I first heard about kefir about 5 years ago when I went to Vanuatu visit friends. There, I tried what our friend calls the ‘special juice’. She would give to her then 2 year old and he would love it! It was her way to make him have some fermented food in his diet. I was intrigued and loved the taste. Sour-ish like kombucha but still a little sweet.
A few years later and I finally got the interest to ‘brew’ my own kefir at home. I started looking at how to get my hands on some kefir grains. And I was quick to realise it was a lot harder than expected.
For starters, I found out it’s really hard to find water kefir. See, kefir is a fermented drink made with a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’ according to Wikipedia. It’s liked as the same type of drink as kombucha and it’s hailed for its positive affect on gut bacteria, the most popular type of kefir? Milk grains. Perfect for yogurt and a healthier version of milk. Its dairy version, is quite ubiquitous in health shops but water grains? Not so much. The only way to get your hands on water kefir grains was in community groups, like on Facebook. In Australia, I found one group which helped me find a kind soul who was keen to share her grains with me. Alternatively, I found at a later date that you can buy it online too, here.
What is Water Kefir
Water kefir is a fermented probiotic drink which is made using a mix of sugar and water and a grain-like bacteria culture. It has been around since the 1800’s and it can be prepared to your taste, being an easy and delicious probiotic option if you can’t eat yogurt or milk kefir.
Water Kefir Benefits
Research says water kefir has potential gut benefits, helping maintain your gut healthy and keeping your immune system strong.
Water kefir benefits could also be linked to cancer prevention. It can contain up to 56 different good bacteria and yeasts!
It’s also important to know that kefir doesn’t work for everyone. So if you are interested in getting started, try it first before getting committed to looking after your grains.
How to Make Your Own Water Kefir
There are two ways to get started: if you bought it dried or if you got it already hydrated grains.
If you bought it dried, follow the pack instructions. However, if you got yours already hydrated grains. You’ll want to keep your grains going.
The basic recipe is quite simple:
1/4 cup of water kefir grains
1/4 cup of brown/raw/muscovado sugar
1 litre of lukewarm filtered water
Mix it in a jar.
Let it sit in a warm place (around 15-25ºC) away from sunlight covering the top with a tea towel or muslin cloth.
After 24 hours strain using a sieve and keep in a sealed jar and flavour or just chill it before drinking.
Repeat the process with the grains using the same measurements.
- On the first time you got the grains, you might have to let it sit for 48 hours in case the grains are not used to your regime or ingredients.
- Always use filtered or mineral water. If you are looking for a plastic free filtering option, try this charcoal filter.
- If you have excess grains, you can keep them in a small jar with sugary water in your fridge. Make sure to open the jar every week or so as the grains will continue to ferment, even in the fridge.
- You can also have a break from making your kefir by keeping it all in the fridge. If you need to travel or go away and won’t be able to maintain it, just pop it in the fridge in a small jar with a little water and sugar and you are good to go.
- If your grains are not fizzing up or creating the kefir, try swapping the water for coconut water and leaving it for 24 hours. It will bubble away with all the sugars and electrolytes present in the coconut water.
IMPORTANT: Always remember to slowly ‘burp’ or open the jars to let the carbonation dissipates, otherwise the gas can explode the bottle.
You can flavour your water kefir to your taste and try different combinations and strengths. Here are some of mine.
For each litre of kefir add:
Lemon & Ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
Small 1-2cm piece of ginger
Let it sit for 1-2 days.
Juice 2 small passionfruits.
Add to kefir and culture it for 24-48 hours.
Mint & Strawberries
5-8 cut and clean strawberries
Add clean mint leaves and culture it for 24-48 hours then remove the strawberries and mint.
If you want your kefir with more fizz, let it culture a little longer before refrigerating.
Do you drink water kefir? What are your favourite flavours? Share them below!
Peace & Love,