and chicken.

Jamie left a link for 13 recipes to use up extra soda. Many of them look like great meat recipes so you might want to check them out if you’re interested!

DIY BBQ Sauce:

I did a little research and you can make a quick BBQ sauce by mixing 1c. Ketchup with 1c. soda pop over medium heat until it thickens. It’s probably not the best BBQ sauce you’ll ever eat, but it’s good enough if you’re in a bind and don’t feel like running out to the store.

As you can see, I will no longer be wasting any of my half-empty bottles of pop! However, I’m sure there are many other uses for flat (or fresh) soda/pop…

Do you have any to add to my list?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

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It was lurking in the back of the fridge….. dumb 2 Liter soda bottle!

It’s original life purpose was root beer floats one night but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. Well, one person had some, like a taste or just let the air out (gotta love that), and then left it to die.


Not so much around here. There is NO way the rest of that soda is going down the drain so BBQ Sauce to the rescue.

We used this recipe from AllRecipes.com

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

This should last in the fridge about a week.

*Of course, always use your own discretion to decide if the food, once stored, is safe to eat.

And did you know that you can freeze that BBQ sauce?

In fact you can just add some BBQ sauce to some chicken and put it in the freezer. Now, when you are ready, you can dump it in the crock-pot and BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches for dinner…yummy!

But what there’s more. We promised you more options and here they are……..

Cola Chicken from Taste of Home

Old Fashioned Soda Baked Apples from Paula Deen

The Coke Cola company has a Coke-Cola Cake recipe here.

We wouldn’t recommend using flat soda for the cake part since we believe the carbonation is needed, but you could make the frosting with the flat stuff.

We are going to interject a tip here. When looking for ways to use up flat soda make sure you take into account if the recipe, or use, needs the carbonation.

And finally……..

How about freezing for ice cubes? If you are a soda drinker, you will never have watered down soda again. Popsicles, with some fruit, might be another way to go if you don’t mind the sugar for a treat.

So don’t fall flat. The next time you have flat soda, don’t trash it. You have many options.


To keep soda from going flat, check out the Amazon pick below.


Don’t forget to add your tips here as well.

And if you enjoy these tips, please sign up for our newsletter where we are always finding ways to help you salvage your time, money, resources, and moments for your best life.


  • Recipes that use Coca-Cola
  • How to clean with Coca-Cola
  • Miscellaneous uses for Coca-Cola

There’s nothing quite like a glass of ice-cold Coca-Cola on a hot Summer’s day, but did you know there are many other things that love coca-cola just as much as you do?
From cleaning to creating amazing treats, today we’re sharing 26 uses for Coca-Cola for you to try – if you thought it was only for drinking, you’re in for a treat!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in November 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in January 2019.

Recipes that use Coca-Cola

1. Coca-Cola fudge

Get in my mouth.

Are you a fan of fudge? Why not try making your own! Lisa at Sweet 2 Eat Baking has a wonderfully easy recipe that uses Coca-Cola, so if you have some leftover, this could be the perfect use for it.

2. Ice cream floats

Yum yum…

When was the last time you had an ice cream float? They’re an amazing treat during Summer and will make you feel like a little kid again.

These Cherry Vanilla Coca-Cola ice cream floats are really special. You only need cherry vanilla ice cream and coca cola – or if you can’t find that you can use cherry syrup and vanilla ice cream. For the recipe head to Le Creme De La Crumb.

3. Chipotle Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce

What shall I dip?

Whilst we’re thinking about Summer Foodie With Family has a wonderful recipe for some Bold Chipotle Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce. It contains a mix of ingredients that are easily found, but for the can of chipotles in adobo, you’ll have to look in Waitrose, or find a can online.

Try this with your hot dog, and you’ll never want sauce from a bottle again!

4. Coca-Cola cake

You’re just SO PRETTY.

Is someone’s birthday coming up? If the special someone loves Coke, why not knock up this spectacular cake? Visit La Pêche Fraîche for Alexa’s Birthday Cake recipe which includes Coca-Cola, chocolate, caramel and vanilla bean – all of the best ingredients! Try not to drool over your keyboard when perusing the photos.

