Kefir Soda Pop

by Ann Marie Michaels on June 5, 2009

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Homemade kefir soda pop is easy to make in your own kitchen — and it’s good for you!

Why Kefir Soda?


Store-bought soda pop is really, really bad for you. First of all, you’re drinking a ton of sugar which sets you up for obesity and diabetes. But it’s not just sugar you have to worry about anymore. These days, soda pop is made with high fructose corn syrup or, just as bad, aspartame. These are not things you want to be putting in your body.

High fructose corn syrup is made by soaking corn in battery acid. Aspartame is an excitotoxin. Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s anyone? Oh, and check out these horrifying photos of rats with giant tumors: My Aspartame Experiment.

It’s also important to note that both HFCS and aspartame are genetically modified. Read the health risks of GMOs.

For these reasons, you couldn’t pay me to drink a Coke these days.

Kefir soda pop is easy to make with water kefir grains. Not only is this homemade soda pop delicious and refreshing, it’s so easy to make.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s healthy? Healthy soda pop? Could there be such a thing? Yes! This is a probiotic drink. The kefir bacteria eat the sugar, which makes the soda pop less sweet and it is filled with good bacteria (like the kind you get from yogurt or other probiotic foods). Kefir soda pop is a great option for kids instead of giving them juice. My two-year-old loves it.

Homemade soda pop made with kefir grains is also super cheap to make. It’s just made from water and a little sugar, plus some fruit flavoring. You’ll save a ton not buying sodas or juice. Not only that, but as you use your kefir grains over time, they will grow and multiply. When you have more grains, you can make larger batches at a time. This recipe will get you started with your first batch.

How to Make Homemade Soda Pop with Kefir Grains

You can also convert milk kefir grains for this recipe. Just don’t use all your kefir grains — set aside 1-2 tablespoons just for this purpose. Also, be aware that the first few ferments will take longer with dairy kefir grains (4-5 days instead of 1-3). After that, they should perform like water kefir grains. (While I have not tried it, I have read that converted dairy kefir grains will poop out over time so I prefer to stick with water kefir grains for making soda pop.)

Don’t wait until it gets hot and you’re tempted to pop open a bottle of HFCS-sweetened root beer. Start making your soda pop now so you’ll have lots on hand for those summer barbecues.

Kefir Soda Pop

Equipment:

Mesh strainer
Quart mason jar — where to buy mason jars
Glass bottles (you can get these at a homebrew store, or reuse old wine or beer bottles, or you can simply store your soda pop in a mason jar in the fridge)
Funnel

Ingredients:

Water kefir grains (1-2 TBS) — where to buy starters
Filtered water (NOT tap water — you’ll kill your kefir grains) — where to buy filtered water
Sugar (1/4 cup ) — I use plain white organic sugar but you can use other forms of sugar such as Sucanat or palm sugar — where to buy sucanat
Molasses (1 tsp) — if you are using refined sugar; you can omit this if you are using Sucanat or palm sugar
Piece of an egg shell (half of the egg shell will do)

Directions:

1. Fill the mason jar 3/4 of the way full with filtered water.

2. Add the sugar, optional molasses, and rinsed egg shell and stir or put a lid on and shake until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the kefir grains.

4. Leave on the counter or in a cupboard at room temperature for 1-3 days (depends on the temperature in your home — the warmer it is, the faster the soda will ferment).

5. You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s nice and bubbly and the taste is only mildly sweet — not like sugar.

6. Strain the kefir grains using the strainer, pouring the liquid into another quart mason jar (or, if you only have one, pour into a bowl and then pour it back into the mason jar).

7. Set the grains aside (or start a new batch of soda in a mason jar — following the instructions above). Discard the egg shell.

8. Add to your soda batch whatever fruit flavorings you like. Use about 1/4 a cup frozen or fresh fruit. I have tried lemon, blueberry, raspberry, pineapple, figs, and raisins. You could also use grapes, cherries, watermelon, ginger, mint, lime, grapefruit — or combinations of any of the above. If you are using lemon, you might also want to add another tablespoon or two of sugar. This is not an exact science — be creative and see what appeals to you.

9. Let ferment a few more days on the counter until it tastes just right and is nice and fizzy.

10. Transfer to bottles using the funnel. Store in the fridge. If you want extra-fizzy pop, cap the bottles and leave them at room temperature for another day, then transfer to fridge.

Note: If using bottles like the kind shown above in the picture, be careful when opening. It can be explosive!

Postscript: This recipe calls for two ferments, one with sugar and the grains and one with the strained fermented water and fruit. To save time, you can do just one ferment — adding the fruit and the sugar on the first go-round. You can also just ferment your kefir grains in fruit juice with a little added sugar. Coconut water is especially wonderful and refreshing. Unless I am using coconut water, which seems to have no ill effects, I prefer to do two ferments because I like to keep my kefir grains pure. (I used pineapple juice once and ended up with these funny little pulpy things in my kefir grains that are still there. I have also heard of people using fruit juices and ending up with purple water kefir grains.)

