Luscious Probiotic Lemonade

Luscious Probiotic Lemonade fbLuscious Probiotic Lemonade the name conjures warm summer afternoons on the veranda. But wait it’s a little early to talk about lemonade, it’s the middle of winter. Some of us have snow on the ground.  However, I love lemonade year round.  Lemons in sugar water is very satisfying and thirst quenching. So when I saw that I could take lemonade and kick it up a notch and make a drink that not only was thirst quenching and satisfying, but also good for your overall health, I was totally on board. Enter Luscious Probiotic Lemonade. It’s simple, satisfying and good for you. The probiotics in the lemonade help the digestive system. By aiding and supporting the digestive system with good bacteria, it changes the overall health of your body. People have reported that fermented beverages have helped with joint pain, weight control, their immune system and several other health benefits. To read more about the benefits of adding probiotics to your diet read here. The lemons in lemonade also help detox your system and quench thirst better than water alone. Because of the fermentation process, much of the sugar is absorbed leaving you with an effervescent slightly sweetened lemon water beverage. Much more thirst quenching than a syrupy lemonade.

So does this sound a little intimidating? It is so super easy you won’t believe it! You need a gallon sized jar, a measuring cup, and a wooden spoon.  I used an old glass pickle jar. Pretty basic stuff, I think.

Recipe for Luscious Probiotic Lemonade:

10-12 lemons, you want good-sized juicy ones, peeled and juiced

1-1 1/2 cups sugar

1 c. whey

about 1 gal. of filtered water

Heat 1 c. of water and the sugar. Make sure the sugar is well dissolved and let cool a bit. You don’t have to boil the water. After it has cooled to about room temp put it in the jar and add the filtered water. You want to make sure to use un-chlorinated water. Bottled water, filtered tap water, or you can take a pitcher of tap water and sit it uncovered on your counter for 24 hours. Chlorine can affect your ferment so this is critical. Once the water is added you want to make sure that the water is about room temperature. Add the whey and lemon juice. Give it a good stir and put a good tight lid on it. Let it sit on your countertop for 2-3 days and then enjoy.

See it’s super easy!  I hope you enjoy this easy recipe and introduction into fermenting beverages as much as I have.

Please Note: I have had several questions about whey. Basically whey is the liquid by product of cheese making or straining yogurt. You can learn to make your own here. I purchase mine from a local dairy farm that makes cheese and yogurt for our food co-op. If you don’t have that kind of access you can purchase it here. Unfortunately powdered whey protein is not a good substitute. Thanks for all the great questions!

For more information and recipes regarding fermented beverages, check out some of these great resources:

How to Make Homemade Ginger Ale by The Nourishing Cook

Fermented Orange Juice by Oh Lardy!

Fermented Apple Juice by The Homemade Mommy

Elderflower Soda by And Here We Are

What is Rejuvelac? by The Nourishing Cook

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Luscious Probiotic Lemonade | Naturally Persnickety Mom

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37 thoughts on “Luscious Probiotic Lemonade”

  1. Cristie says:

    Can you use something other than whey? Am avoiding dairy. Thanks!

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:


      That’s a great question! I don’t have a good answer. After doing some research I haven’t found a non-dairy alternative for beverages. I do know that you can substitute extra salt for whey when lacto-fermenting vegetables. However, I don’t know if this would work for beverages. I will do some more research on this subject though! Thanks for the question!

  2. young_mommy91 says:

    I’m all for good stuff and health but when looking at this I see some things that are VERY unhealthy for you. Thanks to Monsanto all sugar is GMO and yes this means cane sugar, secondly. Whey is great I think but what is being fed to the cow? to get that milk then in turn whey is made so like most cows they are fed a GMO corn diet!! …. Disgusting……
    Thirdly, please just always buy organic fruits that have had no pesticides used in there growth. And finally filtered water, I think any water that hasn’t went through a municipal water plant is good that means as soon. As your city obtains water they start treating it with fluoride and bleach that’s right your drinking fluoride and bleach! Very gross…

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      I completely agree with your concerns! I personally used organic lemons, whey from a local dairy that pastures their cows, and I only use GMO free (project verified) organic cane sugar also. I also use filtered water that filters chlorine or I use bottled water. Thank you for bringing up your concerns! They are mine also!

