You may find it hard to believe, but before mass-produced sodas became a synonym for unhealthy beverages, sodas were regularly consumed for their health benefits as well as for pleasure. As a matter of fact, soda fountains themselves were even situated inside pharmacies. Nowadays, there are still some homemade sodas that can be good for your health. A good example is a soda made from water kefir grains, which is full of probiotics that support a healthy digestion.
This amazing beverage has the potential to become the next big health drink…..again. Many people from all over the world have enjoyed the benefits of Water Kefir Soda for hundreds of years, but it is finding its new place among health-conscious individuals in today’s modern society.
Water Kefir Soda is easier to make than other super healthy drinks like Kombucha, provides the same benefits for the digestive system, and can be flavored in many different ways.
WATER KEFIR GRAINS:
Water kefir grains are a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. They contain no actual grains like wheat – the term “grains” is only used to describe the look of the culture. Taking good care of water kefir grains, basically makes their lifespan unlimited, allowing them you to use them for creating infinite batches of soda.
These grains need steady attention, and once you get used to that, making water kefir will become one of the easiest parts of your regular daily activities. Keep in mind that the bacteria and yeast need unchlorinated, unfluoridated water, and sugar to flourish. They also need minerals – an unrefined sugar, a little unsulfured dried fruit, or a bit of molasses will provide the minerals that your water kefir grains need.
You should avoid using coconut sugar, agave, honey, or sugar substitutes. Honey has strong antimicrobial properties, which can weaken water kefir grains, while agave, coconut sugar, and sugar substitutes don’t contain the nutrients that are needed for the survival of the “grains”.
WATER KEFIR SODA:
Although basic water kefir is drinkable, it can become much more palatable if you turn it into a soda. Enhance the flavor by adding a tea, juice, or fruit (like grapefruit), then allow the carbonation to build for 1-3 days and you will have a refreshing beverage loaded with probiotics.
It is good to know that there is always a risk that bottles might explode because of the pressure that builds up from the carbonation. Those of you who are beginners in making sodas or other fermented drinks should do all of the bottling in plastic bottles. If you are using a plastic bottle, you will know that your soda is carbonated if the bottles are firm when squeezed. If you opt for glass bottles, then use swing-top, Grolsch-style bottles that are meant for carbonation. Carefully open or “burp” the bottles several times a day to release excess gases.
BASIC WATER KEFIR
- 2 tablespoons water kefir grains
- 1 quart unchlorinated, unfluoridated water
- 1/4 cup cane sugar, such as raw sugar, turbinado, or sucanat
- 1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses, or 4 unsulfured raisins, or 1/2 unsulfured dried fig
- First of all, mix together the water and sugar in a clean 1/2-gallon (2 L) jar, cover the jar with a lid, and shake it until the sugar dissolves.
- Next, remove the lid and add the water kefir grains to the jar. Then add the molasses, and loosely cover the jar with a coffee filter or cloth.
- Store the jar at warm room temperature, but away from direct sunlight. Let it ferment for exactly 48 hours. If you allow the fermentation to last longer, the grains may starve and disintegrate. During the fermentation process, the water will turn cloudy and will become less sweet than the original sugar water.
- Make a new jar of sugar water by repeating the steps above.
- Strain the fermented water kefir through a fine-mesh strainer into a jar.
- Then transfer the water kefir to the newly prepared jar of sugar water.
- The finished water kefir is now ready to be flavored and turned into soda.
Important Note: Water kefir grains can react with metals like aluminum, so always use nonmetal or stainless steel strainers.
WATER KEFIR SODA
· 2 1/2 cups finished Basic Water Kefir
· 1 1/2 cups flavored liquid
Flavored liquid options:
- 1/2 cups liquid with 3 tablespoons of sugar or honey, or
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened fruit juice, or
- 1 quart of water kefir with 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fruit
- First, make sure that your flavored liquid is completely cooled before using.
- Pour the water kefir into a clean bottle using a funnel.
- Fill the rest of the bottle with the flavored liquid, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Cap the bottle tightly and shake it well.
- Store the bottle at room temperature (away from direct sunlight) for 12 to 72 hours. Once the water kefir soda is carbonated, transfer the bottle to the refrigerator, and consume it within 1 month.