Water Kefir Wonders

“You have to try it.  Seriously,  it’s SO GOOD and SO GOOD for you.”

After many surgeries that left her body depleted in every department, my friend found a way to get her body back on the healing track.  She’d been prescribed a truckload of antibiotics over the years and was literally sick from it.  The doctors told her “it would be fine” for her body, but it obviously was not.  At her wit’s end, she began her own research and discovered many people who had been in similar situations as herself.  Desperate to find a cure, she tried making her own water kefir.  Within days she was feeling much better.

It’s full of probiotics,  inexpensive and easy to make.  Oh yeah- and totally yummy!  Probiotics make the world go round.  Please give a warm welcome to Kefir!

Kefir is a probiotic beverage that  consists of bacteria and yeast existing in symbiotic relationship. Your body already has billions of bacteria and yeast.  Some store-bought probiotic foods or supplements can help, but they are not as potent, as they do not contain BOTH the bacteria AND the beneficial yeasts. They often contain just one or a select variety of bacteria, and usually that’s it. My friend Doug, who is a pharmacist and a nutritionist, always recommends getting your vitamins and minerals through a whole food source rather than supplements if possible.  Kefir has enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and billions of probiotics.   It supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria AND yeast strains.  These internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off harmful foreign bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has been long-known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. This drink is full of folic acid and B vitamins, and helps manage free-radicals.  It also has been known to help with constipation, sleep deprivation, diarrhea, lactose-intolerance, yeast infections, allergies, asthma, acid-reflux and ulcers.  (To name a few things)

There is a ton of information floating around on the internet about this fermented drink.  Some is made with water, some with dairy. We’ve been making water kefir at our house for several months now.  I am in love.

Here is a simple guide to making it, with lots of links at the end of this post for further reading.

1.  Start with the grains.  (Which aren’t “grains” at all, but a culture of yeast and bacteria)  I purchased my dehydrated grains on-line from Cultures for Health.  Re-hydrate them and they’ll look like this:  (Always use a plastic strainer!)  They run about $20 by the time you pay shipping and handling.  SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying a supplement, and if properly taken care of, they not only last indefinitely, but will multiply for you to make more kefir or share with friends!

grainsWater kefir grains love minerals.  You can add liquid minerals if you like, but always choose unchlorinated, unflouridated water.  If you must use tap water, boil it first to remove chlorine.  Another way to add minerals is to add baking soda or unrefined sea salt.  See this link for specific details.Ozarka Spring Water2.  Heat 1 quart of water and pour into your jar.  Dissolve 5 TBS of sugar (I use organic cane sugar, although you can also use sucanat or rapadura ) in your water and cool water to 68-85 degrees.  Add water kefir grains and cover jar with a coffee filter or clean cloth and a rubber band.  (On a side note, this drink actually can be good for diabetics, despite the sugar content.  Everyone is different, so try it and see if it works for you).

water kefir_ first fermentation3.  Place in a warm spot (68-85 degrees) for 24-48 hours.  *Often your grains will take on the color of your sugar (mine’s brown-ish).*

4.  After culturing is complete, prepare a new batch of sugar-water, following steps above. 

5.  Using a plastic strainer (don’t compromise the integrity of your water by using metal!), pour cultured kefir into a second jar with a tight-fitting lid, catching grains in strainer.

6.  Pour grains into new batch of sugar-water once it has reached the desired temperature.

7.  This is the SECOND FERMENTATION.  You don’t have to do this, but it tastes so much better and usually gets bubbly!  Add dried fruit to your jar with a tight-fitting lid.

second fermentation water kefir

My all-time favorite flavor is when I juice 1 lemon or lime into the jar, along with several slices of fresh peeled ginger.  Holy cow is this ever good!  More favorites:

cranberries and coconut

Allow your jar to hang out on the counter for 2-3 more days (it’s SO hard to wait, I know!).  Once it’s done, it should taste a bit sour but have a clean aroma and flavor.  I describe it as a “watered-down kombucha” flavor. You can store it in the fridge, but drink it sooner than later since it will be at its peak health-wise.

Now that this water kefir ball is rolling at our house, we always have some on hand.  We put it in our smoothies every morning.  It is SO GOOD!

The thing I really love about this is that you can make it cheaply (I spend under 5$ a week to make this).  I don’t have the expense of fruit juice for my smoothies anymore, and it is SO MUCH BETTER for me!  I add the fruit and coconut chunks to the smoothies too.

I would love to hear any flavor ideas, tips or tricks to making this drink.  Although we don’t do a lot of dairy at our house, I still think dairy kefir would be nice to have around.  Next on my list is fermented veggies.  You know, sauerkraut and kimchi style.  I’ll let you know how it goes 😉

A shout out to my friend (you know who you are) who is on the path to wellness because of this discovery, and also to Bobbi who turned me on to some great new websites.  Thanks girls.

Some helpful links:

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/

http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/

http://www.yemoos.com/index.html

 

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