Homemade Water Kefir – Real Easy, Real Healthy, Really Tasty!
Have you heard of homemade Water Kefir? Maybe you have been seeing beverages like Kombucha, Kevita or drinks made with Apple Cider Vinegar lining the grocery store shelves lately? Do you ever wonder what the hype is all about with these new fermented drinks? You’re not alone, and I was surprised to find out that these drinks aren’t “new” at all…they’ve been around for centuries, but are only now making their way into mainstream stores.
So what’s the big deal with all these new drinks? Well, probiotics! These naturally fermented drinks are loaded with beneficial bacteria that can help give our immune system a boost, keeping us healthy and happy. Not to mention, they taste delicious!
Kombucha is made with sweet tea, and can have a stronger flavor than some like, and drinks made with apple cider vinegar have a similar “bite.” This is why it’s our recommendation to start with water kefir. Often found in stores under the name “Kevita”, water kefir is made with sugar, water and “grains.” It has a mildly sweet flavor, but takes on the taste of whatever is added to it. A small splash of lemonade makes it taste like…well, lemonade! Drop in a few frozen raspberries and some pineapple and you’ll have a sangria (probiotic) mocktail.
We often serve water kefir to dinner guests without telling them exactly what they’re drinking. Once they’ve fallen in love with the taste, we let them know how good it is for them! It’s usually not long after these visits, we learn our guests are making it themselves.
Fermented beverages are full of benefits. Beyond the probiotics, they’re also more beneficial to our bodies than plain water. Because water is devoid of electrolytes, too much can put unnecessary strain on our kidneys. Furthermore, too much water consumed just before, or during meals can upset proper pH balance in our stomach and interfere with the digestive process. But sipping on a probiotic drink like water kefir during meals can aid digestion because it provides lactic acid and digestive enzymes.
How to Make Water Kefir
Making water kefir at home is a breeze. And unlike buying it at the store, you can make it for mere pennies per serving. Once you’ve procured yourself some kefir grains (a living culture of bacteria and yeast), you simply mix together some sugar and water, add the grains and within 24-48 hours the grains have consumed the sugar, producing a delicious, probiotic beverage.
1/4 cup water kefir grains
8 cups filtered water (divided)
1/2 cup organic sugar
- Boil one cup of water and add ½ cup sugar to a half gallon mason jar.
- Add boiled water to sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Add remaining 7 cups of cold water and stir in water kefir grains.
- Cover loosely with tight knit cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
- Let sit at room temperature (68-76 degrees F is ideal) for 24-48 hours.
- Once kefir has finished fermenting you should see tiny bubbles that float to the top when the jar is moved.
- Using a non-metallic strainer, strain kefir grains out and start a new batch beginning with step one.
- Refrigerate finished water kefir and flavor as you like (we enjoy a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, or a drop or two of lemon or lime essential oil).
If you desire a fizzy, carbonated drink, you can second ferment your water kefir following the instructions found here.
by Kelsey Steffen
After Kelsey and her husband became parents, they began looking at food differently. Studying the teachings of Weston A. Price, they do their best to maintain a traditional diet. There are many “ingredients” to a life Full of Days: nutrition, traditional diet, DIY recipes, essential oils, homemaking, reviews, tips and tricks, money-saving strategies and everyday life. Kelsey is a regular contributor to Mother Earth News (Web & Print), and Attainable Sustainable.