Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grape Vanilla Water Kefir Soda (GAPS-legal, gluten-free)

Water kefir is a delicious beverage that you can make at home.  It is made using water, a sweetener, and kefir grains (which are small clumps of beneficial yeast and bacteria). The kefir grains consume the sweetener and infuse the water with probiotics. 

Water kefir grains are on sale 20% off at Cultures for HealthUse code WKG before June 20th. (If you use the link, not only will you get 20% off, but I will also earn 10% as an affiliate!) 

While some people like to use white sugar for kefir, I prefer to use rapadura.  This gives the finished brew a nice flavor with a hint of molasses.  To make flavored water kefir soda, you just add some flavoring after the initial fermentation is complete and allow the soda to ferment for one additional day on the counter.  I find that both plain and flavored water kefir are much tastier if you add a generous amount of fresh lemon or lime juice to each glass. 

Grape Vanilla Water Kefir Soda
LEFT: finished water kefir; RIGHT: rapadura water before fermentation
For the initial fermentation:
Combine rapadura and water in a quart mason jar.  Stir until rapadura is dissolved.  Then add kefir grains.  Put a lid on the jar and let it sit on the counter for 1-2 days (depending on how warm your house is and how active your grains are).  The water kefir will be finished when the liquid changes color from a dark brown to a light orangey-brown, as shown in the picture.  Finished water kefir will taste mildly sweet. Remove the grains before proceeding to the second fermentation.  Do not use metal utensils as kefir grains should never come into contact with metal.

For the second fermentation:
  • Small handful raisins, chopped
  • 1/3 of a vanilla bean pod, sliced lengthwise and scraped to release the vanilla beans
  • Fresh lemon or lime juice (optional, but highly recommended!)
Add the raisins and vanilla to the water kefir.  Put a tight-fitting lid on it, and allow to sit on the counter for about 24 hours.  Then transfer to the fridge to cool.  The resulting soda beverage will be slightly fizzy and delicious!

If desired, you can strain the soda to remove the raisins and vanilla.  I like to leave them in, as they continue to add flavor while the soda is in the fridge. You can also add a large squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to each glass as you drink it.  I love to use juice from half of a lemon or lime in each glass of water kefir; simply delicious!   

For more information on water kefir, visit see the Water Kefir FAQs at Cultures for Health.

What is your favorite way to flavor water kefir?

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!


Anonymous said...

I did something similar before, but my kefir doesn't become carbonated at all. What could be wrong?

Sarah Smith said...

My kefir turns out slightly carbonated after the first fermentation, and then gets much more so during the second fermentation. I think the key is making sure you use a very tight lid. For me, plastic lids won't work, but it will get carbonated if I use a 2-piece metal canning lid.

Tressa said...

Can your water kefir grains go bad? My last couple batches have tasted very "rotten", not the usual tartness.

Sarah Smith said...

I hear they can go bad, although I've never had that problem. Mine sat untouched in the fridge for years; I didn't even feed them any fresh sweetener. And they're still going strong.

I did once try putting in orange juice during the first ferment, and the grains starting making very slimy thick kefir. So I spent a couple weeks giving them fresh rapadura, letting them rest in the fridge a few days before each ferment. That worked and got them back to good working order. Perhaps you could try the same thing.

Anonymous said...

try doing a second ferment with a lil organic grape juice for a wicked fizz. and ferment it for 24-36 hours.

Anonymous said...

i use just a regular bottle such as store bought kombucha bottle that is glass with a plastic cap and the fizz works for me

Unknown said...

Is water kefir legal on GAPS, just wondering about the sugar or rapadura. And what quantity of kefir grains do you need for your recipe above? Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

It should be GAPS-legal if you make sure to ferment it long enough for the grains to consume all of the sugar. If it tastes sweet, then let it ferment longer.

The amount of kefir grains can vary; it just takes longer to be done with less grains and less time with more grains.

Brandy said...

Thank you for your wonderful posts! I love your recipes. I started consuming milk kefir, water kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented foods in moderate amounts. I've noticed that my mouth is very acidic tasting and my gums are irritated. Do you have any suggestions on how I can reduce this acidity in my mouth without giving up these wonderful foods? (BTW, I wasn't sure if it was the fermented foods that was causing this until I stopped consuming them and then resumed. It is definitely the cause.) I am currently trying to follow the GAPS diet due to digestive issues but have found this to be a significant problem for me.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Brandy,
Sorry, but I've never experienced that or even heard of it happening! Maybe brushing with a tiny bit of baking soda would help?? Good luck!