My Latest Passion/Obsession – Water Kefir
I wanted to share my latest passion with you – Water Kefir.
I love it because:
- It is really yummy (it tastes like a mildly sweet soft drink).
- It is really good for you (it is a probiotic drink).
- It is really easy to make (it only takes a few minutes each day – depending on how much you make)!
WHAT IS WATER KEFIR?
Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made with kefir ‘grains’. They are called grains because of how they look, however, they are actually a symbiotic mix of healthy bacteria and yeast. They do not contain any grains at all!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WATER KEFIR
Water kefir is a multi-strain probiotic drink that supports gastrointestinal and general immune system health. It may be helpful for the following:
- Relief or treatment of diarrhoea
- Relief of irritable bowel syndrome
- May help to reduce side effects of antibiotics
- May help to support a healthy immune system
- May be helpful in maintaining a healthy mood – please see Gut Feelings and Are Probiotics a promising treatment strategy for depression? for more information.
MAKING WATER KEFIR
Making water kefir is more of an art than a science. There are many different ways to make it and I found it quite confusing when I read all the different methods on the internet.
Here is my simple method:
- A large mason jar (I use 2L ones from Ikea)
- A grolsch style bottle (also from Ikea).
- A non-metal strainer (kefir grains do not like reactive metals. Some sources say that stainless steel is ok, but I avoid metal when fermenting).
- A jug (for collecting the first ferment)
- A plastic funnel
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of water kefir grains for up to 2L filtered water ( The grains multiply rapidly when they are healthy, so this is just a rough guide. I use more than 4 tablespoons/2L).
- 1/2 cup of good quality sugar/2L filtered water (1/4 cup sugar/1L filtered water). I use organic rapadura sugar.
- 1 teaspoon molasses/2L filtered water (I have used too much in the past and it created very yeasty tasting kefir that exploded out of the top of my grolsch-style bottle when opened).
- Organic, preservative-free dried fruit/organic fruit juice or fresh fruit.
FIRST FERMENT – METHOD
- Fill mason jar with filtered water.
- Add water kefir grains and sugar (stir well).
- Close the lid of the mason jar (or leave it open and cover it with some cloth – this is all part of the art. See what works for you).
- Sit the first ferment in a dark cupboard for 12-48 hours (the length of time will depend on how warm the weather is. In hotter weather, the fermentation is faster).
- You will know that it is ready when it is less sweet that the original sugar water and it usually changes colour too. It may even have started to bubble (but not always).
SECOND FERMENT – METHOD
- Strain off the first ferment liquid into a collecting jug (using a non-metal strainer).
- Pour this liquid into a grolsch-style bottle (I use a funnel).
- Add some organic dried fruit, fruit juice or fresh fruit (avoid citrus).
- Leave this in a dark cupboard for 12-48 hours (it often becomes more bubbly, but not always).
- Refrigerate and enjoy.
And then you begin again with a new first ferment……
MORE FANTASTIC FERMENTED FOOD RECIPES
Here is my colleague Joanna’s blog post about fermented vegetables and beet kvass. They are both probiotic rich additions to your diet (that are easy to make and fantastic for digestive and immune health).
And here is her recipe for sauerkraut.