How to Make Homemade Soda
So, even though as a teen I consumed mountain dew like it was going out of style, as an adult I have never been a soda drinker. When we go to birthday parties, I give my kids sprite mixed half and half with water and they think it’s amazing. So last Fall I started making my own fermented beverages, namely kombucha and kefir water. The kombucha was a hit with my husband, but the kids really enjoy the kefir water or “homemade soda” as they affectionately call it. We have experimented and made a variety of flavors including ginger ale, grape, strawberry lemonade, cranberry maple, apple and raspberry. We love it, because it is refreshing and delicious, but also full of pro-biotics, b-vitamins, electrolytes and is very low in sugar.
To make this delicious, healthy beverage, you have to start with the water kefir grains (for a good source of water kefir grains, click here). The name is deceiving as they aren’t made of grain, but are granules of soft, rubbery cultures. I put the grains in a jar with 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of sugar. This is what they will feed on during the fermentation process. If you are on a low sugar diet, don’t worry, because the kefir will consume more than 80% of the sugars you feed them.
Then I fill my jar up the rest of the way with de-chlorinated water (since I don’t have a water filter I have a gallon jug I fill with tap water and let it sit out for 24 hours). I add some dried fruit (must be unsulphured), sometimes half a lemon and sometimes calcium or magnesium (the grains like minerals). Then I seal the jar and let it sit out on the counter for 24 to 48 hours.
During this time the grains will float around, rising up and falling down. Bubbles will form and it will be active. Fun to keep an eye on. After this first ferment of 24 to 48 hours I strain out the kefir grains and either start a new batch with them or put them in the fridge to hibernate. Depending on what kind of “soda” I want to make this is the point where I add flavor before the second ferment. Fruit juice really helps it carbonate and is my kids favorite. Or if I want ginger ale I grate ginger and add and fill up a cloth tea bag with it. After adding my desired flavors I bottle it and leave it on the counter for another 24 hours for a second ferment. If I use pop-top bottle that can hold pressure, the fruit flavored sodas get quite carbonated. These are the bottles I use:
Although if I want to add chunks of fresh fruit I use these big jars instead:
After the second ferment, I put the finished product in the fridge to chill. We love this and drink it all the time. It’s a great way to consume lots of pro-biotics and populate your gut with “good guys”. Kefir has more beneficial bacteria strains than yogurt, so, when you first start drinking it, take it slow. If you don’t have a lot of pro-biotics in your diet now, you may experience some uncomfortable symptoms as the new bacterias get settled in and make themselves at home. But this is a good thing, because once there, they improve digestion and boost your immune system. The types of homemade kefir “soda” you can make are limited only by your imagination, so have fun! If you come up with any good recipes, please share them with me!
Wanna join our conversation on Facebook! Come join my fermented foods group.
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am just a mom who shares what works for me!
December 12, 2013 @ 12:16 am
I would love to get some extras if you have them! Can you use them in milk too or only for water?
December 12, 2013 @ 4:51 am
I have extra. The milk kefir is a different strain from water kefir. I have both, but only do local shares, I don’t mail it. But some people do.
January 15, 2014 @ 5:03 am
Where do you buy your jars and bottles.
January 15, 2014 @ 5:37 pm
This is the set I got started with: http://amzn.to/1iVIYvn, you just want to make sure you get something airtight. My preference is to do the first ferment in the large jars and then get this kind for the second ferment once the kefir grains have been strained out: http://amzn.to/1j7ARyy
January 26, 2014 @ 2:42 am
Hi. When you add chunks of fresh fruit for the second fermentation, do you keep the kefir grains in? I have found that lemon and fresh fruit tend to make my second fermentation a bit slimy?
January 26, 2014 @ 1:04 pm
I strain the kefir grains out for the second ferment. Sometimes as a reaction between fruit sugars and the bacterias it will get slimy and in that case its best to toss the kefir water and start over. It should only have he consistency of water, nothing else. Bubbles and carbonation are normal, but thickening is not. This just happened to a batch of mine that I put pomegranate juice in. Great question!
March 1, 2015 @ 2:40 am
Second ferment, as far as I understand is another way of saying after you remove the grains 😉
January 26, 2014 @ 4:27 am
sometimes calcium or magnesium-
Not sure what that is exactly and where would I find it?
