Water kefir soda has become a favorite drink in our home, but it took a while to learn how to make it how we all like it. I almost gave up on it for a time until I discovered that water kefir could be used to boost sourdough starters. My first wild sourdough starter took almost a month before it was active enough to use, so I was thrilled to see how quickly water kefir boosted sourdough starters became active (2-3 days!). I love working with sourdough and am so excited to be able to make this healthy, probiotic rich, fruity, fizzy drink out of my new sourdough booster. So, here is how I now satisfiy my cravings for fruity carbonation:
Ingredients: (for making 1/2 gallon)
– about 2 T. water kefir grains (hydrated, not dry)
– 1/2 gallon room temperature water (filtered if needed to get rid of chlorine, etc.)
– 1/2 cup organic sugar*
– 1 slice fresh organic lemon or 1 t. organic lemon juice (optional)
– about 1/4 cup organic raisins (optional, but very helpful)
– about 2 dozen fresh or frozen raspberries
– some form of mineral supplement (ie. an egg shell, mineral drops, or molasses)
* You can also use rapadura or sucanat, which adds more minerals to the water, but our family didn’t care for the taste when I used sucanat. Note that you can decrease the mineral drop amount to 1/16 t. or 6 drops if using a mineral rich sweetener.
– Fill a half gallon jar about two inches full with hot water and add sugar. Swirl or stir to disolve sugar.
– Add enough cold water to take water level to about 2 inches from the top of the jar.
– Add water kefir grains, lemon slice (or juice), raisins, and mineral supplement choice. I’ve never tried using molasses, so I’m not sure how much to use. If using an egg shell, make sure to rinse it well first. If using mineral drops, which I definately recommend, use about 1/8 t. or 12 drops. My grains are actually growing like they are supposed to since I started using the mineral drops. Water kefir grains love minerals!
– Cover jar with a cloth or napkin and a rubberband and let sit on counter for 24-48 hours, until the raisins all rise to the top (this is the first fermentation). The raisins are a huge help to me, because I always seem to forget how long my jar has been sitting. I love having the visual to tell me when it’s time to move on to the second fermentation and our boys love to see the raisins floating around in the jar.
– When raisins have risen to the top of the jar, carefully scoop the lemon slice and raisins out with a slotted spoon. I put them in a bowl and then dump them into our compost bin. If some of the raisins dart to the bottom of the jar when you go to scoop them out, be sure to taste the water kefir to make sure it has at least a hint of carbonation at this point. If it is still quite sweet without any carbonation, I would leave it to sit a few hours more.
– Once you have a little fizz going on and you have removed the lemon slice and raisins, carefully pour the water kefir into a clean half gallon jar or two quart jars (or whatever other jar combination you have) without letting any grains out of first fermentation jar. I like to pour it through a fine tea filter to catch any “sludge” that likes to float around with water kefir and to make sure no grains get into the new jar(s). I also like to leave about an inch of water kefir with the grains so that I can easily store them in the fridge until I’m ready to start a new batch (they store this way for about a week).
– Or, you can start a new batch right away, in which case I would carefully get as much water kefir out as possible, being careful not the let the grains fall out (they usually stay to the side of the jar in a group when pouring very slowly). Then, I like to gently rinse them a couple of times with cold water while still in the jar, slowly pouring out the rinse water each time, being careful that no grains fall out. Prepare a fresh jar of sugar water, lemon, raisins, and mineral supplement as before and simply dump the rinsed water kefir grains (with a little water to help push them out) into your fresh jar.
– Now for the fun part! Add to your water kefir about 12 fresh or frozen raspberries per quart. This doesn’t have to be exact, just try to get a good layer of raspberries on the top of the jar(s). Seal the jars with airtight lids and leave to sit on the counter for up to 24 hours.
– After your water kefir has been infused with the raspberry juices, scoop the raspberries out with a slotted spoon, just as you did with the lemon and raisins. You can now drink it right away or keep it sealed tight on the counter and drink it as you want it. We prefer to drink it within a day or two because it is sweeter and has no alcohol taste. If it sits out of cold storage for more than a couple of days it may get a hint of an alcohol taste, but I am very sensitive to that taste (quite dislike it), so many may not even notice it. You can also store your raspberry soda in the fridge to make it last longer, but it will lose some of it’s carbonation.
If you make this fun drink we call raspberry soda, I hope you enjoy it as well as we do!
Some Of My Favorite Water Kefir Resources:
– Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS instructions: How to Make Water Kefir
– Kelly @ Kelly The Kitchen Cop: Is Kefir Soda An Alcoholic Berverage?
– Cultures For Health: This is where you can buy water kefir grains (you might also find these at Amazon) and watch many helpful videos about water kefir.