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays on Food Renegade. Check out Fight Back Fridays for more recipes and stories about sustainable, healthy food.

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{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal August 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Whole Foods in Almaden, CA. has kefir soda on tap, along with kombucha. It’s called Dr. Kefir. I wonder if this is the real deal? Cannot find info. on Google.

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) January 5, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Could you tell me what the difference is between water kefir grains and ordinary kefir grains? Can I just rinse the ones I’ve been using to ferment milk and use them? Thanks!

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cheeseslave January 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

I have heard that you can covert dairy grains to be used for water grains. However, you have to put them in dairy every so often or they poop out. Best to get water kefir grains.

You can find them on my resources page: http://villagegreennetwork.com/marketplace/fermented-food-starters?pid=1” target=”_blank”

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Christine June 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Check out http://www.culturesforhealth.com for lots of accurate information on kefir and water kefir grains. According to them, they are different. You can use milk kefir grains to ferment cow milk or non-dairy milk like coconut but then need to replenish them in cow or goat milk. Water kefir grains are different and used in water or juice.

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Aliyanna January 9, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Christine,

The Cheeseslave is correct. You can use dairy grains for water kefir. I have done it. You do need to replenish them in milk every so often…

I am finding that a lot of folks that write all the how to’s know only what is written or is generally known. Esp those who sell things. If sellers say you can do this and it comes up with an odd strain for some reason (an unclean jar, for example)
they can be held accountable.

Most sellers do not spend a lot of time experimenting, and doing the research for new ideas…they business and interests are in keeping a good supply of what they are selling…if they were experimenting….that might be a huge problem.

I buy from cultures for health and find them to practice good business practices and are nice folks….I am in no way meaning to malign them….all I am saying is that they know the standard…not the possible.

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Home Brewing January 12, 2012 at 3:04 AM

Hey Hi Admin.That was really an Absolute presentation of what possibly can stop somebody from drinking coke or store bought soda pop.I was aware of that soda pop items create obesity but was totally unaware about the problems regarding the paralysis and birth defects and same is the case with junk food items as they are also known as items which increase the obesity related problems.I would really appreciate that you have given all the proofs that would force me to believe on what you have said.

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Lisa February 26, 2012 at 5:16 PM

What role does the eggshell play in the ferment?

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KP March 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM

I am wondering the same thing.

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Stephanie - Epic Beauty Guide April 23, 2012 at 12:04 AM

I am assuming it has to do with minerals, specifically calcium, since there is available calcium in egg shells. Water kefir grains require a more mineralized environment in order to do well. If you live in an area with hard water and have a quality water filtration system to remove chlorine and such (not a salt softener or a reverse osmosis, since both strip the natural minerals from your water), you probably don’t need to add the egg shell.

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Keyweekat January 28, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Instead of eggshell I use a seashell, a cockle shell or pipi shell in fact any flattish white seashell will do. You can use the same shell over and over again until the kefir grains have used it all. I assume the kefir grains use the minerals to grow and any left in the water is for us kefir drinkers :)
it works and is not messy like eggshells.
I use mainly lemon or lime for flavour and add a slice of fresh ginger to the mix.
I would love to make coconut kefir, is there a seperate recipe for that?

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Susan September 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I only use the eggshell about every fourth brew or so. It seems to reinvigorate the grains. Also, I wouldn’t add it until the end – if you add it and then shake it, you break up the egg shell and it’s not pleasant if you like to ever eat the grains (which I do sometimes). I’ve heard of people using bone meal and other shells (above) too.

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Jen September 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM

I just add in a small pinch of Celtic sea salt for the extra minerals, rather than an eggshell.

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andrea March 29, 2012 at 8:53 AM

my kefir mixture has been sitting for 2 days. it’s less sweet but there are no bubbles. any ideas why? (yes, this is andrea who you gave kefir to:) thanks for all your help!

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Susan September 10, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I don’t always get bubble either.

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Mary November 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM

According to Mother Earth News website, “When you first get your grains, they’ll be dehydrated for transport. Follow the directions that come with them, and don’t expect any bubbling action for 3-5 batches. Basically, the first few weeks will just be used to get the grains back to a plump stage. Once they’re ready to get to work, you get to channel your inner non-alcoholic bartender and get mixing!”
Source: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/delicious-and-beneficial-water-kefir-soda-zbcz1306.aspx#ixzz2kvOYo0Pe

Reply

Rachel Salcido April 1, 2012 at 9:28 PM

I just did a round of kefir with coconut water and I ended up with a film and a pile of white bubbles on top. And when I got to my grains they were milky looking. Is that okay. The water was fizzy and very little to no sweetness at all.

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Jen April 6, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Your pics make the kefir soda so clear. I just “found” this a short while ago and ordered my culture….got it up and going, and my first batch is on it’s second ferment. Anyway, it is very, very cloudy… is that how yours is?

