Orange Kefir: Bubbly Sunshine

Our whole family’s into this stuff. It makes us happy–it tastes like orange soda SHOULD taste! And our guts are happy too. Here’s some secrets for making a great “natural orange soda”- delicious!

Grateful-Table-Kefir-Orange-SodaAdd this orange mix to the second ferment of kefir, when putting into bottles. It will add  more sweetener for the brew to feed on, to build up the carbon dioxide. (Ya know, AKA fizz!)

When I first started making “water kefir” a few years back, I was very enthusiastic. I juiced the plentiful Concord grapes I’d harvested that summer, and froze ice-cubes of the juice, to add to my brews. Ditto for the apples we got off our tree. Couldn’t eat that many apples as-is, but the juice turned the overabundance of fruit sugar into more probiotics. It was great!

For awhile, I was also into buying fresh ginger. I would cut it into match-stick sizes, rolling up portions in aluminum foil for the freezer, so I’d also have the makings on hand for Kefir Ginger Ale. If I wasn’t adding any other sweet thing, I found it best to bottle the “2nd ferment” kefir while it was still somewhat sweet, so some of that sweetness would feed the carbonation.For more ginger zip, I started juicing the fresh ginger, freezing ice-cubes of that potent, zesty juice, for future brews. That was an exciting drink!

As with many things, I started looking for an easier way out. I buy pomegranate juice when I can- it makes a wonderful addition to kefir or kombucha. And I like having organic black cherry concentrate and tart cherry concentrate on hand, since it keeps well. If nothing else, I’ll use that for flavoring and sweetening the 2nd ferment.

However! Orange seems to be kefir’s very favorite thing to feed on. So now I grab some nice organic oranges, processing the peel, and adding orange juice and sugar to it. I make a lot of this “orange concentrate” at a time, and it flavors many batches of kefir. I can make a bunch of the concentrate at a time, since it keeps about a month in the fridge. (Sometimes I freeze an extra jar of it too.)

Oh, by the way, kombucha just doesn’t like citrus. So keep this stuff for kefir. Happy brewing!

INGREDIENTS

  • Peel from 3 organic oranges
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • Juice from 3 oranges
  • 12 oz. frozen organic orange juice concentrate

PREPARATION

Process the peel from 3 oranges in a Vitamix or other blender, until fine. (Or, zest the old-fashioned way, by hand.) Use: > Peel from 3 oranges

Add the sugar, process again: > 3/4 c. sugar

Add the last two ingredients, mixing well: > Juice from 3 oranges > 12 oz. orange juice concentrate

Store in glass jar in fridge. Use about 1/2 c. or so per bottle.

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