Heard your friends or food bloggers talk about Water Kefir? I'm on the starting line of water kefir making, so I thought you might want to join on with me as I learn the benefits and joys of water kefir! Also known as "healthy soda pop!" Water Kefir is a probiotic rich drink. The kefir grains, seen below, are actually symbiotic cultures of bacteria. Similar benefits to yogurt- but in a fizzy homemade soda!
Why drink Water Kefir? For our immune system! Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut (ie: intestinal tract)? To stay at tip top shape, especially during flu season, we need to be eating and drinking foods rich in probiotics and enzymes. The more probiotics we can take in through diet, the better our immune system can function and fight off pathogens. To stay well- drink and eat more probiotic rich foods!
You Will Need:
- Water Kefir Grains
- Quart jar(s)
- Non-metal Strainer
- 1/3 cup organic sugar (not honey)
- Spring or mineral water
- Dried Fruit (non-sulfured) (click to see how i've made my own)
Rinse your water kefir grains. Please only use a non-metal strainer. If you don't have one, simply place a cloth inside the strainer before placing the water kefir grains in for rinsing. Measure your 1/3 cup sugar and 1Tbslp Rapadura sugar.
Add to a quart jar 1/3 cup organic sugarand 1 Tblsp turbinado sugar and yes it has to be sugar- the kefir grains eat up all the sugar- resulting in growing more kefir grains, so along the way you will eventually have enough grains to make several jars of water kefir.
Turbinado Sugar has more minerals and is less processed than even organic sugar. It feeds the grains better, but it's also coarser in texture so it's best not to use all of the sugar as this type or there will be sugar chunks remaining in the jar.
Fill up your jar with room temperature filtered or spring water. Please avoid using chlorinated water, as this will limit the kefir grains growth and may even kill them. You also need to make sure your water has minerals in it, you can add a clean washed and dried (pastured) egg shell to the water for a boost of minerals. The grains need minerals to survive (and it's better for you this way!) I've found a source for spring water, and you can find one too!
Then, add your rinsed water kefir grains to the sugar and water mixture in the jar.
Here's what they'll look like on the bottom of the jar- yum sugar! But it's for the water kefir grains not you!
To add flavor, and help the kefir grains multiply, you want to add some dried fruit. The first way I learned, was to add dried apple (only a few pieces) to the jar. This results in something similar to Apple Soda! I've also used dried peaches, for peach soda! Apple is my favorite! Other's prefer to add dried cherries, or other fruits- just make sure they are not sulfur treated dried fruits. Jenni at Nourished Kitchen, prefers to use lemons, raisins and ginger in her water kefir. I would recommend only using lemon, after you have experience with making water kefir a few times, and have a backup supply of water grains.
Water Kefir is a great alternative to soda pops. It might take a few tastes or batches to get your tastebuds used to this alternative fizzy drink! When I made it for the first time, it was a sweet treat to me, as I rarely consume sodas, which are detrimental to health and blood sugar levels. For more info about Water Kefir as an alternative to soda, you can visit Cheeseslave for her water kefir info.
You'll need to keep it in a jar covered with a cloth for at least 24 hours. I then place a lid on it and put it in the fridge. It then builds up CO2 with the lid on, and becomes fizzy like soda. If you prefer, you can also place a lid on and leave it on the counter for an extra day. I'd rather not do this step because we prefer it not very fizzy. You can later drain your grains out, or leave them in the jar. Keep them in the fridge in some sugar solution to keep them alive until your next batch!
What are some of your experiences with water kefir? Have you made it? What flavors do you like? What have you tried that didn't work?
This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade