Water kefir is a fermented beverage that is plentiful in beneficial bacteria. It is rather simple to prepare. It is often more tasteful than other probiotic tonics such as kumbucha or beet kavas. The taste is rather like a fizzy lemonade, but with all the health benefits you need. Before asking yourself how to make water kefir, you need to know what is water kefir.
What is Water Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented drink rich in good gut bacteria and yeasts. You can make it from re-hydrated kefir grains. The grains bring about a coordinated culture of bacteria and yeasts. You make it by preparing a mixture of sugar and water. You then add kefir grains to the mixture to re-hydrate them. The good bacteria and yeast that are already present in the mixture metabolize the sugar. The process turns the sugar into a high number of beneficial acids. It also brings in nourishing microorganisms, B vitamins, as well as food enzymes.
Detailed instructions on how to make water kefir at home follow down this article.
Once the grains are re-hydrated they look like small, clear, slimy structures. They harbor a variety of bacteria, one of which is Lactobacillus hilgardii. It is this bacteria that give them their crystal-like appearance.
You will have to care for the mixture properly to enable it to produce a wonderful probiotic drink. How? By changing the sugar water regularly. The microorganisms should continue to grow and reproduce indefinitely.
It is possible to have a batch reproducing so much you cannot keep up! But do not become distressed if the grains you get at first do not reproduce in such a way. Remember that the grains are not guaranteed. But, with proper care, they will continue to provide a healthy drink for best gut health.
Who Should Bother How to Make Water Kefir?
You need to be aware of the health benefits of good gut bacteria to appreciate what water kefir can do for you. Most of the health challenges related to the bowel originate from an imbalance in the gut microorganisms. This means there are more bad gut microorganisms than the good ones. To solve the problem, you need to eat more probiotic foods and supplements. Water kefir is one of them!
That’s why you need to know how to make water kefir. Anyone that ever experienced gut problems like irritable bowel syndrome should know how to make water kefir at home.
Water Kefir Benefits
Water Kefir, like other fermented foods, supports gut health and systemic wellness. The beneficial bacteria in the kefir grains eat up the sugar in the prepared sugar water. As they metabolize the sugar, they produce a variety of beneficial acids, food enzymes, and more beneficial bacteria. This process of fermentation also reduces the sugar content of the beverage. Drinking Kefir on a regular basis is another way of getting those much-needed probiotics into your gut.
Other water kefir benefits? It is also cheap, keeping you away from the expensive, sugary sodas!
Does Water Kefir Contain Alcohol?
Just as with all fermented drinks, water kefir contains a small amount of alcohol. The exact amount is determined on how long it is fermented before moving into a fridge. Once you put the Kefir into cold storage it slows down the fermentation process in a big way. In other words, you need to know how to make water kefir well.
The amount of alcohol present is typically less than what you would find in an over-ripe fruit. Are you still concerned with the content of alcohol in your water kefir? Then you will need to test your brews with a hydrometer. This is an instrument you use to measure the alcohol content of a liquid.
How to Make Water Kefir
First thing you need for making your own water kefir is water kefir grains. Once you have bought the grains you can follow the directions on the package that comes with it. Else you can follow my directions on how to make water kefir below:
How to Make Water Kefir: First Fermentation Stage
You will need the following:
- Buy the water kefir grains
- Buy some mason jars
- Buy cheesecloth or coffee filters
How to make water kefir: the process
- Take a ¼ cup (or 4-6 tablespoons) of organic sugar. You can use turbinado, Sucanat, muscovado or any other organic sugar. If you use normal white table sugar it kind of takes away the “goodness” of the organic probiotics. You can buy organic sugar and keep it only for making water kefir.
- Heat up purified or spring water, enough for filling up a mason jar halfway. Fill the jar with the ¼ cup sugar, and then pour the heated water on top of the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Then fill the jar the rest of the way with cool purified water. Stir the mixture. Let this mixture cool completely.
- After the water cools down open the kefir grains and add to the sugar mixture.
- Place the coffee filter or the cheesecloth over the top of the jar and secure with a mason jarring.
- Place in a dark spot in your kitchen, mainly out of direct sunlight. That spot should have an ideal temperature of between 68-78°F (20-26°C). Let the grains culture for 3-4 days. It will depend on the temperature of the kitchen. Warmer temperatures like during the summer will obviously take less time. Once the grains are re-hydrated they will take on a plump, more gelatinous appearance.
TIP: Make sure to never use metal utensils when dealing with the grains, such as spooning them out or stirring. The Kefir water will also get a yeasty smell to it if left too long without changing out the sugar water.
How to Make Water Kefir: Second Fermentation Stage
Once your kefir grains are re-hydrated (plumped up) you are ready to restart the process. The very first water from the Kefir brew will need to be thrown out or used in the garden.
Prepare another jar of sugar water in the same manner as the first fermentation. When taking out the Kefir grains from the first sugar water take care to NOT use a metal spoon. Strain the plumped out grains using a small plastic strainer. Then move them into the newly prepared sugar water.
You will want to add some Concentrace, which is a liquid mineral supplement. Concentrace works well to help support the health of the water kefir grains. It provides them with plenty of minerals. I recommend that you buy a larger packet to use it more often. It is cost-efficient.
Allow the water kefir to sit on a flat surface out of direct sunlight again. During summer you can leave for about 2 days and a day or so more in the cold winter.
You have completed the first and the second stage of fermentation. Congratulations! You have learned how to make water kefir! Now you are ready to flavor your water!
How to Make Water Kefir: Lemon Ginger Flavor
This recipe for water kefir tends to be a favorite with the children. It is similar to the flavor and taste of ginger ale or fizzy lemonade.
- 3 ½ cups water Kefir
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (use organic lemons)
- Ginger root, 1-inch piece peeled and sliced into sticks
- After discarding the initial water used to re-hydrate the grains, add the grains to new sugar water. Wait another 1-2 days for fermentation.
- Then pour the new water kefir into an airtight bottle(s).
- Add organic lemon juice and organic ginger root.
- Cap the bottle(s) and ferment for 1-3 days, depending on the level of fizz desired.
- Place the bottles of flavored water kefir in the refrigerator and serve cold. The water kefir needs to be cold to achieve the great gingery lemonade taste.
- Remember to be careful when opening the airtight lid, there may be carbonation build up!
That’s all about how to make water kefir. Check back often for more flavors of water kefir and watch for the next post on Milk Kefir.
As always, I wish you great gut health!