5. Coca-Cola ham

Imagine that first bite…

It’s not just sweet goodies that you can use coke in, try your hand at this gammon joint which calls for Coca-Cola. Featuring a maple and mustard glaze, your guests will love to know the secret ingredient for your sticky, moreish ham. Follow the instructions from At Home With Mrs M and make this Sunday’s roast extra special!

6. Cherry Coke Cupcakes

A lovely treat.

It’s not for everyone, but if you’re partial to sweet Cherry Coke then these cupcakes are perfect for you. They have a Cherry Coke buttercream frosting and a moist sponge base. They look picture-perfect with their cherries on top! Want to make them? Nip over to Sweet 2 Eat Baking.

7. Jack & Coke cupcakes

An adult treat!

Now for a more adult treat…

Alcoholic cupcakes – why haven’t we heard of these before? Partner Coca-Cola with Jack Daniels whiskey and you’ve got yourself a really naughty treat – in more ways than one! You can find the recipe at Stress Baking.

8. Coca-Cola slushies

The jar makes it extra trendy.

If anything screams summer, it’s these Coca-Cola Slushies from The Frugal Girls. This recipe serves 2, there’s no need for a machine and will be the perfect treat for a hot day!

9. Coca-Cola lollies

I’ll take two please.

Still searching for something to cool you down?

Whether you call them lollies, ice pops or popsicles, A Night Owl has created these yummy looking Coke Float Popsicles which you definitely want to be eating in the summer. They look incredibly easy to do, so why don’t you give it a whirl?

How to clean with Coca-Cola

10. Clean your windshield

If you’ve got lots of dead flies and grime on your windshield then don’t worry, a bottle of Coke will soon sort it out.

Place a large towel underneath to protect the paint, grab a bottle and pour it over the glass. Wash it with a rag and then rinse – it will be like magic!

11. Remove gum from your hair

We hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if you ever do find gum caught in your hair, hold off before you go snipping it off.

Instead, pour some Coke on the gum, let it sit for a few minutes and you’ll be able to pick it off your hair easily.

12. Clean a burnt pot or scorched pan

So you’ve ruined your meal by burning the bottom and to top it all off, your pan is ruined! Don’t worry, it’s Coca-Cola to the rescue again. Pour a can into the pan and let it soak overnight. In the morning, all the burnt residue should have peeled off, so all you have to do is give it a quick clean.

13. Fade hair dye

So you saw a picture in a magazine, dyed your hair and instantly regretted it because bright green doesn’t really suit your complexion. Good news, you can use Diet Coke on your hair to help to strip it out! Grab a bottle and pour it over your hair, let it sit for a while and then rinse it out – you might want to be in the shower to do this!

14. Clean grout with coca-cola

Is there no end to the wonders of Coca-Cola? We think this one is pretty special.

If you’ve got grimy grout in your shower then grab a clean cloth, some soap, your trusty Coca-Cola and follow the instructions at ehow.com to get it pearly white again.

15. Unclog a drain

If you leave drains clogged, they could cause real problems including flooding and even leaks!

If you have a few cans of coke lying around, you can use them to unclog your drain. Pour one can down the drain, then the next. Leave for 30 minutes, then flush with a kettle-full of boiling water. Leave for a further 5 minutes, and your drain should be running smoothly again.

16. Clean brass with coke

This one is really quite unbelievable! In a matter of minutes, Coca-Cola can clean your brass and have it looking brand new again

17. Polish pennies

Put your pennies in a dish, side by side. Pour in enough Coke to cover them, let them sit for 4 – 5 hours and flip them halfway through.

Your pennies will be super shiny and you’ll never have to be embarrassed when handing them over again! This is a great activity to do with the kids.

18. Get rid of grease

Are you a messy eater? Don’t be ashamed, spills and splashes happen to the best of us!

If you’ve spilt grease down your clothes, pour a can of Coca-Cola on the stain, then let it soak. Throw the item of clothing into the wash and wait for the stain to disappear. Rumour has it, this also works with blood stains!

19. Use Coca-Cola to remove rust

Before you go throwing that rusty old outdoor furniture away, you may want to give this ago.

Using Coke, aluminium foil, rags and water, you can get rid of annoying rust on almost anything! Check out how Emily removes rust from her bicycle, by heading to snapguide.com.

What do you have that’s rusty to try this out on?

20. Clean your toilet

One of the most impressive uses for coke is making your toilet spotless.