  3. Kirsten says:

    Looks great! Ive never bought whey? Where do you get it and how does it come packaged? And can you use rapadura sugar or do you have to use white sugar? Cant wait to try. Thank you!!!!

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Kirsten, I purchased my whey from a local dairy that provides it to our food co-op. It is liquid in a milk bottle. It is the liquid by product of cheese and strained yogurt. You can make it at home if you make your own yogurt. Rapadura may work, I use organic cane sugar.

  4. Sherry says:

    Question? Why use whey? What part does it play? Could you use the same fermentation process used for kombucha, instead?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      I am researching your answer now. Such a great question. The fermentation process for kombucha is a lot different because of the SCOBY and tea. Whey helps the proper bacteria needed grow by providing the bacteria’s food source. I am still doing some research though. There are many ways to ferment beverages, this is just one of them! Thanks for the question!

  5. Brandee says:

    Hi, today is day three of my lemonade sitting on the countertop. I just tasted it and it tastes like good old lemonade, but not fizzy or bubbly or anything like a typical fermented drink. I used homemade sweet whey to culture it. It is still really sweet like none of the sugar has been consumed by yeast. Is this normal, or should it be bubbly, fizzy and less sweet? We’ll drink it either way because the lemon juice and whey are good for us, but wondering if my whey wasn’t fresh enough or something?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      I would recommend letting it sit a day or two longer. It may not be staying warm enough during this cold time of year. I recommend putting on top of the refrigerator for a day or two. This will be fizzy and less sweet than a traditional lemonade. Sometimes, the fermentation process times will vary on different circumstances. I hope you try again and enjoy!

  6. Marshmallow says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have just made a big batch of homemade yoghurt and I’ve strained of the whey, some of it which has been used to make sauerkraut, and I’m going to use some more to make this! Thanks again 😀

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Your welcome! Thanks for the comment. Please let me know how it turns out!

      1. Marshmallow says:

        I made it, and am sipping on it right now! I made it with lime juice rather than lemon juice (as I had a whole bunch left over from… ahem… margaritas…) and it’s so fantastic. Also, I made it with coconut sugar and it came out a lovely caramel colour.

        I’m going to start on another batch soon because this one isn’t going to last lone – perfect for a New Zealand summer! 😀

  7. JW says:

    Does anyone know if warming up the lemonade after ferment would reduce the beneficial properties? We use warm lemonade for sore throats. Also, it would work to sub honey, if you want to avoid white sugar.

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      I would not recommend substituting honey because of it’s antibacterial properties. You are actually encouraging good bacteria to grow during the fermentation process. If you don’t want to use white sugar I would recommend evaporated cane juice, sucanat, or rapadura as good less-refined substitutes. I use organic, free trade sugar. About warming the lemonade, I think it would be fine to warm slightly (lukewarm temperature). Any warmer and you do start killing some of the beneficial bacteria. However, to soothe a sore throat you probably don’t want it much hotter than that anyway. I wouldn’t boil it.

  8. Amanda says:

    If the sugar is fermented, does that mean the sugar content is lower upon consumption? Or is this still considered a high sugar beverage?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Yes, the sugar content is lower. You will be able to tell because the end product is pleasant tasting, but not very sweet at all.

  9. LynnS says:

    I am new to a lot of this and am wondering about all that sugar. I know something happens during fermentation, but not sure how much sugar is left. Thanks. 🙂

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      The end result beverage is not nearly as sweet as traditional lemonade (which I fix the same way without the fermentation process). The calorie content of fermented beverages is much lower than traditional sodas or other sugar sweetened beverages. The sugar is necessary for the fermentation process. If you are still concerned, you can cut the amount of sugar in half, ferment, and then add a no calorie sweetener to taste.

