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Water Kefir Soda

Soda.  Pop.  Soda pop.  “Coke”.  It’s known by many names across the country.  In my house we call it crap I no longer buy because my husband has a severe and expensive addiction.  It’s disgusting how addicted he is to the bubbly stuff.  I rarely bought it because he would guzzle it and just crave it.
That all changed for good when I decided to start making my own.  I read a post on some blog (forgive me for not remembering the name) about making water kefir soda.  I was intrigued.  Then I did a bit of research and found that I liked what I saw.
Water kefir is make with kefir “grains” (it isn’t really a grain and does not contain gluten) which are chock-full of probiotics and good bacteria for a happy and calm tummy.  And it can be used to make a soda with the same, if not more benefits than yogurt.  I thought to myself, “hmmm…this could fit in to my house”.
I ordered a water kefir starter kit from Cultures for Health.  Their customer service rocked, and the low price shipping was super fast.  I also ordered 1 of their flip top bottles, but later found bottles twice the size at half the price at a local brewing supply store.
When the grains arrived, I rehydrated them according to instructions.  After a few days, I got to work making some soda!
Mix 1/4 cup of organic evaporated cane juice (Costco!) in with a few cups of water.  I microwave it for 90 seconds to let the sugar dissolve. You’ll want 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of water.  Add the dissolved sugar water to a glass jar – canning jars seems to work great.  My cool cousin Kori gave me a few half-quart Mason jars that she found at Goodwill.  I like these because I can make enough for 2 big bottles of soda at one time.  Once you’ve added the sugar water to the jar, fill the rest of the jar with cold water.  Once the water in the jar is room temperature, cover with a towel and rubberband.  Let sit on your counter for 24-48 hours.
Grains at the bottom
Once it’s had a chance to “brew”, strain the grains out using a plastic mesh strainer (included in the starter kit).
Pour about 1-1.5 cups of your favorite juice in a flip-top style bottle.  Pour in the liquid that the kefir grains have been sitting in.
Leave the flip-top style bottles on the counter top for 24-48 hours.  The longer it sits, the fizzier it gets.  After 24-48 hours, open and enjoy!
My family thinks that water kefir soda is SUPER good.
A few tips that I’ve gathered over the last 2 months:
1) some people recommend you use sugar alternatives (date palm sugar, Rapadura or Succant) in the first step of the process.  Or if you don’t have those sweeteners (or can’t afford them!), they recommend using organic sugar with a splash of molasses.  Let me tell you what happens when you do that.  You take a big drink of that soda, and think “why did someone put donkey piss in my glass”?  Do yourself a favor, and just stick with plain old organic evaporated cane juice.  The kefir grains will “eat” most of the sugar during the process, so 1/4 cup isn’t going to kill you.
2) Purple juices seem to work the best for us.  We prefer grape or pomegranate/blueberry (Trader Joes) to any other flavor I’ve made.  Cherry soda?  Barf.  Homemade cream soda?  Tasted like Sasqwatches nutsack sweat.  Anything other than the purple flavoring has led us to just ignore the soda and not drink it.  I’m not making this stuff just to waste it.
3) Don’t let your grains sit in the sugar bath for more than 48 hours.  Don’t let the soda sit in the bottle for longer than 7 days.  A few reasons for that:
        a)  It can get pretty explosive.  Ask my sister-in-law, my back, my hair, and my kitchen ceiling how I know that…(I’ve learned to open the bottles outside).
        b)  It can get a little boozy.  For someone who doesn’t drink, the batch that got forgotten about in the fridge for a week knocked me on my ass.  But I may or may not have continued to drink a small glass at bedtime for another few days after getting the best night of sleep in years…but I digress.

4) Get creative and enjoy!  Remember, there is just a little bit of sugar in this, and the cultures “eat” most of it.  It’s not bad for you, and in-fact can aid your digestive health.  I’m a bit of a juice nazi with Jack, but I’ll let him have some of this in a sippy cup.