As Coke is mildly acidic, it’s great for blasting through grime. If you’re looking for a cheap cleaner then grab a bottle of Coke and complete the instructions at wikihow.com.

21. Clean your windows

All out of vinegar to get your windows sparkling? You can use Coca-Cola instead!

Pour a can over your windows then wipe it off with a damp cloth. It’s a great cheap alternative to expensive window cleaners.

Miscellaneous uses for Coca-Cola

22. Have fun with Mentos

If you’ve been on the internet for a number of years, you’ll probably be aware of the Diet Coke and Mento eruption – an experiment of sorts which causes Coke to spray out of its container.

Try it for yourself by checking out sciencekids.co.nz – just make sure you do it outside!

23. Soothe a sore throat with Coca-Cola

Check out this video from KiyoKee Baninibeauty, it details how you can soothe a sore throat using ginger, lemon and Coke. This is a popular remedy that started off in Hong Kong, so if you’ve got a sore throat then this tip is for you.

24. Get rid of bugs

If bugs are ruining your Summer fun, an easy way to get rid of them with something you’re likely to have on hand during the warmer months is with coke.

The sweet smell will attract them, and the acid will kill them so you can get back to your life bug-free.

25. Make your lawn green

Supposedly, Coca-Cola can also be used to make your grass super green. It contains sugar that it can feed off to produce a luscious lawn of grass.

26. How to make paper look old with Coca-Cola

No love letter is complete without an antique touch. You can make any piece of paper look old with the help of Coke. Simply soak the sheet in a tray of Coca-Cola, leave to sit for 10 minutes, wipe off the excess liquid and gently dry in the oven until the edges start to curl.

Phew, that’s a lot of uses for Coke! Which one will you try first?

How to Water Plants With Sparkling Water

Sparkling mineral waters, like club soda, are great for plants. Plants absorb nutrients best when they are dissolved in water. And sparkling mineral water takes carbon dioxide and a host of other essential macro-nutrients straight to their root systems. In fact, plants that are watered with sparkling mineral water grow faster and greener than plants watered with tap water alone.

Allow the sparkling water to come to room temperature. Refrigerated water will shock your plant’s roots and eventually kill it.

Pour the sparkling water from the bottle and into your watering can (or any other receptacle) and let it settle for a minute or two. By transferring the carbonated water, you are allowing it to release some of its carbon dioxide. While the gas is good for plants, an over-abundance of it may change the pH of the soil.

Water the plant as usual. However, avoid getting water on the foliage. In indoor plants especially, this is a great way to encourage mold growth.

Set aside or refrigerate any leftover sparkling water for use next time. Even if it’s flat, it’s still ideal for your plants.

Noon Edition

While it might be socially acceptable for food lovers to discuss the care of the finest wines, or the best way to brew gourmet coffee, what if your favorite beverage happens to be soda pop?

Chances are a gourmet wouldn’t have a lot to say about this topic. Well, don’t worry. It’s A Moment of Science to the rescue, as we take a practical approach to the chemistry of fizz.

What Is Soda?

Soda is fizzy because the gas carbon dioxide, or CO2, is dissolved into the sweet, syrupy liquid. Without this carbon dioxide your drink would be flat and unpleasant.

Unfortunately, carbon dioxide molecules have a natural tendency to leave any liquid, popping through the surface and escaping forever as a gas. The trick to preparing the perfect pop, therefore, is to keep as much of this dissolved CO2 inside the liquid as possible.

Why Do We Put Soda In The Fridge?

One way to do this is to refrigerate your soda as cold as possible, although you don’t want to freeze it. When soda is cold, the carbon dioxide molecules have less energy to escape, and cold soda can hold more CO2.

That’s why soda that you buy cold will be fizzier than soda that’s been sitting unrefrigerated on the store’s shelves.

Extra Carbon Dioxide

Another strategy, which the soda bottler might do at the factory, is to load up the air at the top of the container with extra carbon dioxide, or increase the pressure of this gas.

This will make it harder for the CO2 to escape, and also increase the rate at which these molecules are returned to the soda.

There’s a world of difference between the first carbonated water ever consumed by a person and the factory-produced bottles of Coke that are virtually identical to all the others you can find at the grocery store. In fact, soda pop as we know it today was developed through a long process of trial and error and initially started as a much less interesting beverage.

