This post was most recently updated on March 18th, 2020
Probiotics are becoming all the rage right now. And as they should. Probiotic lemonade is only one of the many probiotics that are super easy to make and much cheaper to make at home than buy in a bottle.
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This probiotic lemonade is a huge hit in our family, and we drink several batches each week over the Summer months!
What are the benefits of probiotics?
There are many documented benefits to probiotics but here are just a few for you:
- Boosting immune system.
- Preventing and treating urinary tract infections.
- Improving digestive function.
- Healing inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS
- Managing and preventing eczema in children.
- Fighting food-borne illnesses.
Can’t we just Buy Probiotic Capsules?
While you can just use purchased capsules, and they are definitely better than nothing, There are some compelling reasons to make your own probiotics at home.
Homemade sauerkraut has more probiotics in a teaspoon of juice than a whole bottle of bought probiotic capsules. THAT is impressive.
Homemade kombucha cost about 1/20th or less than the bought stuff, and the un-refrigerated stuff at home is probably better for you than the cold-stored bought stuff!
Also, nothing is more refreshing than cool, slightly tart, bubbly probiotic lemonade on a hot day!
Even my kids have given this one the big thumbs up.
Now before you complain – yes this recipe contains sugar. BUT the sugar is not for you. It is for the beneficial bacteria in the probiotic lemonade. The longer you leave this recipe in it’s first ferment, the less sugar there will be for you to consume.
You can use sugar alternatives like honey or maple syrup, but it must be actual sugar, not (gross) artificial sweetners, as you will kill the bacteria.
This recipe calls for some active probiotics. There are several things you can use for this. Yes, one of them is juice from fresh, active sauerkraut!
Probiotic starter options for lemonade
You will need 1/2C of ACTIVE starter – it needs to be fresh and preferably not refrigerated yet, as it slows it down and kills off the lactobacteria.
- Strain some fresh yogurt in a cloth or tea towel over a bowl, the resulting whey will be full of lactobateria This is the easiest and most common starter for probiotic lemonade
- Use some juice from a fresh batch of sauerkraut – strain the juice off some before you eat it. Be aware that any spices you add will affect the flavor of the lemonade.
- Water kefir or kombucha can be used as a starter.
- Whey strained off naturally soured raw milk (the same technique as the yogurt.
- Homemade gingerbeer or lemonade from another batch
Whey from making cheese will not work as the bacteria in it need warmth to grow.
If you do not have any of these things then you can add the contents of 2-3 capsules of your favorite probiotic to 1/2 a cup of lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve them and then add these to your probiotic lemonade.
Fizzy and Delicious Probiotic Lemonade Recipe
- 4 Large Lemons, or 6-8 smaller ones
- 3/4 Cup White Sugar
- 2 quarts/liters Water
- 1/2 Cup Active Starter - whey etc
- Grate the rind off of two of the lemons carefully - mind your fingers! Be careful only to get the yellow rind, not the white pith underneath it as it is very bitter.
- Squeeze the juice out of all 4 large (or 6-8 smaller) lemons.
- In a large pot place the rind, juice, sugar and water.
- Bring the pot to the boil and immediately remove it from the heat. Stir it to dissolve the sugar.
- Leave the lemonade to cool down to blood temperature or cooler. mix through the active starter of your choice.
- Pour the lemonade into a large jar, or leave in the stainless steel pot for 3-5 days or up to two weeks (the cooler the room the slower it will ferment). We like it left for about 5 days. Taste it every day after 3 days, once you like how it tastes you can pour it into glass bottles that seal well. I suggest you bottle it *slightly* too sweet, as the bacteria that make the fizz still need some sugar to eat. If you leave it too long it won't fizz.
- Once bottled, place somewhere warm like a counter top with the lids sealed for at least 3 days. Depending on the warmth and the activeness of your starter it could take up to 21 days further to develop a nice fizz.
- To test for fizz, simply open one of the bottles. You will hear and see the bubbles. Pop it into the fridge for a few hours, or pour it on ice and serve immediately.
- Store unopened bottles in a cool place until you want to use them. Keep an eye on them, they may need "burped" intermittently to stop them leaking or breaking your bottles. The longer they are stored the more sour they will become.
Please note: As with all naturally fermented food - if it smells bad, it probably is bad.
Play it safe and don't consume it. Healthy lactobacteria smell sour and slightly fermented.I like this style of glass bottle.
We often will re-use old wine bottles with screw caps too, but they don't always seal well.
Do you make probiotic lemonade at home? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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