So, a few weeks ago, my husband came home with these little cute things (thanks to his co-worker). (I guess these Kefir grains are hard to come by--but it seems like there are people out there who just pass them along--keep reading and maybe you can get some too!)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
DIY: Homemade "Soda" or "Fizzy Juice"
So did the title of my post peek your interest? I hope so! When I first heard about Kefir Grains and using them to make soda from my husband's co-worker, I thought that sounds interesting and a bit weird. We don't give our kids juice (well very rarely) or soda and only my husband drinks diet, caffeine free soda (I'm still trying to get him to kick the habit), but we thought we'd give home "brewing" a try, as a nice, healthy alternative to the usual water and milk we drink in our home. "So what the heck are Kefir Grains" you ask? Well, I'm not quite sure where they come from, but they are healthy little bacteria--kinda like the bacteria in yogurt--that have those things called probiotics in them. Those things that help keep you "regular." You can read more about it at Wikipedia. Also, this woman, The Cheeseslave, blogs about it here.
She writes: "Enter homemade soda pop — made 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."
Our very own jar of water Kefir Grains to get us started on our very own home science project of making soda or "Fizzy Juice" as I like to call it.
These are what they look like when they are out of the water, but "hydrated."
So, we started our science project(s) with the help of my husband's friend and this is the recipe we are following. But, I have also tried the one found here, which is pretty similar. The website I just referenced has a lot of cool, helpful information about all this. And of course, I have tried some of my own adjustments as well over the past few weeks making our own "soda/juice" as my son calls it. But I will stick with the facts that I received as I have been told it is an "exact science." (Hahahaha!)
1. You will need several quart size Mason jars (I found them at Walmart) with plastic lids to get you started. You cannot use any metal/silver stuff in this whole process. Or you can use a 1/2 gallon size glass container or Mason jar. (This recipe will be for if you use a 1/2 gallon container)
2. 1 cup of hydrated Kefir Grains
3. 1/2 cup Organic sugar
4. 1 teaspoon black strap unsulphured Molasses
5. 6 cups un-chlorinated water (thankfully we have well-water here)
6. 1/4 teaspoon clean, sterilized crushed egg shell (or 1/2 whole egg shell)
(If using pieces of egg shell, wrap them in a sterile 4x4 square gauze pad and tie them up to place them in the liquid)
7. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
First dissolve the sugar in the jar in a small amount of the warm/hot water. Make sure all sugar is dissolve and then add the remaining water (cool or room temperature) to the jar. Be sure the water has cooled completely before adding the Kefir grains as they are very, very fragile. I killed some already.
Next, add the Molasses, baking soda, and egg shell. Stir these ingredients and finally add the Kefir grains last. Give a quick stir with a wooden spoon. Cover loosely with the plastic lid, or use a coffee filter with a rubber band.
Let ferment at room temperature for 48 hours (no longer than 72 hours). After the 2-3 days, drain off the liquid into a clean jar, and add your desired flavors and ferment for one more day. I have tried 1 tsp. pure vanilla (to make "cream soda"), frozen blueberries, dried cranberries, frozen mixed berries, and just left it plain (which actually tastes good too). If using fruit, use about 1/4 cup or so. If frozen or fresh fruit is used, you must change it after 24 hours.
Here is a picture of all the varieties we have tried already. We have enjoyed the blueberry juice/soda the best.
See the "fizz"?!?!?
This is our blueberry soda.
So, there you have it. I am still learning about all this, but here's what I can share with you at this point. Are you interested in trying to make your own, healthy juice/soda? Well, if you are in my area, I have some extra Kefir grains I can give you. Don't bother buying them online. That would be silly. They multiply like crazy and my original cup has now turned into about 5 cups and I am not quite sure what to do with them. I would be happy to share them with you. Let me know.