Soda’s not healthy — we all know that, right? Most commercial sodas are full of corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and so on. There are better brands, sweetened with cane sugar or even stevia, but in my opinion, these should still be an occasional treat, and not something that you’d serve daily.
But this recipe isn’t full of sugar. And it isn’t unhealthy. In fact, it’s actually probiotic, and yes, you can serve it daily! You actually should serve it daily!
That’s pretty cool. Healthy “soda!” (Because it’s not really soda.)
What am I talking about?
Strawberry Lemonade Natural Soda
You may or may not have heard of this — water kefir. It’s a specific type of culture, a symbiotic relationship of bacteria and yeasts (like kombucha, but different strains). The strains in kefir may actually help re-colonize your gut, which so many people need these days. Water kefir also has a very mild, pleasantly sweet and sour sort of flavor, which many people enjoy. When prepared correctly, it’s fizzy, too, much like soda.
Water kefir is very easy to make. Really! For best results, it needs to be fed consistently (like any ferment), but it doesn’t take much time at all. And, because of its generally mild flavor, it can be flavored many different ways easily.
I used to really enjoy fruit-flavored sodas, so that’s what I’ve chosen for my natural soda.
To make natural soda, you will need:
- 1 – 2 tbsp. water kefir grains (buy here)
- 1/4 c. organic sugar
- 1 quart filtered water
- 5 – 6 small strawberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
Step 1: Mix all the ingredients in a quart-sized glass jar, until the sugar is dissolved. Put a lid on it and set it in a warm place (70 – 75 degrees).
Step 2: Let this sit for 24 hours.
Step 3: Strain the liquid into two 16-oz. bottles. Add 2 – 3 small strawberries to each bottle, plus half the lemon juice. Put the caps on tightly.
Step 4: Re-start the water kefir as in step 1 (more water, sugar, and the water kefir grains — they should grow and will be good indefinitely as long as you use them regularly).
Step 5: Let the bottled kefir sit on the counter for 1 – 2 days. Transfer to the fridge. When you are ready to enjoy, open over the sink, because it may be very bubbly and could make a mess! It’s simple, yummy, natural soda!
If you are not used to consuming probiotic supplements or foods, please start slowly with this. It may cause headaches or stomachaches as the probiotics can cause bad bacteria to die off. Once you are used to it, you can drink 1 – 2 bottles per day, if you want. This is perfectly safe for children over a year old, but again, start slowly. Our children really enjoy this and kombucha. Feel free to get creative with the flavors, and add whatever juice or whole fruit that you want. Don’t let the idea of a “ferment” stop you — this is truly easy to make.
This is one of the ways that I’m increasing my family’s quality of nutrition while lowering costs. You can’t buy water kefir at a store at all, and similar sorts of drinks run $3 – $4 for a 16-oz. bottle. Probiotic supplements are also pretty expensive (and most supplements would come out of our grocery budget).
Next week, I’ll be sharing a week-long series on the nitty-gritty of how I’m increasing my family’s nutrition while lowering our grocery budget. I’ll be recommending a great resource to get you started on that process — you won’t want to miss this. I’ll help you lower your budget by up to 40% while feeding your family better quality food than ever. Starts April 20!