Homemade Soda! {How to Make Kefir Water}

Today I want to tell you about one of the yummiest discoveries I’ve made my journey toward nourishing my family well.

Enzymes are a key ingredient in a nourishing diet, allowing us to digest the food we’re eating and get the most nutrients out of it.ย  I have been taking a supplement of digestive enzymes regularly since first going to a naturopath nearly 8 years ago. I hate having to take expensive pills, but my body needs support in this area (as most of us do). But gradually, as I have learned to make and add cultured condiments and drinks into my diet, I’ve been able to skip the pill at my meal more and more often.

Some of you may be squeamish about the yeasty flavor of kefir or the tang of sauerkraut (as I was until I cultivated a taste for it). The good news is, Kefir Water (or Kefir Soda, as we like to call it), is a very mild and tasty way to add a little culture to your meals. It’s easy to make and my kids actually drink it.

Kefir water starts with a packet of kefir starter. Normally you’d use this with fresh milk to create kefir. Instead, we use water as a base, and flavor and sweeten it a little so it makes a mild drink with all the benefits of lacto fermentation.

You’ll find these packets in the health food section of your grocery or health food store. I keep mine in the freezer when I get it home.

You can flavor your kefir water lots of different ways – there’s a bunch of recipes out there. I have only tried one so far, but loved it so I’ve not branched out any further. Hmm. Maybe I should get out of my rut.

Anyway, my favorite recipe is Homemade Ginger Ale from “Eat Fat, Lose Fat“. Now, ginger ale connoisseurs may not agree it’s worthy of the name, but I think it’s delightful and a good replacement.

Ginger Kefir Soda

1 inch fresh ginger root

1/2 c. sucanat, honey, or maple syrup (or sugar, but c’mon, we’re trying to be healthy here, right?)

2 limes (or lemons – we’re also trying to be thrifty)

1 packet of kefir starter (the packets have two sides – kind of like a yeast packet? I use just one side for a batch)

Chop up the ginger root coarsely. Peel the limes or lemons and chop them into chunks. Add the ginger, citrus, sweetener, and the packet of starter to a half-gallon glass container (if you don’t have a two-quart jar, try using a glass pitcher or even a bowl. It’s gotta be glass, not metal or plastic!) Fill with filtered water, stir with a wooden spoon, and cap.

Ok, are you ready? This is the trickiest part…

Leave on counter for 3 days.

See? I told you this was easy-peasy!

After it’s sat at room temperature for 3 days, the cultures have done their work and you will have an enzyme rich concoction ready to be enjoyed. Strain the ginger and citrus out by pouring it through cheese cloth (You don’t want a metal strainer here, either). You can totally drink it now, but I recommend cooling it in the fridge first.

As with all cultured creations, it gets better with age. If you can wait a week or two to drink it, the flavors will have matured, and the carbonation increased. So, cap it and put it in the back of the fridge for a week and forget about it. Then you can get it out and enjoy this delectable, nourishing replacement for soda at your next pizza party!

EDITED TO ADD: You can reserve a half a cup of your kefir water and use it (in place of a packet of powder) for the next batch. The resulting batches will be a bit yeastier than the initial batch, but it does mean you can make more batches for less investment IF you don’t mind the stronger flavor. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have made up to 3-4 batches before beginning fresh with new starter.

Also, I frankly do not know how this recipe works with kefir grains as I’ve never been able to get my hands on any (the packets are a powder). I would love to hear about it if any of you make kefir water with the grains!

Curious as to how I manage to incorporate cultured stuff into each of our meals? Well, I don’t. But this is the goal…

  • A bit of yogurt or kefir with breakfast – usually in the form of a smoothie.
  • Kefir soda, kombucha drank , or Fermented Sun Tea with lunch.
  • Cultured condiment like sauerkraut or kimchi with dinner.

I’ll be sharing more about the 4 different kinds of sauerkraut I’ve got in my fridge next week…

Do you have anything ‘alive’ in your fridge? What fermented condiment or beverage do you enjoy?

15 responses to “Homemade Soda! {How to Make Kefir Water}”

  1. Ian Avatar
    Ian

    Great idea! However, it should be noted that honey has anti-bacterial properties, and is not a good choice for water kefir. It will likely inhibit, if not kill, your lovely kefir culture. Any natural sugar that still as some molasses in it is the best option as the mineral in it support healthy fermentation.