So how was soda pop invented?

In 1767, Joseph Priestly created the first intentional carbonated soda water by inciting a chemical reaction between sulfur and chalk. The resulting carbon dioxide gas was infused into water, which he then drank. This is the first known occurrence of someone drinking soda water and is thus the very start of the soda pop’s long journey.

However, the next step would not be taken by Joseph Priestley. The first flavored and sold carbonated beverages were only developed in 1783, and these were only flavored as a result of side effects from the minerals infused in the water itself.

Flavored soda pop didn’t come onto the stage until the late 1800s, and large-scale commercialization like we are used to was even further away. Many others would end up contributing significant developments to soda as a widespread beverage, and all of them would eventually lead to the sweet soft drinks that dominate grocery store aisles today.

Table of Contents

Joseph Priestley and Soda Water

Image courtesy Wiki Commons

After meeting Benjamin Franklin, Doctor Joseph Priestley of Leeds, England began pursuing his ideas on science and natural philosophy more seriously. After smelling carbon dioxide in his city’s local brewery, Priestley decided to try infusing the gas with water in 1767. His experiment was a success, although he didn’t recognize the repercussions that such a discovery would have for the history of the world.

At the same brewery from which he’d detected the carbon dioxide, Priestley made his carbonated water by suspending a bowl of regular distilled water over a beer vat. He dripped sulfuric acid onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide. The gas was then encouraged to dissolve in the bowl of water, where it was infused into the liquid.

After giving some of it to his friends and discovering that they, too, enjoyed drinking the beverage, Priestley decided to publish his findings in 1772 in a paper called Impregnating Water with Fixed Air. Originally, Priestley thought that his soda water might be a cure for scurvy, and in fact, he even recommended such a cure to Capt. James Cook while on a voyage with him.

Although he did not recognize the financial potential of his discovery, Priestley was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society for his achievements and natural philosophy. Priestly did not go on to develop his soda water any further, but others would take up the torch and develop the idea into the modern soda pop we know today.

Further Carbonated Water Developments

The person most responsible for developing soda immediately after the discovery of water carbonation was J. J. Schweppe. While it took some time to develop a machine large enough to reliably carbonate water, it wasn’t long before the process was possible.

Schweppe began manufacturing and selling carbonated mineral waters in 1783. These were the direct precursors to the modern-day seltzer waters that you can purchase at most grocery stores.

Schweppe was largely successful due to advances in storing carbonated water. Soda naturally starts to lose its carbonation over time, so Schweppe had to develop a bottle that would maintain the carbonation of the beverage for long periods of time. Once he was successful, he began selling his mineral waters all across the world and made a fortune on the profits.

Schweppe was only one in a long line of entrepreneurs who expanded upon Priestley’s original findings. In 1833, the first lemonade with carbonated water was sold. While it didn’t quite reach the production scale and popularity to call it the world’s first common soda pop, it was certainly a significant precursor that led to the development of similar beverages.

By the 1840s there were soda counters added to pharmacies and cafés all over the world. Mineral waters like Schweppes were consumed by the public largely further medicinal properties, both real or unsubstantiated. John Mervin Nooth was responsible for improving the soda water apparatus and sold the design to many of the pharmacies described above.

In 1880, a man named Benjamin Stillman produced the first large-scale amounts of carbonated water, which led others to believe that fizzy beverages could be quite profitable with the right distribution method.

And meanwhile over in Japan, there was a company developing their own carbonated soft drink at that time – check it out

It was in this way that the soft drink outgrew the medicinal origins for which it was originally envisioned and became cheaply available for consumption by the public.

Enter James Vernor, a pharmacist from the American city of Detroit. Vernor began making carbonated ginger ale in 1866. While there had been other ginger-infused beers before, there was nothing quite like this. Vernor’s product soon took America by storm. The success of Vernors Ginger Ale inspired others to take their own chances carbonated water; even Schweppe started making his own ginger ale in 1870, although he never quite reached the success of Vernors.

Hires Root Beer was another early soda pop that started cropping up in 1876. This root beer soda pop variant would eventually lead to the development of other root beer brands that people know and love today. Soon after, in 1881, the first cola-flavored sodas were sold in America, although the titanic brands of Coke and Pepsi were still some years away.

