It’s a probiotic … it’s a carbonated drink … it’s water kefir!
I started making this as part of my mission to get more probiotics in our diet and it has worked like a charm! The kids love it and ask for it each morning.
Water Kefir Culture
You will need one unusual ingredient for this recipe: water kefir cultures (also called water kefir grains). They aren’t really grains, but are a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria that create probiotics and enzymes during the process of breaking down natural sugar.
I got my water kefir grains from this family-owned company. You’ll also need …
- Glass jar (1 quart or half gallon)
- Wooden spoon for stirring (avoid metal)
- Towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter to cover jar
- Rubber band
How to Make Water Kefir Soda (Recipe)
Yield 4 +
A healthy probiotic-rich drink that you can make quickly and easily at home for pennies.
- In a half gallon size glass jar, dissolve the sugar in a small amount of hot water. If you plan on making the full half gallon you will need ½ cup of sugar. If you are only filling the jar halfway then you only need ¼ cup of sugar.
- When the sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm. It must be at room temperature!
- Add the hydrated water kefir grains.
- Cover with a towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects and small children.
- Leave on the counter (preferably at 70-75°F) for 24-48 hours.
- After 48 hours, strain the water kefir grains through a bamboo or non-metal mesh strainer pouring the liquid into another container. I use a half gallon jar for the first process then strain into two quart size jars.
- Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water, and adding the same kefir grains.
- To make the water kefir carbonated, pour a couple ounces of fruit juice such as grape, pomegranate, apple, or cherry into the water kefir you just strained. I don't recommend citrus for this part, as it makes stringy yeast-like things that are not tasty!
- Once you've added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an airtight lid and leave on the counter n additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating.
- Repeat the process!
The longer you let your kefir ferment, the more sugar ferments out. So if you're limiting carbs, I recommend fermenting for the full 48 hours. Don't leave it longer than that though or it can starve the grains, which need sugar to live!
My Favorite Kefir Variations
- After the first fermentation, cap the water kefir without adding any juice and leave on the counter. After two days, put in refrigerator and add vanilla extract before drinking — tastes like cream soda!
- Add lemon juice and drink right after the first fermentation — tastes like lemonade!
- Do the second fermentation with grape, apple, cherry, or pomegranate for a fizzy fruit flavored soda.
- Add raisins or prune juice for the second fermentation — tastes like Dr. Pepper.
- Make a grape or berry flavored second fermentation and mix with iced herbal tea for a carbonated fruity iced tea drink.
- Add pineapple juice after the first fermentation, but drink right away — don’t allow to ferment or it gets slimy!
Water Kefir Recipe Video Tutorial
This video that explains this in more detail and gives step by step instructions. You can also check out Cultures for Health to find the supplies to make water kefir soda and other great fermented probiotic-rich foods and drinks!
Have you ever made water kefir? What’s your favorite flavor?