It’s a probiotic… it’s a carbonated drink… it’s Water Kefir!
I started making this as part of my mission to get more probiotics in our diet and it has worked like a charm! The kids love it and ask for it each morning.
Water Kefir Culture
You will need one unusual ingredient for this recipe: water kefir cultures (also called Water Kefir Grains). They aren’t really grains, but are a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria that create probiotics and enzymes during the process of breaking down natural sugar.
I got my water kefir grains from this family-owned company. You’ll also need…
- Glass Jar (1 quart or half gallon)
- Wooden spoon for stirring (avoid metal)
- Towel, cheesecloth or coffee filter to cover jar
- Rubber band
- Hydrated Water Kefir Grains (I get mine here)
- ¼ cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unprocessed Rapadura sugar) Do not use honey!! Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you use reverse osmosis, consider adding a few drops of trace minerals back in or sticking a rinsed pastured egg shell in for minerals) If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using
- Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
- When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp!
- Add the hydrated water kefir grains
- Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects or small children.
- Leave on the counter (preferably at 70-75 degrees) for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out, so if you ware limiting carbs, I recommend 48 hours. Don't leave longer than this! It can starve the grains!
- After 48 hours, strain the water kefir grains through a bamboo or mesh strainer (don't use metal if you can help it!) pouring the liquid into another container. I use a half gallon jar for the first process and strain into two quart size jars.
- Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water and adding Water Kefir Grains.
- To make the Water Kefir carbonated, pour a couple ounces of fruit juice into the strained water kefir you just strained. I've found Grape, Pomegranate, Apple and Cherry to work the best. I don't recommend citrus for this part, as it makes stringy yeast like things that are not tasty! Once you've added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid and leave on the counter an additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating. Repeat the process!
My Favorite Kefir Variations
- After the first fermentation, cap the water kefir without adding any juice. After two days, put in fridge and add vanilla extract before drinking- tastes like cream soda!
- Adding lemon juice and drinking right after the first fermentation- tastes like lemonade!
- Doing the second fermentation with grape, apple, cherry or pomegranate for a fizzy fruit flavored soda.
- Adding raisins or prune juice for the second fermentation- tastes like Dr. Pepper.
- Making a grape or berry flavored second fermentation and mixing with iced herbal tea for a carbonated fruity iced tea drink.
- Add pineapple juice after the first fermentation, but drink right away- don’t allow to ferment or it gets slimy!
How to Video
This video that explains this in more detail and gives step by step instructions. You can also check out Cultures for Health to find the supplies to make Water Kefir Soda and other great fermented probiotic-rich foods and drinks! Enjoy the video (courtesy of Cultures for Health):
Have you ever made water kefir? What’s your favorite flavor?