It was shortly before these developments, in 1861, when the first time the words “soda pop” were used together to describe the fizzy, flavorful drinks that people were going crazy over.

Expansion of Soda Pop Over Time

Dr Pepper, invented by Charles Aderton in 1885 (see more on their brands here), is the first modern soda that many people would recognize today. In the beginning, Dr. Pepper was marketed to people claiming that it had energy-boosting properties and could improve your mental capacity. It was only in 1904 that Dr Pepper received the attention and acclaim that it would enjoy for decades to come when it was revealed to the public at large at the World’s Fair Exposition at St. Louis

Coca Cola came onto the scene in 1886 and was immediately a smashing success. It was originally infused with real Coca and was developed for both refreshment and medicinal purposes. It kept Coca for the first 17 years of its history, although this was eventually phased out, leaving the original formula and taste none the worse for wear.

Pepsi-Cola came soon after in 1893. Though it had a rockier start than Coca-Cola and suffered through several periods of bankruptcy and financial distress, Pepsi eventually became Coke’s main rival and is now just as much of a soda pop juggernaut.

As you can see, the expansion of the soda industry really took off in the latter decades of the 1800s. In 1899, for example, the United States issued the first patent that would be used for a glassblowing machine. This machine would eventually go on to produce the first soda glass bottles: a shape and container ubiquitous with soda pop as we know it.

As various soda bottling companies took shape and different formulas were developed, the soda business began to move. There were over 5000 bottling companies in the United States alone by 1920.

In the 1940s through the 1960s, many soda brands came into being. While only some of them survived into the present day, many of them are still well known and had good success in the early decades of their existence. Fanta, Sprite, Bubble-Up, and Orange Crush are just a few.

Advancements in industry and bottling allowed for more soda to be created and sold at unprecedented rates and in markets across the world. This expansion has continued even until today.

Fizzy Water: Earlier than Priestley

You can also look even farther back and consider the first times that humans used fizzy, bubbling water at all.

Interestingly, natural mineral water springs occur all over the world and were noted by ancient civilizations for millennia. In fact, the idea that mineral water and fizzy water have medicinal properties stems from the baths people would take in these mineral water pools. While the exact method of bubbling was not known by these people, they still enjoy the sensation the water had on their skin.

Natural mineral water baths get their mineral properties and their fizziness from carbon dioxide and gas carbonium that naturally leak into the water pool due to small holes in the ground. The pools receive unnaturally large amounts of mineral sediments and other particles that would normally be very far beneath the earth. In several cases, these pools were known for being unseasonably warm, as well.

While these occurrences aren’t the first incidences of soda creation, it is noteworthy that humans were experimenting with various uses for bubbling mineral water long before anyone had the idea to make a sweet drink out of the stuff.

Today I found out why flavored carbonated beverages are called “soft drinks”.

It turns out, soft drinks aren’t just flavored carbonated beverages. “Soft Drink” refers to nearly all beverages that do not contain significant amounts of alcohol (hard drinks).

The term “soft drink” though is now typically used exclusively for flavored carbonated beverages. This is actually due to advertising. Flavored carbonated beverage makers were having a hard time creating national advertisements due to the fact that what you call their product varies from place to place. For instance, in parts of the United States and Canada, flavored carbonated beverages are referred to as “pop”; in other parts “soda”; in yet other parts “coke”; and there are a variety of other names commonly used as well. Then if we go international with the advertisements, in England these drinks are called “fizzy drinks”; in Ireland sometimes “minerals”. To account for the fact that they can’t refer to their product in the generic sense on national advertisements, because of these varied terms, these manufactures have chosen the term “soft drink” to be more or less a universal term for flavored carbonated beverages.

Interestingly, according to a study done in 2006, most carbonated “soft” drinks actually do contain a little alcohol. In older methods of introducing the CO2 to the drink, this was resulting from natural fermentation, similar to how most beer gets its alcohol. However, with modern methods of introducing CO2 to the drink, this is not an issue; yet measurable amounts of alcohol remain. This is due to the fermentation of sugars in the non-sterile environment of the drink. In some types of soda-pop, additional alcohol is also introduced due to the fact that alcohol is used in the preparation of some of the flavor extracts. However, before anyone starts campaigning to make soda-pop illegal for kids due to the alcohol content, it should be noted that a typical container of yogurt of similar volume to some amount of soda-pop, will contain about 2 times the amount of alcohol over the amount in the soda-pop.