5) I’m a busy working momma and was hesitant to add ONE MORE thing to my routine.  But all in all, this takes about 5-10 minutes every 2 days.

Cost – the starter kit cost me $25 including shipping.  As long as you follow the directions, the grains last indefinitely.  At that point, you’re only paying for 1-1.5 cups of juice per batch, and 1/4 or 1/2 cup of organic sugar.  I also paied $2.50 each for 5 large flip top style bottles at the local brewing supply store.  It makes it a very cost effective alternative to soda pop.

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43 comments on “Water Kefir Soda”

  1. I love water kefir! I make it by the gallon. For me, myself and I or the ocational friend. I’ve been too cheap so far to by flip top bottles so I store it in glass kombucha bottles that I buy a couple times a year. I brew my own kombucha too but somtimes when I’ve been away from home for awhile I will buy one to get all that good bacteria in my body again.

    You can buy water kefir in glass bottles at some stores but the only kind I have tried taste awfull.

    Wonderful post!

  2. Can water kefir be purchased or do i have to make it?

    • Do you mean the finished product? I’ve never seen it in a store before, but that doesn’t mean it probably doesn’t exist. It’s a product that gets more combustible as it ages, so I’m guessing it’s not a common thing in stores.

  3. O Em Gee…I happened onto your site about 30 mins ago and I will be coming back for not only your delicious recipes and how to’s but for comic relief as well. This entry alone had me literally LOL so loud I woke up the hubs. Your sense of humor is right up my alley!!

  4. cracking me up about the Sasqwatches nutsack sweat! I had to read it to my husband.

  5. You crack me up! Aaannd your cheap/frugal. Loving this site, thanks!

  6. Love this post! Your descriptions of various flavors…LOL…although I have to wonder just how you know Sasquatch so intimately! Anyway, just wanted to share some info I learned. In my water kefir group on Facebook (I Love Water Kefir!), one of our members tested her wk (made with grains I sent her) with a hydrometer to test for alcohol. She didn’t test it after 7 days, but did find that there was very little to no alcohol at the various stages she tested. I have found that if I guzzle a glass of it, regardless of how long it has fermented, I get to feeling a little “boozy”…VERY relaxed. It intrigued me very much…why was I feeling this way if there’s no alcohol in it? Or at least not enough to elicit a “buzz” from just one glass? Then it hit me that wk has magnesium and calcium in it, both of which can have a relaxing effect on the body. Of course, any time you’re fermenting something with sugar or juice, there’s the chance it can become alcoholic for sure. I’ll have to have her check it afte 7 days and see what it’s like. So, now even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE wk and just want to chug it, I slowly drink it over a span of an hour or so and it doesn’t knock me out so much. Thanks for this great post…love your sense of humor and I’m sharing it with the group (O:

  7. Do you know why you have to use flip top bottles? I always have glass bottles left over from Pellegrino, and am wondering if I can use those.

  8. Rebecca, you want an air-tight bottle to help make it become carbonated. Try it with the Pellegrino first since you have it on hand!

  9. I have been wanting to try this and Lacto-fermentation. When I read about Laura at Heavenly Homemakers making it I figured I should give it a try. Now you tried it too! I have read a few blogs where people lacto-ferment ginger for homemade ginger ale. Have you ever tried it? I might have to save this for a “winter experiment” though…canning season is just starting for me. I am addicted to diet Sunkist and diet Coke Lime. I really think it is all about the fizz for me, so this would be great. Thanks!

  10. All About Us – I would encourage you to give it a try even with all the canning stuff you have going on. The grains do best at 62 degrees or warmer, so come fall/winter it might be tricky to get the results you’re looking for.

    I’ve heard about the ginger option, but it doesn’t interest me right now. I drank so much natural ginger ale while pregnant (I was disgustingly sick for more than half of my pregnancy), that the thought of it doesn’t appearl to me. 😀