You call it soda. She calls it pop. I call it delicious

Soda.  Pop.  Soda pop.  "Coke".  It's known by many names across the country.  In my house we call it crap I no longer buy because my husband has a severe and expensive addiction.  It's disgusting how addicted he is to the bubbly stuff.  I rarely bought it because he would guzzle it and just crave it.

That all changed for good when I decided to start making my own.  I read a post on some blog (forgive me for not remembering the name) about making water kefir soda.  I was intrigued.  Then I did a bit of research and found that I liked what I saw.

Water kefir is make with kefir "grains" (it isn't really a grain and does not contain gluten) which are chock-full of probiotics and good bacteria for a happy and calm tummy.  And it can be used to make a soda with the same, if not more benefits than yogurt.  I thought to myself, "hmmm...this could fit in to my house".

I ordered a water kefir starter kit from Cultures for Health.  Their customer service rocked, and the low price shipping was super fast.  I also ordered 1 of their flip top bottles, but later found bottles twice the size at half the price at a local brewing supply store.

When the grains arrived, I rehydrated them according to instructions.  After a few days, I got to work making some soda!

Mix 1/4 cup of organic evaporated cane juice (Costco!) in with a few cups of water.  I microwave it for 90 seconds to let the sugar dissolve. You'll want 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of water.  Add the dissolved sugar water to a glass jar - canning jars seems to work great.  My cool cousin Kori gave me a few half-quart Mason jars that she found at Goodwill.  I like these because I can make enough for 2 big bottles of soda at one time.  Once you've added the sugar water to the jar, fill the rest of the jar with cold water.  Once the water in the jar is room temperature, cover with a towel and rubberband.  Let sit on your counter for 24-48 hours.

Grains at the bottom

Once it's had a chance to "brew", strain the grains out using a plastic mesh strainer (included in the starter kit).

Pour about 1-1.5 cups of your favorite juice in a flip-top style bottle.  Pour in the liquid that the kefir grains have been sitting in.

Leave the flip-top style bottles on the counter top for 24-48 hours.  The longer it sits, the fizzier it gets.  After 24-48 hours, open and enjoy!
My family thinks that water kefir soda is SUPER good.

A few tips that I've gathered over the last 2 months:
1) some people recommend you use sugar alternatives (date palm sugar, Rapadura or Succant) in the first step of the process.  Or if you don't have those sweeteners (or can't afford them!), they recommend using organic sugar with a splash of molasses.  Let me tell you what happens when you do that.  You take a big drink of that soda, and think "why did someone put donkey piss in my glass"?  Do yourself a favor, and just stick with plain old organic evaporated cane juice.  The kefir grains will "eat" most of the sugar during the process, so 1/4 cup isn't going to kill you.

2) Purple juices seem to work the best for us.  We prefer grape or pomegranate/blueberry (Trader Joes) to any other flavor I've made.  Cherry soda?  Barf.  Homemade cream soda?  Tasted like Sasqwatches nutsack sweat.  Anything other than the purple flavoring has led us to just ignore the soda and not drink it.  I'm not making this stuff just to waste it.

3) Don't let your grains sit in the sugar bath for more than 48 hours.  Don't let the soda sit in the bottle for longer than 7 days.  A few reasons for that:
        a)  It can get pretty explosive.  Ask my sister-in-law, my back, my hair, and my kitchen ceiling how I know that...(I've learned to open the bottles outside).
        b)  It can get a little boozy.  For someone who doesn't drink, the batch that got forgotten about in the fridge for a week knocked me on my ass.  But I may or may not have continued to drink a small glass at bedtime for another few days after getting the best night of sleep in years...but I digress.

4) Get creative and enjoy!  Remember, there is just a little bit of sugar in this, and the cultures "eat" most of it.  It's not bad for you, and in-fact can aid your digestive health.  I'm a bit of a juice nazi with Jack, but I'll let him have some of this in a sippy cup.

5) I'm a busy working momma and was hesitant to add ONE MORE thing to my routine.  But all in all, this takes about 5-10 minutes every 2 days.

Cost - the starter kit cost me $25 including shipping.  As long as you follow the directions, the grains last indefinitely.  At that point, you're only paying for 1-1.5 cups of juice per batch, and 1/4 or 1/2 cup of organic sugar.  I also paied $2.50 each for 5 large flip top style bottles at the local brewing supply store.  It makes it a very cost effective alternative to soda pop.

This has been posted to Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesdays, Frugal Tip Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

*For full disclosure, if you purchase a product through one of the links, I'll earn 10% of your purchase.  I contacted Cultures for Health awhile ago to see if I could get a coupon code for readers.  They said in order to do that, I'd need to join their affiliate program.  I did.  Then found out it doesn't look like they're offering coupon codes right now.  Meh.

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