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Lemonade is the classic drink for a hot summer day, but the usual recipes are super sweetened and involve a lot of sugar! I love the flavor and effervescence of other fermented drinks, so why not probiotic lemonade? I looked it up to find it was a thing and decided to give it a try.
The result was wonderful, and thanks to the benefits of fermentation this lemonade contains little sugar and lots of healthy bacteria that is good for gut health.
Real Lemonade… With Probiotics!
I’m a big fan of water kefir and kombucha for their probiotics and beneficial enzymes. They do require specific cultures though, so if you don’t happen to have a SCOBY sitting around your kitchen, you are pretty much out of luck.
Luckily, there is an easy lacto-fermented drink that you can make with basic ingredients from your grocery store, and your kids will probably even drink it!
This probiotic lemonade is very easy to make and is ready in just a couple of days. As I mentioned, you don’t need any special ingredients like kefir grains or kombucha starter to make it (just the liquid from some strained yogurt).
As for the flavor, we all loved it (even the kids) and now keep a batch going through most of the summer months.
What Makes Probiotic Lemonade?
Full disclosure: this recipe does call for whey, which is basically the liquid drained off of yogurt. It’s packed with probiotics and easy to make if you start the night before. The recipe is here.
I get lots of requests for a dairy-free option for this recipe (or a way to make it if you just don’t have whey around). I haven’t tried to make a dairy-free version myself yet (will update when I do), but there are dairy-free yogurts or yogurt starters that may work. I’ve also heard of using kombucha or a ginger bug as a starter. Let me know if you try it!
Probiotic Lemonade Recipe
- ¾ cup sugar or sucanat
- 2½ to 3 quarts filtered water
- 10 lemons or limes juiced to make about 1 cup
- 1 cup whey here's how to make it
- In a gallon size glass jar, stir together sugar and just enough hot water to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the lemon juice and fill the jar about ¾ full with filtered water.
- Make sure the liquid is at room temperature and then add the whey.
- Cover tightly and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days.
- After 2-3 days, keep the lemonade in the refrigerator and drink 4-6 ounces per day. The flavor will continue to develop.
- Since the sugar ferments out, it is rather tart. Add a couple drops of stevia if it is too tart for you!
Feeling adventurous? Will you try this healthy drink? Tell me below!
Discussion (206 Comments)
Think I can use 1 cup of ginger bug instead of the whey?
It should work… let us know how it turns out!
I tried it — I don’t have a basis of comparison since as a vegan I can’t do the whey recipe, but, it seemed to turn out much as I’d expect fermented lemonade to turn out. Probably not to everyone’s taste (as the notes in the recipe say, it is indeed quite tart) but, I like it 🙂
What is gingerbug? Sounds like it would be simplar than making whey.
I have never made a ginger bug, but have looked up the information on how to make one. It takes 5 days and seems more onerous than a 24 hour drip of yogurt to make whey. In that 5 days you could be sipping on your flavored probiotic lemonade. You can put ginger or whatever flavors you want in the lemonade during the 2nd fermentation. Of course, if you want to make a ginger bug, it would certainly be something to try. Maybe you’d like that better. At present, I really like Kombucha and Water Kefir flavor with Ginger, Lemon, and Lime. Tart, but oh so good.
I tried this one and after 2 days of fermenting it developed a skim of mould on top. Thoughts?
It could be a temperature thing or from some other bacteria in the air. Mine did that once, but I just carefully removed the top layer and it was fine.
If it’s a thin white film it is most likely Kahm yeast. Completely harmless, but do skim or it will change the flavor of your ferment.
I LOVE that I’m giving my children healthy, good for them lemonade, instead of yucky stuff! I have shared this recipe with several people since finding it!
Made my second batch this week (the first batch was a hit when mixed with stevia sweetened iced tea for “Arnold Palmers”). Question…I did not get it in the fridge last night (day 3), and when I came out this morning, there were three little pieces of mold floating on top. I scooped them out, and stuck it in the fridge, but not sure if its safe. Do you know? Certainly don’t want to put any of us in danger, but hate to waste a gallon of it if it’s OK to drink. Your thoughts? Thanks!
I’ve done the same thing before and drank them with no problem…
Thanks for your reply. After I left my question, I searched around on other blogs a bit, and others said the same thing, so we drank it…no problem! Thanks again. Another question…I’m all out of lemons, but have some whey left that I would like to use up. I do have oranges, is there any reason that I can’t make probiotic orange juice?
I don’t see why it wouldn’t work… let me know if you try it!
I tried it with oranges. No, don’t do it. It doesn’t taste good.
I had this problem with my first batch as well… And I believe it was because I used bottled lemon juice… Aftrer looking at the ingredients, found out it actually had a preservative in it! So it didn’t actually let it ferment the way it should have and molded instead. :/ So be sure to use fresh juiced or a bottled without any preservatives, if there’s such a thing!
So good! I am enjoying this lemonade thanks so much!! Even been using it to mix with my daily dose of apple cider vineger for added punch of tartness! Thanks again for your inspired and well informed outlook!
Made this-it was wonderful!!! And you’re right..kids love it.
I made this a couple of days ago, it actually tastes nice, the kids drunk it under duress!
How do you know when it is ready? I made some and it ended up with a bunch of black stuff in it. So I figured that I left it out too long.
Usually about two days, but it depends on the temperature in your kitchen…
I have a jar on my counter and I’m excited to give it a try tomorrow. Question, though… should I strain it before drinking? My juice had a lot of pulp and there’s a film on the top. Don’t want to remove anything I should be keeping in… Thanks!
I have just made half quantities of this but forgot to measure the whey and tipped it in, will it be ok?
It will be fine. It may ferment a little faster, so just keep an eye on it, but it should still taste great.
I am now drinking this each morning and it is lovely, will have to make some more. Its coming up to flu season here, so the vitamin C should ward off the bugs!