    Cheers!

  2. rj Avatar
    rj

    My grains were mailed, in a packet in a bubble wrap lined envelope from Montreal. I think I paid a total of $10, maybe less, Instructions were included. The advice was to make the first batch with sugar water for about 3 days to revive the grains. Strain the grains and dump the water and add to new sugar water.

  3. Schanna Avatar
    Schanna

    Oh! I also noticed that someone offered to send you grains (I know I’m a bit late on this thread so it may not apply) but she can dehydrate them and send them to you. http://www.yemoos.com has info on that too.

  4. Schanna Avatar
    Schanna

    Hello!

    I make water kefir with the grains and I haven’t used honey before so I don’t have first hand experience with it but I’ve heard that honey can slowly kill kefir grains because of the antibacterial properties it has. Also, I got my grains forever ago at http://www.yemoos.com and love them. Their site also has a ton of info about cultured drinks. Hope you’re having a great day!

  5. Rachel Avatar

    Oooh, I just saw this post and had to comment! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I make water kefir soda with water kefir grains and it’s SUPER easy. I honestly like it much better than kombucha, since mine was always rather hit or miss. ๐Ÿ˜› My MIL doesn’t think the water kefir is as nourishing as kombucha, but I still think it’s better than not having any probiotic drink that you like! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I got my grains from Yemoos: http://www.yemoos.com/waterproductpage.html, except I bought them through eBay and payed less than $10 for them. I decided to get the live ones, not the dehydrated, even though they would probably have been fine. Yemoos includes rather long directions with theirs, which does produce some lovely water kefir. It just takes a ton of ingredients! So, instead, I use Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s recipe for Kefir Pop: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/09/how-to-make-homemade-kefir-soda-pop-why-make-kefir-soda-pop-and-how-does-it-taste.html. It does use juice, but I let the kefir sit out on the counter for a full 24-hours after I add the juice and I feel as though that does a fine job of fermenting it. Wes will even drink this–when I ask him to ;)–but I LOVE it! It’s my late-afternoon treat. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If I could figure out a way to ship them, I would totally send you some kefir grains! They multiply like you would not believe. I just toss the extras onto my compost pile, and I’ve even added them to my garden soil before.

  6. Emily B Avatar

    I just finished following your recipe and have this sitting on my counter now. Thank you!

    A quick question(s)…do you cap the fermenting liquid tightly? with the (metal) jar lid? Looks like that’s what you did but I’m just checking.

    Thanks again!

    1. Trina Avatar
      Trina

      Yes, Emily – I’d give the lid a snug twist. Especially once you store it ’cause it’s gonna build up some pressure as it ferments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. […] Homemade Soda! {How to Make Kefir Water} โ€“ from All that Is Good (powder directions)  […]

  8. kateri Avatar

    I’m looking foward to trying this…sounds so simple. (I made sauerkraut for the first time since I left the homestead last fall, and we are slowly eating our way through it.)

  9. Rahraht Avatar
    Rahraht

    Have you had any luck making the Komucha without white sugar? I have yet to find a recipe/instructions that don’t include white cane sugar. I’m really enjoying the Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne Kombucha I get at Whole Foods, but want to make my own since I’m sure it’s MUCH cheaper.

  10. Jess Avatar

    Sounds like something my husband would be very interested in trying (he’s a home brewer and is always looking to ferment something).

  11. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy Avatar

    Someone told me that you can’t use dairy kefir grains for water kefir, but it looks like that’s what you’re using. Apparently, it works for you! I really want to try it, too, and I’ve seen that exact package of kefir starter at my health food store.

  12. Debbie Avatar

    I make fermented dill pickles. They taste WONDERFUL! They too are better with age. So very simple and YUMMY!

    1. Debbie Avatar

      Oh, BTW…I am SO excited about your water kefir post. I have heard about it before but never had a recipe to try. I am REALLY going to try this as soon as I get some kefir grains. THANK YOU!

  13. Katie @ Mexican Wildflower Avatar

    I have all sorts of cultures in my fridge! ๐Ÿ™‚ Diary kefir, yogurt, multipul forms of kraut… Plus water kefir and kombucha brewing.

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