Have you stopped drinking soda but still like to have something bubbly with your dinner? Maybe you don’t drink wine but don’t want to only have grape juice? Do you need more probiotics in your body without taking a pill? Then Water Kefir is for you!
If you are new to my blog (Welcome!), we currently follow the GAPS diet and you can read more about our journey here. As part of the diet, we need LOTS of probiotics in our systems to help heal our guts. Water Kefir is NOT recommended for the GAPS diet as you use cane sugar in the process (and not all of it is fermented out). Though, I very recently started making Water Kefir as another probiotic to add into our regime and we seem to be okay with it every now and then, so we like to have it as a treat. This post will be a quick recipe for how you can get started with Water Kefir in your own kitchen!
Why Water Kefir?
As a said, Water Kefir is full of probiotics, which are very good for you! I am not a doctor or scientist but the doctor who wrote the GAPS book that I follow highly recommends drinking water kefir as an easy way to get in probiotics. If you would like to read or listen to more information about Water Kefir itself the Weston A. Price foundation has an episode of their podcast all about it here. I have made many foods with probiotics in them (sauerkraut, yogurt, etc.), but Water Kefir is, by far, the easiest one to make. Now you’ll see just how easy it is.
How to Get Kefir Grains
Water Kefir is made with little grains of bacteria or yeast. When you ferment new Water Kefir, you feed these little bacterias sugar in the water. As they eat all of the sugar, they produce the bubbling, delicious, probiotics in the drink.
I was able to get Water Kefir grains through a local food swap app called Olio. You can purchase them online dried (and then restart them with sugar water) or check Facebook marketplace in your area, there may be someone close by who has grains to share. As you make Water Kefir, the grains continue to multiply, so it’s likely that someone who makes Water Kefir would have grains to share with you. And then when you start making it, you can share your grains with others.
How to Make Water Kefir
1 cup brown sugar (preferably organic)
1L filtered water (this equals 4 1/4 cups, for the Americans)
1 cup grape juice (or any flavor as long as it is 100% juice)
Water Kefir Grains
Flip-top bottles (I purchased mine from Ikea)
When you’ve acquired your Water Kefir grains and they are ready for fermenting, add the brown sugar to a glass bowl or measuring cup. Boil a cup of filtered water from the liter that you will be using. Pour the boiling water over the brown sugar and stir until it is totally dissolved.
Once dissolved, pour the sugar water you have now created into a glass jar (not the flip-top bottle). Pour the remaining filtered water into the glass jar. As you pour in this water, it should cool down the other water that was boiling.
*Important* Wait until the temperature of the water in the jar is at room temperature. This is an important part because if the water is too hot, you could kill the bacteria.
Once the sugar water has reached room temperature, pour your kefir grains into the water and cover. Set on your counter and let ferment for 24-48 hours. The fermentation time will depend on the temperature in your home. If it’s colder, then it will take longer to ferment, if it’s warm it will take a shorter amount of time.
You know that the Water Kefir is ready when there are a few bubbles forming and the grains have multiplied (because they’ve eaten the sugar now).
After this first ferment, pour the Water Kefir through your strainer and into a glass bowl. The grains should all be caught in the strainer and they are ready to be put in more sugar water for another batch of Water Kefir. If you do not need to make more right away, make up some more sugar water, let it cool, slide in the grains, and store in the fridge until your ready to make some more.
Now, the Water Kefir that you have in your bowl is drinkable as is, though it won’t be very bubbly. That’s where the fruit juice comes in.
If you’d like to do a second ferment so that your Water Kefir gets very bubbly like soda, then pour the grape juice (or whichever flavor your decided) into the flip-top bottles. Split the amount evenly across the bottles (I usually use two flip-top bottles at this point). Pour the Water Kefir, which you just strained, from your bowl into the flip-top bottles using your funnel. Close the bottles and leave on the counter to ferment for at least 3 days. I have fermented them for up to 7 days, but I’ve read that you can leave them for even longer if you’d like.
As you do this second ferment, you need to go in a burp the bottles every now and again. As the bacteria eats the sugar and makes the bubbles, the bottle can get VERY pressurized and could possibly explode if not burped or watched closely. This is the reason I leave my bottles out on the counter so that I see them and remember to burp them! Just before you go to bed or in the morning, open each bottle and let out the pressure. Then return the lids and leave to ferment.
When it has been fermented to your liking (I recommend tasting throughout), store the Water Kefir in the fridge. The fermenting process will slow and you’ll be able to enjoy a cool, refreshing drink!
I hope you give this recipe a try, let me know if you do in the comments. Happy fermenting!