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cheeseslave April 6, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Hmm I don’t know. Keep trying. If it tastes good, I’d drink it.

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Susan September 10, 2013 at 2:17 PM

I use brown sugar and molasses and it’s often cloudy too – tastes good. I don’t worry about it!

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Summer April 25, 2012 at 3:57 PM

oh oh oh… I can’t wait to try your healthy soda pop…!!!! looks de-lish and letting us know where to buy the ingredients.

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Misty April 26, 2012 at 1:26 PM

What flavor did you make in the picture? Those look delicious! :)
i have made soda with a ginger culture; and am working on my kefir sodas right now…it would be great if you could share a tried and true recipe for the 2nd ferment stage. I think my kitchen is warmer (in florida) because it seems like longer than a day and it is very tart, almost like vinegar after the 2nd ferment. I do get lots of awesome bubbles though!

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Amanda May 13, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Forgive me as this may be a stupid question but… how do you sanitize your bottles? Do you? Or is it not worth worrying about? Thanks!

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Cariann July 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

This might be a dumb question, but when you mention not using Tap water I assume you are thinking city/ treated water… We are on a rural well where 2 of the hoses are unsoftened water and the rest run through the water softener.
I am very interested in kefir and healthier options for the treats my boys like, so I am going to attend a seminar in September to learn more about using Kefir.

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Carol September 30, 2012 at 7:52 AM

What is the egg shell used for in the recipe and do you need it? I made a batch and just checked mine. There is brown weird floating things in the water. Maybe from the egg shell since it is brown but the water is cloudy and has a yeasty odor to it. Is this normal?

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Linda @ Axiom at Home January 20, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Wow, this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it for the little one. :)

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Corinne January 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I was just wondering, did you strain out the fruit remnants after the second fermentation?

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Aliyanna February 6, 2013 at 3:01 AM

I was wondering why my kefir endedup bitter? I put in raspberries and it was bad…and it happened before when I tried the 2 step ferment…not sure why.

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Candance February 15, 2013 at 7:15 AM

The link for kefir grains leads to a webpage that has not resources to buy the grains. Do you have any other suggestions? I live in Southern California and I am having a hard time finding grains. Thanks for the great post!

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Aliyanna February 15, 2013 at 11:20 AM

try ebay for grains…both water and milk…several are organic and have been selling for years

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Candance February 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Awesome, thank you Aliyanna :)

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Nancy March 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Hi! I have water kefir and I will love to share some because I ended with a lot!!! Just email me and I will be very happy to send you some you just have to pay for the shipping.
Nancyabrahamz@gmail.com

Reply

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and important vitamins like B12 and vitamin E. An important source of non-dairy probiotic
supplement is available in most markets in
the form of cultured coconut milk. Kefir diet is an effective method
of solving many health issues.

Reply

Aliyanna July 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

I would think that making the pro drinks at home would be 10000% better. You are sure that the drinks are live and sure that no additives or preservatives or worse are added. For my family…. If I don’t make it…we just don’t eat it!! Coconut milk kefir is outstanding as is water kefir…we drink that and gluten free rejuvalac. We try to do pro drinks or fermented veggies or both at every meal.

Aliyanna

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Sherelle January 7, 2014 at 2:39 PM

how would you seal up old wine or beer bottles with the kefir soda?
Thanks!
Sherelle

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Kelly January 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Does anyone know a good recipe that doesn’t taste or smell very yeasty?

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Tory January 9, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Hi!
I have water kefir grains and I amattempting to make it fizzy. Do u keep the lid on the mason jar for both the 1st ferment on the counterand the 2nd ferment in the fridge? What about it exploding? I have just used a coffee filter with a rubber band but no bubbles this way. :( plus it just tastes like sugar water. What am I doing wrong? Use the lid both times? Thx!
Tory

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Aliyanna January 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

I use fido jars for the first ferment. And is it ever bubbly!!!! I think it depends on what you ferment the grains in.

I use homemade uncooked grape juice or bottled apple juice and go 1 qt of juice to 3 qts of filtered water. I tried a 50-50 ratio but ended up with it all over….it just gets so happy. If I use store bought juice I do the 50-50 ratio. The store bought juice is less bubbly than the homemade. We don’t do a second ferment…it never has time…the kids drink a gal every day. lol We also do a gal of milk kefir and a gal of
sac boulardii ferment. We have been doing this for years.

Reply

Susan Puckett Smith January 18, 2014 at 6:17 PM

I’m making an assumption that I should keep the lid on the jar while fermenting. This is my first batch of water kefir and I’ve had it on the counter for about 24 hours with the lid on loosely. Not very fizzy. Could you please explain exactly how to store the kefir water while fermenting?

Reply

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Can you use fruit (strawberries) in place of the sugar? My husband is on a ketogenic (extremely Los carb diet) to cure his epilepsy.

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