Water Kefir 101

No secret- sugary, processed foods, stress and antibiotics all contributes to a leaky gut. leaky gut can cause inflammation, which can often become systemic and affect the health of the brain.[1] Signs and symptoms of a bad gut can range from eczema, food allergies, excessive sugar cravings, down to your mood (70% of your body’s serotonin levels are found within your gut!). 

So the cure? Probiotics! Inoculating foods and bevies with the good bacteria deters wild strains of bad bacteria from growing. Fermented foods and drinks can be more effective than a probiotic supplement as they also contain “food” for the microflora to help promote their growth. Another advantage, ferments introduce a variety of bacteria species, whereas a probiotic supplement has only a limited number of the species. We love variety around here!

This beverage is by far the easiest, fastest way to supplement heaps of probiotics. It also contains unique peptides with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune regulating effects. Not to mention, it’s friggen delicious! Some history, how-to and troubleshooting Water Kefir after the jump

 

I found a metal drainer worked fine, with minimal contact

Although origins unclear, the Tibetan shepherds enjoyed natural water kefir at the Caucasus mountain springs 7,000 ft above sea level over 3,000 years ago. Mexicans used tibicos, a form of water kefir grain, to make Tepache in the late 1800s. These SCOBY “grains” are the granddaddies of today’s soda! They feed off natural sugars (protein & fats too in milk kefir) complex carbs and turn them into simpler sugars + lactic acid bacteria + loads of probiotics, making certain nutrients more bioavailable. Carbonation is a byproduct, and these guys get mega fizzy.

water kefir grains, sugar & water (+ some household tools) are all you need to make a batch of fresh and bubbly water kefir beverage.

Super adaptable, these grains can also be grown with juice or coconut water. Some even had success using coconut milk to create a coconut milk kefir! Unique batch to batch and can crave different blends seasonally. Water kefir likes variety and have cycles of preferences. Don’t be intimidated –  the best way to pinpoint what your grains need is through trial and error. You can find some grains online or from a neighbour.

Ready to train some water kefir grains?

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE Water Kefir

  • 1-2 tbsp fresh water kefir grains
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • White sugar or cane sugar, palm sugar, coconut, molasses or a combo
  • Filtered Water
  • Food safe mesh cover (clean towel, cheesecloth, coffee filter)
  • Bottles with swing cap (optional for 2nd fermentation)

 

Print Recipe
Water Kefir
Water Kefir grains are the granddaddies of today's soda! They feed off natural sugars (protein & fats too in milk kefir) complex carbs and turn them into simpler sugars + lactic acid bacteria + loads of probiotics, making certain nutrients more bioavailable. Carbonation is a byproduct, and these guys get mega fizzy! Each batch of grains to it's own, each prefer a different sweet spot, some even like a bit of salt or molasses! Try this simple recipe to make your own WK
Prep Time 5 min
Passive Time 24-48 hours
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 min
Passive Time 24-48 hours
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Dissolve sugar(s) in H2O, make sure water is room temp
  2. Sift Water Kefir grains*, discard old liquid and pour into glass mason jar.
  3. Add the sugar water into the mason jar with any additional ingredients.
  4. Secure cheesecloth or coffee filter over the jar. Store in a warmish place (68°-85°F) to culture for 24-48 hours.
  5. You'll see small bubbles forming, and you'll see large bubbles floating to the surface. The longer you culture the more tart the brew. It is ready to drink!
  6. Optional: Bottle the water kefir and leave out for an additional day (or longer) for a fizzier drink. Burp the bottles daily* to clear built up gas and add fruits, juices or even herbs to play with the flavour profiles. Keep in fridge once reached desired carbonation and flavour.
Recipe Notes

See how to rehydrate grains

Always start with a clean work area and tools.

Metal can damage the Water Kefir grains, use glass or wood when possible.

Kefir Grains do not like fluoride or chlorine, so filtered water works best. However, the water is then stripped of natural minerals. I've found excellent results in introducing additional mineral ingredients such as molasses, or palm sugar.

Storing the bottled kefir in the fridge will slow down the fermentation, no need to burp!

Happy brewing! 

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Tips and Trouble Shooting

  • Want big grains? Try adding dried fruits, some of my fav are apricots or cherries.
  • My grains look tired and mushy – could be too warm and not enough minerals. Try a cooler environment or add some salt, molasses, OR palm sugar.
  • Bottling the water kefir in fliptop bottles for more fizz, also known as a “2nd fermentation“. Remember to pop every day to release built up gas.
  • Try adding different fruits, herbs, or juices to the 2nd fermentation. (Try a lemonade water kefir- yum!)
  • If you are ready to give these guys a break, store them in the same water sugar ratio and pop them in the fridge! They bounced right back after a month of storage.

Happy brewing! Have you had experiences with Water Kefir? Any cool flavours to share? Let me know below! 

 

sources: [1] https://bodyecology.com/articles/healing-leaky-gut

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