January 26, 2014 @ 1:12 pm
There are lots of ways to supplement the kefir water with minerals. Some people use carefully cleaned, ground up eggshells for the calcium. Molasses also contains a lot of minerals, although adding it affects the flavor a lot. If you are looking for magnesium flakes, or coral (a great source of calcium) a good source is here: http://www.cheerfullyimperfect.com/supplements (affiliate link).
February 19, 2014 @ 3:27 pm
How are you storing your water kefir crystals in the refrigerator? How much volume of water and crystals are you using for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar and your Mom adds raisins and strains all out for the 2nd ferment…?
February 19, 2014 @ 4:18 pm
I only store the water kefir grains (crystals) in the fridge if I am not using them. The rest of the time I keep them fermenting away. I sometimes use raisins, but personally I prefer a larger dried fruit (like figs), because I don’t like fishing through for all the raisins… I am lazy, lol! And yes, I strain everything out for the second ferment.
February 19, 2014 @ 4:29 pm
Again, how do you store in the refrigerator, when not using? And, how much volume/measure of water and crystals to the amount of sugar, when fermenting the first time? Sugar, also, the second time?
February 20, 2014 @ 2:33 pm
I strain out the grains and put them in unchlorinated water (just enough to cover them) in a small jar in the fridge. If I think they are going to be there more than a few days I will also put a TBSP or two of sugar with them. I don’t use sugar the second time. I mix in half to 3/4 a cup of juice then do the second ferment.
February 20, 2014 @ 10:42 pm
When you were saying in the 1st ferment to use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar, what was the volume/measure of water and grains to match with…?
Sparking Probiotic Cherry Soda | Homemade Mommy
April 29, 2014 @ 2:27 am
[…] kefir sodas, you need to have starter cultures and follow the instructions for the first ferment of homemade soda. Following these instructions beginning with the second […]
May 2, 2014 @ 8:18 pm
Hi! I was unable to follow the link to buy the water kefir grains? I kept on clicking on it and it just takes me around in a circle to the same page? I would Love to make this!
May 2, 2014 @ 9:54 pm
So sorry! The company I was linking to is no longer a good option. I need to update it. Just a sec.
Homemade pickled daikon radishes -lindsaydahl.com
May 12, 2014 @ 9:05 pm
[…] Homemade fermented soda by Cheerfully Imperfect […]
Kombucha Recipe and Health Benefits • Mind Body Oasis
June 8, 2014 @ 4:02 am
[…] 3.2.2708 You might also like this post on Making Homemade Fermented Soda. […]
February 9, 2015 @ 8:11 pm
FYI the link provided above for water keifer grains has horrible reviews. Is there another vendor you can recommend?
February 10, 2015 @ 5:51 am
Thanks for pointing that out. I updated the link.
March 14, 2015 @ 9:06 pm
Thank you for the great ideas. I only have kefir stater powder would that work with this recipe?
Thank you for your time!
March 15, 2015 @ 5:23 pm
No, I don’t think it is the same. Usually the starter powder is for milk kefir.
June 24, 2015 @ 7:01 pm
Do you sterilise your jars / bottles?
June 24, 2015 @ 7:44 pm
No, I just wash them normally.
April 20, 2016 @ 4:35 pm
I use my homemade vinegar mother for this.
April 20, 2016 @ 10:38 pm
That’s a brilliant idea!
June 17, 2017 @ 7:09 pm
What’s the best way to store water kefir grains in the freezer? Thanks!
August 4, 2017 @ 7:48 pm
I have never frozen mine.
September 28, 2017 @ 9:02 pm
I love that you’re making your own soda. Its so fun to imagine all the different flavors you can customize and how you can tailor the soda to meet your flavor needs. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I cannot wait to try this at home.
Soda Alternatives For This Summer - Easy and Healthy Recipes
May 20, 2019 @ 5:21 am
[…] Check the recipe. […]
34 Water Kefir Recipes You Probably Haven’t Tried | Edible Alchemy
February 26, 2021 @ 4:48 pm
[…] Get a few water kefir grains and some fruit and you are pretty much good to go when it comes to delicious water kefir recipes. Weather you have lots of little experience with water kefir, this is a great place to get inspired. Check out the recipe over at cheerfullyimperfect.com. […]