  10. jo says:

    I don’t use white/cane sugar. Can coconut sugar or maple syrup be substituted instead?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      I had a friend recommend trying coconut sugar. I have no personal experience with it, but would be interested in hearing the results, should you choose to try it!

  11. Sally Inman says:

    What about the sugar, is it used up by fermenting or will it still have a lot of sugar in the finished product?
    I would love to try this but I am diabetic so cannot eat sugar.

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Most of the sugar is eaten in this product. This is much less sweet than traditional lemonade. If you would like you can cut the amount of sugar in half and let it ferment as recommended. The end product will probably be very tart, but then you could sweeten with a zero calorie sweetener like stevia. I am not a nutritionist or medical consultant, but the majority of the sugar is eaten by the fermentation process, but is also necessary so it can’t be left out. Fermented beverages like these have much less calories than a soda.

      1. ellpeedownunder says:

        Sally, please do not prepare this and drink it. There will always be a sugar content left behind and through the fermentation process, the sugar does not disappear. It is converted to alcohol (microbiologists, correct me if I am wrong).
        So, an unknown amount of sugar in the beverage, and conversion to alcohol. both would be on your naughty list, no?

        1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

          You are very correct. While the sugar in this beverage is greatly diminished, there is still some left and there is a small amount of alcohol produced. I am very sensitive to alcohol and have no problems, but I have no health issues. I would definitely consult a healthcare provider if you have any doubts or concerns.

          1. Kelly L. says:

            How much alcohol? So this is not safe for children? I just made a batch and have it sitting out. I’m excited to try it!

          2. NaturallyPersnickety says:

            Once you try it you can decide if it’s right for your children. The alcohol that is produced is very minimal. I am very sensitive to alcohol and haven’t made a batch that I am not comfortable giving my kids and I am funny about that kind of thing. You can water it down for children. Ultimately you are the parent and it is your decision.

  12. Cassandra says:

    I made this recipe on Sunday and I am now ready to start drinking/storing it away. Question though, I have a lot of the white stuff floating on the bottom, and some throughout. It’s not moldy or fuzzy, but is this a good thing? And, do I drink that too, or do I have to scoop that out?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Congratulations! That is from the whey and is totally fine to drink or let settle to the bottom. Don’t shake it because of the carbonation, but you can gently stir it up also. Enjoy!

  13. Ron Owens says:

    Would it be possible to substitute honey for sugar? If so how much?


    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Most of the time honey is not recommended for fermenting. It has antibacterial properties that can inhibit the process. Some people have reported success with coconut sugar, rapadura, or sucanat as an alternative to organic sugar.

  14. Danielle L says:

    Did you figure out if you can make this lemonade without whey? I have fido jars so I can leave them on the counter much longer if necessary.

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Sorry for the delayed response, life seems to get in the way sometimes. After some research I did find a couple of alternatives to whey that you can try- one is water kefir grains and the other is a culture starter by Body Ecology. Both can be found to purchase here: I hope this helps you out and answers your question 🙂

  15. Anna says:

    I made this and when I added my ingredients I had to mix it and take out some extra before adding the lemon and whey. Is it still okay? I have had it sitting on my counter for about three days and I am afraid to open it!? How will I know if it’s done?

  16. Lena Wickman says:

    I left mine on the counter for close to 3 full days , and when I opened it it was covered by green mold. The jar was closed tightly , so that can’t be the reason. Would anyone know why this happened?

    1. NaturallyPersnickety says:

      Did you use filtered water? I know this happens sometimes when things are fermented, I am still learning how to prevent this. Maybe someone else has the answer?

      1. Lena Wickman says:

        I used the water that had gone through the filter under my kitchen sink. Am about to try it again to see if it would turn out better this time.

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