*Note: this article was by request. If there is anything you’d like to know, feel free to send me an email and if I think it’s something worth doing an article on, I’ll do the research for you and write an article on it.

Bonus Facts:

  • Carbonating beverages, introducing CO2 into the drink mix under pressure, makes the drink slightly more acidic (carbonic acid), which serves to sharpen the flavor and produces a slight burning sensation. It also helps preserve the drink longer without going bad.
  • The first known reference of the term “Pop”, as referring to a beverage, was in 1812 in a letter written by English poet Robert Southey; in this letter he also explains the term’s origin: “Called on A. Harrison and found he was at Carlisle, but that we were expected to supper; excused ourselves on the necessity of eating at the inn; supped there upon trout and roast foul, drank some most admirable cyder, and a new manufactory of a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn, and pop you would go off too, if you drank too much of it.”
  • The term “soda-pop” was a moniker given to carbonated beverages due to the fact that people thought the bubbles were produced from soda (sodium bicarbonate), as with certain other products that were popular at that time. A more correct moniker would have been “carbonated-pop”.
  • In ancient cultures, people believed that bathing and drinking mineral waters from springs, which were naturally carbonated, could cure many diseases. As such, scientists and inventors sought ways to artificially produce these mineral waters. Artificially produced carbonated beverages get their start from this; the first carbonated beverages were just non-flavored carbonated water sold as mineral water tonics.
  • The first flavored carbonated drinks were created in the United States in 1807 by Townsend Speakman. The purpose of adding flavor wasn’t just to make it taste better, but also to improve on the supposed natural curative properties of mineral water. Popular ingredients to add were birch bark, dandelions, ginger, lemon, coca, and kola (the latter two combined ended up producing Coca-Cola, which was originally formulated by Dr. John Styth Pemberton and first sold on May 8th, 1886).
  • The father of the soft drink industry is generally held to be German-Swiss jeweler Jacob Schweppe, who was the first large-scale producer of aerated water around 1783. Although, there were many before him that produced aerated water, such as William Brownrigg from England, who created the first artificial mineral water in 1741.
  • Keeping aerated drinks in a bottle was a huge problem for a long time in the distribution of soft drinks. As such, until the advent of crown cork (crown cap), carbonated beverages were generally only available in pharmacies (hence why many of the most popular soft drink flavors that survived to this day were invented by pharmacists).
  • Over 1500 types of cork and other bottle stopper patents were filed to attempt to stop aerated drinks from losing their carbonation too quickly. Finally, in 1891, in the United States, William Painter invented the “crown cork”, which gave the first truly effective, mass producible, way to stop the carbonation from escaping from bottled carbonated drinks. This allowed, for the first time, people to buy carbonated beverages they could store at home.
  • However, at the time of this invention, glass bottles had to be made by hand by glass blowers. This changed in 1899 with the invention of an automatic glass blowing machine which, in a very short span, increased annual glass bottle production from about 1500 bottles a day to 57,000 bottles a day in the United States. This further drove down the price and helped popularize bottled carbonated drinks.
  • Most modern carbonated beverage bottles are designed to hold as much as 20 atmospheres of pressure before bursting. The carbonation itself though is only introduced at about 2 atmospheres of pressure, though this varies slightly from drink to drink.
  • If you were to let all the CO2 out of a typical carbonated drink, at 1 atmosphere of pressure it would fill a volume about four times that of the original drink container.
  • Glass bottles make significantly better containers for carbonated beverages due to the fact that air can diffuse through plastic, allowing the CO2 to escape. Thus, carbonated beverages stored in plastic containers have a much shorter shelf life than their glass counterparts.
  • The first mass produced, non-tea/coffee, soft drinks were non-carbonated, appearing popularly around the 17th century. The most popular of these were made from water, lemon juice, and honey. At one time, in France, a company was given a monopoly for selling this lemonade concoction to thirsty Parisians. The sellers would literally walk around with cups and small tanks on their backs and sell this non-alcoholic flavored drink to anyone who wanted it.
  • Almost all of the food energy in soda-pop is from refined cane sugar or corn syrup. Each serving of a typical carbonated soft drink contains more than the recommended daily allotment of sugars.

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