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.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter.
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Hey there, I have been contemplating doing this, but I have some questions. I never seem to tend to my water kefir grains well enough to keep them alive, but some local women sell coconut water kefir that I use to inoculate my veggie/grain ferments with great results. Do you think I could make water kefir with that?
Also, I don’t have a Grolsh bottle, would a mason jar with a lid work just as well for the secondary ferment?
Thank you thank you!
I think the coconut water kefir would work. You can use a mason jar, but it won’t be as carbonated because they aren’t air-tight.
Thank you for the very interesting information. I am curious what you do with the grains when you scoop them out. How long are they good for before you use them again? My daughter loves lemonade. I am eager to try this.
Sue, I use them constantly. I make the plain water kefir daily and include it in a variety of things, such as making sourdough starter, smoothies and other probiotic drinks.
If you need to rest them, place them in the fridge in the sugar water as instructed above and change the solution once a week. If you don’t need as much water kefir as it would make daily, you can leave it in the fridge to culture it all the time and just have one batch a week to deal with.
This is probably my favorite flavor. I’ve added dried fruit; raisins, figs, etc but just lemon with or without ginger and I threw in some peppermint from the garden. made it so cool and refreshing. I need to get some bottles though.
Well at least it seemed to not be as much of an explosion as the sourdough.
LOL! Definitely not. It didn’t hit the ceiling. And I consider myself lucky!
Great article. As I was reading it I wondered if you could open your bottles over a big clean bowl in the sink and catch all of the soda when it overflows. Then you wouldn’t lose half of your drink.
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I helped KerryAnn open several bottles the other night, so what I did was to put a larger bowl underneath and KerryAnn held a smaller bottle over the top. It built pressure so fast (unrefrigerated) that the spray was going everywhere. Doing this with the bowls kept about 90-95% of it in the larger bowl, so overall we were able to keep most of what was made.
I am new to making water kefir (3 weeks in) and made some awesome sode just by adding about 1/2 cup of organic pear juice to the grolsch-style bottle and leaving it out for two days. It did explode when I opened it (some got on my ceiling! haha) but other than that issue, it tasted wonderful! 🙂
Brandis @ Stir Crazy says
I just wanted to add that I buy Grolsch style bottles from Ikea- they’re bigger than standard beer bottles, but they’re cheaper than having them shipped. I believe they hold a quart and a half? But I use them for my water kefir and my naturally fermented sodas. I recently made this awesomely pink rhubarb soda in these bottle using my ginger bug- http://crunchythriftycool.blogspot.com/2011/05/rhubarb.html.
My kids love lemonade and I think this will be the next thing I try- I even have some water kefir that will be ready tonight!
Oh! Thank you for sharing! I’ll update the post to let folks know.
I love making lemonade with my water kefir! My brother thinks it tastes just like tea, but little does he know how nutritious it really is 🙂
I tried water kefir a couple of years ago. It seemed to have an off taste. I hate to even say this, but kinda smelled and had a slight hint of vomit. Did I just have a bad set of kefir grains? Or is that just how it is? If I just got some bad grains, I’ll give it another try. I had made several batches of the water kefir, and it always tasted the same (vomit hintish).
@Tracey-Do you live in a warm area? Your kefir may be finished sooner than 48 hours. Chefk your kefir at 12 hours, 24 and 36 hours.
I live in Texas. If I let the kefir go 2 days on the 1st ferment it gets very sour and can smell bad. Right now 12-24 hours is plenty of time or it’s too sour for my kids or just smells “overyeasty”.
The kids prefer it at 12 hours. Sweetness is gone, but it’s not Kombucha sour.
I don’t know where you’re located but we have a grocery store here called Price Chopper and they sell sparkling lemonade in a 24oz bottle in the international section.
I thought all ferments contained alcohol
KerryAnn Foster says
Andrea, because the ferment people are most familiar with is beer, many people assume all ferments are alcoholic. However, this is a lacto-ferment. Other lacto-fermented foods are sourdough bread, cheese, yogurt, and none of those are associated with alcohol. If you allow this ferment to go too long, say for weeks, it would eventually turn alcoholic. However, the same can be said of things such as orange juice. If you follow the directions, it will contain less alcohol than a glass of commercially prepared OJ (2% alcohol) or a slice of a cake baked with vanilla extract.
