Do You Miss Cherry Limeades?
Or are you looking for a healthy alternative to soft drinks for your kids? Homemade soda pop to the rescue! Not only is it delicious, water kefir pop is rich in beneficial bacteria that boost immunity and help with digestive function.
The best part? It’s sooooo easy to make. Here’s how . . .
Homemade Kefir Soda
- 1/3 cup rapadura/sucanat or organic white sugar (avoid honey because it does not have the right composition of sugars to feed the kefir grains)
- 1 quart purified water – no fluoride or chlorine – these will kill the grains. I’ve used water from my Berkey, spring water and reverse osmosis water with minerals added back in
- 2 tablespoons kefir grains (Hydrated, not dried. Follow the instructions for hydrating that come with your grains)
- 1 squirt Concentrace minerals or molasses – optional (Water kefir tends to do better in mineral rich water. Both of these are good sources of minerals, but I’m not a fan of the flavor of molasses in my kefir)
Optional flavoring ideas:
- A few slices of ginger – I’ve found this makes my kefir extra fizzy for some reason
- 1/2 lime and fresh mint – so refreshing!
- 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract for a creamy soda experience
- You can find recipes for cherry limeade, mango colada, blackberry lavender and more here
- 1 quart jar
- mesh strainer (plastic because metal will harm the grains)
- cloth with rubber band to cover jar
- measuring cup or bowl with pouring spout
- swing top bottles – like these or these
Step 1: Dissolve Sugar In A Small Amount Of Hot Water
If you’re making a quart, ladel out a small portion of your measured water and heat it to almost boiling. Add it to your jar along with the sugar and stir with a wooden/plastic spoon. Once the sugar is dissolved add the rest of your water. Make sure the water is cooled to room temp before continuing to the next step. .
Step 2: Strain Kefir Grains
Whether your gathering your grains from a previous batch (as shown in the photo above) or using new grains recently hydrated in sugar water, you’re going to need to strain them. My favorite method is to place my mesh strainer over a measuring cup and pour. As the cup fills I pour it into swing top bottles for the second fermentation, which I’ll cover later in this tutorial. Make sure to use a plastic mesh strainer as metal can harm the kefir grains.
Here’s what they look like up close.
Step 3: Add Grains To Your Sugar Water Mixture
Boy do these things love converting sugar into probiotic goodness! Pictured on the left is a brand new batch of kefir that hasn’t fermented yet. On the right is a finished batch – the color tends to lighten when they’ve done their magic.
Step 4: Add Flavorings (Optional)
Now is the time to make your soda a cherry limeade, mango colada, or strawberry twist.
Step 5: Pour In Swing Top Bottles For Extra Fizziness (Optional)
Technically you can stop with step 3, but in order for your water kefir to become carbonated you need to ferment a second time in tightly sealed bottles. As the beneficial bacteria and yeasts continue to consume the sugar they release gases which carbonate the drink. As a side benefit, this kind of carbonation benefits digestion!
I let mine sit for 1-3 days, depending on the temperature of my kitchen. Personally, I like to allow most of the sugar to be converted before serving, but you can pour a glass whenever the flavor develops to your preference!
Make sure to check on them often while you’re getting a feel for how quickly the fermentation process goes in your environment, because if the pressure builds up you may end up spraying fizz all over yourself and your kitchen. Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything. Ahem.
Also, it is possible to ferment with freshly pressed juices, but they yield a higher alcohol content than regular kefir, which contains a tiny amount. Please use caution when serving them to children, perhaps by fermenting them for a shorter amount of time. Also, second ferments are not recommended with juice kefir – pressure may build up very quickly, causing the bottle to burst.
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