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My kids love lemonade. They beg to make it constantly. Earlier this week I finally broke down and decided to give them what they want, but with my own sneaky nutrition twist.
And while I’m typing that, my daughter just peeked over my shoulder with a big “WHAT?!?” 😀 She didn’t know what I did! lol But she was more than happy to pose with the last remaining bottle of kefired lemonade.
I brewed my normal water kefir for 24-48 hours- shorter in warm weather, longer in colder weather. Then I added lemon juice and a little additional rapadura/sucanant and put it into a lock bottle for a secondary ferment. I added a couple of thin slices of ginger into my own bottle for a mildly pleasant, ginger flavor.
2 Tbs water kefir grains
1 quart water
1/4 cup + 1 tsp sucanant/rapadura or white sugar, divided
1/4 – 1/3 cup cup lemon juice
a couple of thin slices of fresh ginger, optional
Place the water kefir grains and all but 1/2 cup of the water into a Pickl-It or other anaerobic fermentation vessel and set aside.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup sucanant in a saucepan and heat just enough to get the sucanant to dissolve. Set aside until cool then pour into the Pickl-It with the water and kefir grains. Cap, set the airlock and allow to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours.
Congratulations, you have now made basic water kefir. That’s all there is to it! Now let’s made lemonade with it.
Strain out the grains using a plastic sieve and set the grains aside to be used again. Take the water kefir and mix it with the remaining 1 tsp sucanant, lemon juice and the fresh ginger and pour it into a Grolsch lock-top bottle or other airtight container and return to the counter for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
Transfer the bottles to the fridge and chill thoroughly.
When you open the lock bottles, do be advised that they are highly carbonated and can explosively overflow. It’s best to open the bottles outside or over the sink with a rag thrown over the top. This is especially important if you leave the bottles on the counter longer than 24 hours, as it becomes more carbonated the longer you leave it. This morning I lost half of each bottle to the carbonated explosion as I had let it go two days too long. Whoops!
Taste and add a little additional sucanat or stevia if needed, to get the sweetness adjusted to the level your family likes. It took a pinch of stevia to make it just right since I had let fermentation go on long enough to consume almost all of the sweetener.
What’s a Grolsch Bottle?
It’s a lock-top bottle. Grolsch is the name of the beer company that makes them and the easiest source for them, so the Bottles have kinda taken on their name in the same way Kleenex became the word for ’tissue.’ They’re a popular choice for home-brewers. However, they also work perfectly for making non-alcoholic drinks that are carbonated, like the lemonade. Check Craig’s List, Freecycle or your local brewing store to see if you can turn up some. Google will also give you a long list of suppliers, but shipping isn’t cheap since they’re made of thick glass and they’re quite heavy.
Update: Brandis mentioned in the comments that Ikea sells lock bottles like this in the 1.5 quart size. Thanks, Brandis!
You can use a mason jar, but because you don’t heat and can the mixture, the seal will not be air-tight. This means the final product will not be as fizzy. However, it’s a better option than no probiotic lemonade at all!
Yes, you really did just read the words ‘white sugar’ on my blog. Because the probiotics consume the white sugar as their food source, there’s little to none left in the final product. I use sucanat instead and then add a tiny pinch of stevia at the end to get it sweet. You’ll notice I’m not a heretic here. Check Nourishing Traditions and you’ll see she calls for white sugar in kombucha.
I use the sucanat because we’re fine with the slightly caramel-y flavor it leaves behind. However, if your family is still adjusting to natural sweeteners, you’re ok to use white sugar here to feed the probiotics instead.
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