By Beth, Contributing Writer
Water kefir is a lacto-fermented beverage made with water kefir grains and sugar water. You would think that something made of sugar water would be overly sweet but that is not the case at all. The “grains” (called such for their appearance; they’re really a colony of bacteria and yeasts living symbiotically and not grains) feed on the sugar leaving it with an extremely mild sweetness.
We love any sort of kefir. In the cooler months we commonly have milk kefir on hand for it endless list of health benefits. However, the summer in the south it is just too hot! Instead we turn to water kefir, which has many of the same benefits.
The Health Benefits of Water Kefir
It’s a Probiotic
Probiotics are good bacteria that help you keep a healthy gut. While it is thought to be not as strong, it contains a greater number of bacterial strains than are found in kombucha. These good bacteria help us to digest our food, prevent allergies, boost our immune system, and overall keep our body healthy. Since many probiotic supplements are not reliable we choose to get our probiotics through fermented foods – and water kefir is a great way to do that!
That”s right, probiotics help to boost your immune system. This means that you will get sick less often. That”s great as we are headed into back to school season.
Not only is it easy, it’s frugal. You can buy your grains once and use them again and again. It’s very versatile, allowing you to customize the flavors to better suit your families needs. The end result is bubbly making it a great alternative for soda.
How To Make Your Own
To make your own water kefir you will need:
*Non Metal Strainer
I get my grains from Cultures for Health. You can also get your strainer and other materials you might want or need from them.
Chances are your grains will come with directions. This will give you and overall idea of how easy the process is.
To start, I simply add 1/4 cup of sugar to 3-4 cups of water. I then add 1/3 cup of water kefir grains.
We have well water, but if you have tap water, you will want to boil your water first to get rid of the chlorine. (You can also use filtered water.) Just make sure that your water is cooled back down to room temperature before adding your grains.
Next, secure a coffee filter or something else breathable with a rubber band.
Let it culture for 24 to 72 hours depending on your preferred taste. The longer you let it sit, the less sugary it will taste. You can taste test over these days to see which you prefer.
Then you just have to strain it. You can use your grains to start the process again on another batch. With the batch you just made you can now add 100% juice or fruit and flavor it and do a second fermentation. This will allow it to really bubble. After you have added your fruit add secure your lid this time and leave it for 24 to 72 hours. Now drink!
My favorite is to add strawberries. It tastes a lot like sangria.
Do You Drink Water Kefir? What Flavors Do You Enjoy?