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If I wanted to start making water kefir, how many lock top bottles would you say to buy? There are three of us that would drink it. I’d like to always have some ready to drink while others are fermenting. We have an ikea near by so I’d like to go and buy the bottles and get started!! Thanks for the help!
KerryAnn Foster says
Shannan, I’d recommend 6-12 depending on how much you want to drink and how often you make it. There’s 4 of us and I keep 16 in rotation, mostly for the kids because they drink the bulk of it.
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KerryAnn, do you recommend a certain brand of stevia? There are so many out there now, some with added chemicals. I want to make sure I’m buying the right stuff. Thanks!
KerryAnn Foster says
Shara, I prefer NuNaturals. They have the best flavor without the aftertaste.
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Great, KerryAnn! Thank you. The price is great too. I just ordered some 🙂
Anna Tennis says
I’ve never needed to heat any water to dissolve the sugar when making water kefir. I just put it in the water cold and stir really well. Eliminates a step, and a pan…
KerryAnn Foster says
Anna, we do have hard water, and that might be a factor.
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I’ve got my bottles, though I have to score some grains now. I wondered, how long do these store? Do you have to drink them right away so they don’t blow up the house (lol)?
KerryAnn Foster says
Lurleene, I’ve kept it for a few weeks with no trouble. Refrigeration slows down the fermentation very well, so no worries.
I love your site Kerry Ann! Thank you! I have read on Ed Kaspers site that one can drink too much kefir/kombucha. “Acetic Acid from Kombucha and Lactic Acid from kefir are all weak acids. When ingested, they react with minerals such as Calcium, Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium in the body tissue and blood, to form alkalies. This reaction is termed Alkaline-forming foods. That is how an acetic kombucha tea actually helps alkalize the body. However you have to be very careful in not over doing this. An excess will rob your body of ionic minerals. A cup or two is fine, but large amounts of these acids are not a good idea”
Do you have any thoughts on this or what amount is good to drink? Due to your research I’m planning on buying Pickl-it jars and I’m trying to figure out what size to get.
Connie, I have read critiques of Kasper’s statement’s before, but I don’t remember the details. I will need to go back and look at the information. Personally, I drink 2-3 cups a day and have only seen increases in my health.
I’m new to fermenting and trying to figure all this out. I’ve read your posts on why you want to use an anaerobic environment, such as a Pickl-it versus a Fido or mason jar. I’ve purchased a Pickl-it and am making milk kefir now. I am wanting to try making something else my family will like, but was wondering if doing the second ferment of the soda in the Grolsch bottle, which is adding carbon dioxide to make it fizzy, is OK. I thought the idea was to get the carbon dioxide out of the fermenting substance? Thanks for your help.
Sharon, I’ve asked that question myself. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to tackle it yet due to having to change my diet and having other commitments that are taking my time. I haven’t had time to research it. Once I can finish that up, I’ll post what I find.
Hi, I have been struggling with Candida and am finally seeing some healing in my body. I know Kefir is good for you but I’m nervous having anything with sugar. Would you still suggest it for someone who struggled with Candida? And, how do I know when the kefir is “done” and has eaten the sugar?
Rachel, I’m not very knowledgeable about candida, unfortunately. I do know that an anaerobic fermentation method produces yeasts and bacteria that are beneficial for fighting the candida. You can tell when most of the sugar has been eaten because all sweet flavor is gone. I would recommend you talking with someone who knows more about fermentation and candida and not just take my word for it, since I don’t consider myself very knowledgeable about candida. You might want to try Lisa at Lisa’s Counter Culture to see if she knows about it. http://www.lisascounterculture.com
Di Jasper says
I have been making water kefir for a few months now. I was making coconut water kefir but could not keep it from destroying the grains and going very off-tasting. (I thought the coconut water would be healthier because of the minerals etc.) I love the water kefir, but I have tummy troubles and after reading about the anaerobic benefits of using ferments in Pickl-It, I want to try making it that way. I have been searching the Pickl-It site and here but can’t figure out what size I should get. I currently use a square glass jar that is 2 liters and my recipe is 5 cups liquid and the kefir grains bring it to about 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the shoulder of the jar. Would the 2 liter work or does that leave too much room at the top? Does it matter as much with liquid as with solids? (I don’t think I am ready to do veggies yet but if I have good luck with the kefir maybe I will get brave!) Thanks!
I’d go with a 1.5 liter for it. It doesn’t matter as much with liquids as solids, since liquids don’t heave.