Water kefir is a bubbly, refreshing, lactofermented tonic. It is a beverage that you can make at home that’s chock-full of beneficial bacteria, B vitamins, microorganisms and enzymes. It is rich in probiotics which supports gut health and therefore strengthens the immune system. The word kefir is derived from a Turkish word, ‘keif’, which translates to ‘feel good’. Drinking kefir is known to increase a sense of well-being.
Traditional water kefir is prepared using translucent water kefir grains (or sugary kefir grains (SKG) as they are also known). Water kefir grains have a cloudy look and a firm texture. I affectionately call them ‘little opaque diamonds’.
Water kefir grains are a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. These beneficial bacterias in the water kefir grains feed on the sugar in the sugar water. As they metabolize the sugar, they produce probiotics, B vitamins and enzymes. If cared for properly, water kefir grains can be used repeatedly to make water kefir and have an unlimited lifespan. They also grow and multiply under the right conditions.
Generally, water kefir takes 24 – 48 hours to culture. The exact time, however, depends greatly on the surrounding temperature; water kefir grains prefer warmer temperatures (from 68 to 85 degrees F). If cultured at anything lower than that temperature, the fermentation process takes a little more time.
Hydrated water kefir grains (get them here - http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ )
1 quart-size glass jar
¼ cup of organic cane sugar
spring or filtered water
Dissolve the organic cane sugar in a small amount of hot water.
Add cool water to fill the rest of the jar. The resulting water temperature should be about room temperature. Water that is too warm can harm the water kefir grains.
Add the hydrated water kefir grains.
Cover with a loose-fitting lid (some use a light towel and a rubber band as a cover. I like to use a loose-fitting lid).
Leave on the counter, at room temperature (about 70 to 75 degrees) for 24 - 48 hours. The longer it sits, the more sugar is consumed by the water kefir grains. If you leave it longer than 48 hours, the water kefir grains can actually starve. Warm temperatures can speed up the process and cooler temperatures will slow it down.
Strain the water kefir with a fine, plastic mesh strainer. The strainer will catch the kefir grains, allowing the water kefir to filter into a second quart-size container.
Set the water kefir aside.
Start the process over again by dissolving organic cane sugar in a small amount of hot water, add cool water and water kefir grains.
If you buy dehydrated water kefir grains, follow the instructions on the label to rehydrate them.
Carbonating and Flavoring Your Newly-Made Water Kefir (This is called the “Secondary Fermentation”.)
Your water kefir can be enjoyed as-is, after its initial fermentation, or you can choose to ferment it again, hence the term “secondary fermentation”. This process adds a delightful and noticeably stronger fizz to your water kefir!
This is the fun part; flavorings and variations are limitless! Choose your favorite organic fruit juice, dried fruit, flavorings, herbal teas or spices.
Carbonating and Flavoring Your Newly-Made Water Kefir
Pour up to ¼ cup of your favorite fruit juice into the water kefir.
Secure a lid to the jar.
Set your flavored water kefir on the counter for 1 - 2 more days to the desired fizz level.
Once the flavored water kefir is to your liking, transfer it to the refrigerator. The water kefir will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, but at a much slower pace.
Some like to do the secondary fermentation in flip-top bottles. This will increase the carbon dioxide in your water kefir dramatically. ‘Burping’ your soda periodically during the secondary fermentation is a good idea. Enjoying the water kefir in your glass is much more enjoyable than on your ceiling.
Here are some of my favorite combinations (all flavorings are added before the secondary fermentation)
Ginger Turmeric Cooler
I like to take advantage of the healing, anti-inflammatory benefits of both ginger and turmeric; I put equal amounts of ginger root and turmeric root into my juicer.
I then add from 1 – 2 Tablespoons of this mixture to my water kefir.
Cranberry Cream Soda
10 fresh or frozen cranberries
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
4 or 5 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 Tablespoon organic lemon juice
Sparkling Pina Colada
¼ cup organic Pineapple Coconut juice
Add desired amount of freshly juiced ginger root
Float a little (or a lot) of fresh spearmint leaves
A splash of organic lime juice
Make and enjoy a fizzy soda that is actually good for you! Here’s to you, your gut health, and to feeling good!
Kathy Shearer is an educator at heart.She earned a BS degree in Education, has been a La Leche League leader for 15 years, and now enjoys being a Certified Fitlife.tv Coach.She is a wife to John and mother to six homeschooled children.They own a farm where they grow most of their own organic meats and produce and preserve most of their own food. She and her children work on an organic vegetable farm.Kathy has a zeal for everything fermented.She has a passion for educating people about whole, nutritious foods, and does this regularly at the farmer's market where she sells fermented drinks, homemade soap, and organic chicken.
Kathy joined Fitlife in August, 2013.Although she had a passion for nutrition and whole foods, her diet was very grain heavy.After joining Fitlife, she traded in her grains for greens.She joined Small Group Coaching in April of 2014, and to date has lost 51 pounds. Kathy's greatest desire has been achieved.Her body image now represents what she believes in:That is that health and wellness can be achieved through eating God-manufactured, whole, nutrient-dense foods.
During my FitLife transformation, I lost 70 pounds! That's why I signed up for the protocol, but the most exciting result is that I found ME in the process. I had been hiding under a pile of pounds, self-doubt, and grief! FitLife changed my life and I knew I had to share it with others.
-Lynne, Longwood FL
I started with Fitlife back in 2011-2012…I wrote into Fitlife asking for an extreme amount of help. I was 300 pounds, with high cholesterol, and Drew helped me transform my life. I lost over 130 pounds and I no longer have high cholesterol. Not only did I lose weight, so did my husband, who lost over 70 pounds!