Sunday, June 26, 2011

Water Kefir

As part of my mission to optimize my little guy's health using whole foods and natural remedies, I have started to make water kefir for him (and my husband and I).  It has similar health benefits to kombucha but it is safe for small children to drink and it is much easier to make (it takes 24-48 hours to brew, using kefir grains, water, sugar and any herbs, fruit or fruit juice, etc. that you would prefer to flavor it once it is fermented).  Here are some pictures of my first experience making water kefir.  Click here for a link to Nourished Kitchen's recipe for water kefir and more information about this very healthy juice substitute!  I purchased my grains from Cultures for Health (they have great tutorials and recipes there, too!)

Here is a more specific explanation of water kefir thanks to Cultures for Health:

"Originating in Mexico, water kefir grains (also known as Sugar Kefir Grains) allow for the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage. Incredibly easy to brew, the starter culture can create a new batch of kefir every 24-48 hours. This makes a fantastic non-dairy alternative to milk kefir and can be flavored after brewing to make a variety of delicious sodas. If you are looking to replace soda pop, your family will love it!"

Rehydrated Water Kefir Grains (use plastic strainer, no metal)

Add 1/4 cup of organic sugar (any) to hot water, mix with plastic or wooden spoon (no metal)

Fill jar with cool water.  Once water is at room temperature, add the grains.

Cover with coffee filter and let it sit on your counter top for 24-48 hours (the longer it sits, the less sweet it will be)  The kefir grains "eat" the sugar, giving the beverage its probiotic qualities.

Strain out the kefir grains and start your next batch!  Here is the finished product!  At this point, you can use a recipe to flavor your kefir.  Over time, your kefir grains will multiply, allowing you to make more batches of kefir at once or to share your grains with others!

NOTE:  For optimal results, use spring water or well water to make kefir.  I boil my tap water and chill it in the fridge, which is also acceptable.

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