Make-Your-Own All Natural Soda Alternative

Most of us know that soda is bad for us.  Calcium leeching from our bones, too much sugar, that kind of thing.  And most of us drink it anyway.  I’ve shared before how Coke was one of the hardest things for me to give up.

The drink you see in the glass above is a healthy, all-natural, carbonated alternative that I make at home!  It takes about 5 minutes a day to set up a new, quart-size batch.  I can also flavor it all sorts of ways, so no two are just alike.  My husband loves it and drinks about a quart a day.

Water kefir is a fermented beverage filled with probiotics.  Probiotics are vital because a whopping 80% of our immune cells reside in our gut!  Kefir is an excellent way to keep our immune system strong.

Water kefir is made from water kefir grains, pictured below.  (Sorry they’re a bit difficult to see.)

I obtained my kefir grains on ebay, but you can also get them from Cultures For Health, or from a friend.  You can use the kefir grains over and over again, so it’s incredibly budget-friendly.

To make water kefir:

1. Heat about 1/2c filtered water on the stove.  Dissolve about 1/4c organic sugar in the water and let cool.  (Hot water will kill the kefir grains.)

2. Combine 1t molasses, juice from 1/2 a lemon, and the sugar water in a quart jar.

3. Fill up the rest of the jar with filtered water.

4. Add kefir grains and put the lid on the jar.  Allow to ferment for 24 hours or so on your counter-top.  It becomes less sweet the longer you allow it to ferment.

First ferment

Second ferment: Now is your opportunity to flavor your kefir.  There are SO many different ways to flavor kefir.  I’ve only played with a couple so far.  Feel free to experiment!

1.  Strain out water kefir grains and repeat steps for the first ferment to start another batch.

2.  Add 1 tsp of vanilla if you’d like cream soda water kefir, or add blueberries, raspberries, or whatever sounds good to you.

3. Close the lid on your jar and allow it to ferment for another 12 hours on your counter-top.   After this point, I move it to the refrigerator so we can drink it cold.  It will probably be carbonated by this point, but that doesn’t always happen.

fermenting with blueberries

Enjoy your new, good-for-you alternative to soda!

Have you tried water kefir?  What are your favorite ways to flavor it?

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  1. says

    I love water kefir, Sarah. :) I killed my grains when we moved a few months ago, but I am so ready to get some more and start it back up again – I miss it!

    I’ve never tried it with molasses or lemon juice – just the sugar. I’ll have to give that a try once I get my new grains.

    Your instructions for making it are great. I would love for you to come link them up to my “Make-It Yourself Monday” :)

  2. says

    Okay, I LOVE this idea! I found this through the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways bloghop. I have never heard of this, and I think I might have to try this because my husband and I want to drink soda way more than we should, even though we know all the negative health effects. Thank you so much for sharing-I’ll let you know how it goes when I try it! :)

  3. says

    Sarah, thank you very much for placing this post at Natural Mothers Network’s linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it’s been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x pS: haven’t found the time this week to get more kefir grains, but plan to over the weekend and will let you know which flavor I go for!

  4. says

    Wow, this sounds supremely healthy and delicious. But I am curious: does it always come out tasting fizzy, like a soda? I think that is the primary reason I am still addicted to soda…the carbonation. Going to go order some water kefir grains now!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Mare, I wouldn’t say it always comes out fizzy. But 99% of the time, it does! The first time I made it, it wasn’t fizzy, but I think my grains were getting “warmed up”. The fizziness has increased as I make more batches and now it’s super fizzy!

  5. Angela says

    Does anyone know what is the best temperature is for water kefir? I tried them last summer and I think my house was too warm (Arizona in the summer). They smelled terrible. I tried some trouble shooting and still the next batch was the same. So I gave up… I want to try again but I think I need a way to keep them cooler or something. Any tips would be wonderful.