On the journey towards healing my body I have embraced many things. I have learned to make sourdough bread, kombucha, beer, wine, fermented vegetables, and recently I have learned to make water kefir soda. In this post we are excited to share with you how to make water kefir soda as well! It is not only good for you, but it is delicious as well.
Why Water Kefir Soda?
Of all the gut healthy foods I have learned to make, water kefir is by far the easiest! Not to mention it is also very inexpensive to make as well. It is the perfect frugal choice for bringing probiotics into your diet. This drink is also great for busy moms because the kids will love it and it’s so easy to make! Water Kefir is a great pop replacement!
For more information on the health benefits of water kefir click here.
My Water Kefir Inspiration
One of the reasons I was inspired to make water kefir soda is because whenever my sisters and I go to Columbus for the day, we always get lunch and a bottle of Kevita from Whole Foods. Kevita’s base is water kefir soda. When I read the ingredients list, I thought to myself- I can do this! So I decided to give it a try for myself.
How I Got Started
While looking up kefir grains online, I discovered I was able to buy them through an Etsy store. I started back in March with 1/4 cup of water kefir grains. At this point I have been able to grow more than two gallons of kefir grains! The grains are so prolific that if you follow these directions you will have amazing success growing them as well.
Though the directions I was given from the Etsy seller were wonderful, I constantly had to log onto my computer for them. While shopping online, I found an amazing book by Felicity Evans called “Fermented Probiotic Drinks at Home”. Personally I just prefer to have a book in my hands. Her directions are easy to follow, and over time I just was able to tweak the recipes to my taste. Water kefir is so versitile! You can flavor it with anything from fruits, to herbs and spices.
The Tools You Will Need to Make Water Kefir
The tools you will need for water kefir soda are minimal. If you make kombucha you are set! You will need a one gallon jars, 1/2 gallon jars (or quart jars), a whisk, and a set of measuring cups. You will also need bottles to put the soda in. My suggestion is flip top bottles from Ikea or Aldi (the Italian lemon soda bottles are great!).
As a side note, one of the ways I keep the water kefir frugal is by buying whatever fruit is on sale that week to flavor the soda. This is a great frugal trick to maximize your flavors without going over budget.
How to Make Water Kefir
Basic Water Kefir (This is the foundation recipe)
1/4 Cup raw sugar
2 Cups of warmed water (to help melt the sugar)
plus 2 Cups cold water
1 pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 dried piece of fruit (Fig, Apricot, Apple)
1 heaping tsp. Raisins
1/4 tsp. Cane syrup or molasses
1/4 Cup kefir grains
Directions: In a small pan on the stovetop, add the 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water together, stir until warm and the sugar is just melted. Do NOT allow this to boil. In your jar, add the sugar/water mixture, 2 cups of cold water and then all of the rest of the ingredients. The grains should not be added to hot liquid! It will kill the grains. Make sure the warmed sugar/water mixture is cooled by the other 2 cups of cold water before adding the other ingredients.
Cover the jar with a tea-towel or cheese cloth with a rubber band, and leave on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hour, or until bubbly. The fruits will start to rise to the top when it is ready.
Strain the water kefir off of the grains and fruit. Separate the fruit from the grains. The fruit can be composted, and the grains can up placed in a jar in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for later use. Place the completed water kefir back in the jar to make your flavored water kefir.
**This recipe can be doubled or tripled over time, as your water kefir grains multiply. This recipe is for those who are just ordering water kefir grains, which usually come 1/4 cup at a time. With 1/4 cup of grains, you start out making about a quart of basic kefir soda.
Simple Juice-Based Water Kefir
In a swing-top glass bottle, add about 1/3 of your basic water kefir soda, and fill the rest (leaving some head space) with a 100% natural juice of your choice. You can try any juice you wish, but we really like grape juice. You can also add a splash of lemon juice for an extra added kick. Wipe the top of the bottle, close it, and leave on the counter top for another 12-24 hours. Burp the bottles throughout the day so that pressure does not build up, causing the bottle to explode. This is a living food! The completed soda can be placed in the refrigerator after fermentation is completed. This will last about 6 weeks in the fridge, but it tastes so good it probably won’t last that long.
Strawberry Lemon Water Kefir (Inspired by Kevita)
1 Gallon of Basic Water Kefir
1 1/2 Cup fresh strawberries
1 lemon, zested and reamed
1/4 Cup of raw/unrefined sugar (sucanot)
2 – 3 sprigs of lemon verbena (optional)
A pinch of Celtic sea salt (or pink Himalayan)
1/4 Cup of raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. of concentrated stevia powder
In a bowl, cut up the strawberries and macerate them with the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and lemon verbena. After that, set it aside on the counter to marinate, or put in a jar overnight in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to make your strawberry lemon water kefir, take the lemon verbena sprigs out of the strawberries and lemon, and blend the mixture into a puree.
Into the gallon of basic water kefir, add the strawberry puree, pinch of Celtic sea salt, apple cider vinegar and stevia. Next, whisk thoroughly, and then place the kefir into swing top bottles. Leave some head space at the top. Be sure to burp the water kefir throughout the day so that it does not built pressure and explode on your countertop. Also, it is a good idea to make sure you label your bottles.
This will last about 6 weeks in the refrigerator, if you don’t drink it first! Enjoy!
-Starla and Sierra