:: Water Kefir – Healthy Alternative To Soda And Juice ::
It’s absolutely overwhelming to walk down the beverage aisle at the grocery store! We have more options available to us than we could ever need! And don’t get me started on ingredients.
But sometimes it IS nice to have something besides water! (We are a family of water drinkers – rarely do we have anything else on hand.) And we’ve gotten used to that. When we venture out for a meal in a restaurant we all enjoy having other options available and it’s more like a treat.
Let’s start at the beginning just in case you’re reading about water kefir for the first time!
Water kefir is made from culturing a mixture of water and sugar with water kefir grains. The end result is a refreshing, fizzy, fruity beverage; once the first ‘ferment’ is done, typically juice or some type of fruit content is added for the final ferment.
But What Are Water Kefir Grains???
Weird, right? Don’t they look funky? They kind of ARE! It’s just something you don’t see everyday. Water kefir grains are like little colonies of loads of beneficial bacteria and yeast strains all living in harmony! They are called grains only due to their appearance. The bacteria and yeast feed on the dissolved sugar in the water creating a probiotic drink! Same concept with Milk Kefir <click to learn how to culture your own!
Water kefir is light and sparkling and just plain lovely! The probiotic content isn’t as concentrated as milk kefir, but when you taste it, you won’t have any trouble drinking enough to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria and yeast in your digestive system!
Water Kefir Grains <use this link to buy water kefir grains! And once you start culturing your water, you’ll find over time your grains will multiply! Give some to a friend! – or they can be fed to chickens, goats… I know it sounds strange but it’s a super healthy little snack for them! They love it!
How is the culturing done?
Your starter water kefir grains will amount to over 2 Tbsp. Place 1/4 cup sugar in a clean quart mason jar, add enough very hot water to dissolve the sugar, and once it’s dissolved, add enough cold water to almost fill the jar and bring it to room temperature (very important the water not be warm as this can kill your new kefir friends!). Next add your strained grains, cover with a cloth or coffee filter, and leave at room temperature for 48 hours.
After the 48 hours, the whole process is begun again for a new batch of water. The water that just got done culturing is ready for its second ferment (anywhere from 3-7 days) at room temperature with added fruit juice and the lid to your mason jar. Sealing the jar is what helps also build the ‘fizz’. There are many different recipes out there for different tasting kefir, but I have found we like to add 1/4 cup apple juice and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. It’s very refreshing!
Just a brief disclaimer… There are many people that believe strongly in using organic sugar and filtered water. I use my tap water as I have a well and not municipal water that is treated. Treated water would impede the culture and even kill the bacteria and yeast. And I use regular sugar. *gasp! Yep. More power to ya if you can keep yourself supplied in natural sweeteners and organic products but I cannot and haven’t had any trouble with the culturing.
Any thoughts? Have you tried water kefir? My next attempt will be using fresh ginger… I can’t wait!