I Drink Soda Everyday (Water Kefir Basics)
About a year-and-a-half ago I began making water kefir and experimenting with different flavors. My children eagerly (well, some more than others) taste test all my concoctions!
Water kefir is a fermented drink cultured with kefir grains. These grains are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The strains are held together in what is known as a polysaccharide matrix. They feed off of sugar and multiply. The result is a probiotic, fizzy drink that is healthy and beneficial to drink daily. Adding probiotic foods to your diet will help heal the gut and keep it healthy. *Digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and yeast infections.
Making water kefir is very easy. The first time I made it I purchased my grains dehydrated from Cultures for Health and rehydrated them. (I highly recommend signing up for their free newsletter. They are offering a free kefir recipe book download to subscribers.)
Another way to get grains is from a friend. They multiply quickly so your kefir making friends will be looking for new homes for their extras.
Here’s a list of everything you will need for the first ferment:
Water Kefir Grains, quart size ball jar with sprouting lid or plastic strainer (metal negatively affects the grains), large measuring cup, filtered water (chlorine kills the grains), liquid minerals (optional), organic raisins or other organic dried fruit (sulfur from non-organic dried fruit kills the grains), sucanat or organic evaporated cane sugar.
To make one quart of water kefir: In the quart jar or measuring cup, mix 1/4 cup sucanat or evaporated cane sugar with some warm filtered water and dissolve.
Fill with cool water about an inch from the top (if working with the ball jar).
As long as the water is no more than lukewarm, add the kefir grains (if working with dehydrated grains, follow the instructions on package).
Place the lid on the jar and let sit on the counter for 24-48 hours. I usually open the lid once during the ferment to let it “burp”. The fizz produced by the fermentation process causes pressure to build up in the jar and it’s best to release it.
For the second ferment:
This is where you get to flavor your water kefir. It’s the fun part! I like to use frozen fruit unless I am making lemon-lime flavored kefir. The frozen fruit seems to infuse the water better than fresh.
Open the jar and take the floating now rehydrated fruit out with a spoon. Using your sprouting lid or strainer, strain the kefir into your measuring cup or another glass jar and keep the grains in the original jar. No need to rinse them between uses.
Place a few pieces of your fruit of choice into the water kefir and add a few more raisins if you would like.( Some of our favorites are pineapple-mango, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and blueberry.)
Sometimes I add a pinch of baking soda to help increase the fizz. Cover and leave on the counter for another 24 hours or longer if you like a more sour kefir.
When the second ferment is to your liking, strain out the fruit and store in the refrigerator. The water kefir will become more fizzy with time so be sure to let it “burp” now and then if you store it for any length of time. I drink mine frequently but if you don’t, it will keep in the fridge for at least a few weeks.
That’s it! Very simple and you will never miss conventional soda again! Everyone I have met that does water kefir has their own method that works for them. I encourage you to find what works for you and stick with it.
*I am not a doctor. Please see you healthcare provider for medical advice.
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Sarah is a wife, mom of 4, farm owner, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an Master Herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and is a Clinical/Functional Nutritionist and Advanced Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioner at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).