Water Kefir: How To & How Come?
Fermented drinks are becoming very popular in the healthy living community, so when I saw someone offering water kefir grains on my local swap page, I decided to give it a try. Then I found out more about the person giving them away – and she is one very awesome green mama! Chelsea is definitely living a healthy, green, non-toxic life and makes her home a safe and green environment for her husband and children. She graciously took the time to answer some questions for me about water kefir and why she continues to make it.
1. What got you interested in water kefir and how did you start making it? How long have you been making it?
I became interested in kefir after reading so much about fermented foods and how healing they can be for the gut and your overall health. It can also be beneficial when applied to the skin like a toner. Because my husband (and kids!) had an expensive habit of buying kombucha, and because I couldn’t get my hands on a scoby at the time – I began brewing water kefir. Plus, I’m always up for a healthy challenge. I am on a water kefir hiatus right now, as it tends to take over your kitchen, but have been making it for a couple of years now.
2. Take us through the process of making 1 batch of water kefir from start to finish.
The very first step I like to tell people to do is to pick a time of day that is going to work best for them, because this is a process that needs to be repeated every 24 hours. For me, this is after my children go to bed.
- Boil water
- Feed your grains! Add a bit of boiling spring water to a mason jar (1L and preferably wide mouth) with 2 TBSP’s sucanat (my preference-but white cane sugar works wonderful as well), stir to dissolve, add cold or room temperature spring water to the shoulder of the jar.
- Rinse your grains and add ¼ cup to the sugar water.
- Place a square of cheesecloth over top of the jar and screw the cap of the mason jar on (still exposing the cheesecloth on top)
- Allow this to ferment for 24 hours.
- Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed your first portion of the fermenting cycle!
- Strain the liquid from the jar of grains (through the cheesecloth works well) into another wide mouth 1L mason jar.
- Now the fun begins! It’s time to flavor that kefir! Our family really enjoy dried fruit and fresh fruit, but some people enjoy using a bit of fruit juice in theirs instead. Get creative! We love adding vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks, ginger etc.
- Once you have added in your “flavor(s)”, completely seal the jar with the top and screw on lid.
- Allow this to ferment for another 24 hours and then it is ready to drink!
- Continue the process with the grains (steps 1-5) every time you strain the liquid from them.
3. What benefits have you and your family noticed when drinking water kefir?
My husband and children really enjoy this as a healthy alternative to other sugary beverages and it is cost effective! As a family that doesn’t consume pop, or other unhealthy drinks – we are certain that this is a beneficial drink to have readily available. We know that it is promoting healthy bacteria, healing our guts, an excellent source of hydration and making our skin all glow-y!
4. Do you have any tips for beginners looking to start making water kefir?
There are some things to know about water kefir!
- The grains multiply! Things can get out of control – I find I can separate my grains into two separate jars (and so on) after they are fed during the first fermenting cycle. Have many jars on hands and many friends to share grains with.
- You can go up to 48 hours in your fermenting cycle, but never longer, you risk starving the grains and destroying them.
- Grains can be stored in the fridge to “rest” when you need a break. Make sure they are fed and tightly sealed. Grains can also be dried out and rehydrated.
- It’s a common misconception that people who can’t consume gluten think that they cannot enjoy water kefir! They are not truly “grains” and are just called that due to their appearance.
- Do not use metal with the grains (think measuring cups, spoons, etc). The grains do not like it.
- Do NOT get creative enough to add raw honey or maple syrup to your grains! You can however try molasses, sucanat, raw cane sugar (all preferably organic).
- DO get creative enough to try using coconut water instead of spring water! It is crazy delicious!
There you have it! Some great tips about making water kefir. It is true that continuing to keep water kefir going is like having a pet – because you can’t just leave them on the counter for too long! That’s why it’s great that you can put them in the fridge to “rest”, or even let them dry to save them for when you’re ready to use them again. You can purchase water kefir grains online, but ask around in your circle of friends or local swap page first – people who make water kefir are always happy to share!