Warmer weather gets me excited for drink recipes. Learn how to make your own water kefir and have an endless amount of recipes at your disposable with the added benefit of probiotics.
What Is Water Kefir?
This is a simple beverage you can make at home that is very similar to kombucha. It’s slightly fermented with the use of live water kefir grains. The fermentation that takes place gives it a fizzy texture making it a healthy alternative to soda.
What Are Water Kefir Grains?
Water kefir is thought to have originated in the late 1800s. It possibly started in Mexico, but it is not clear.
These grains also have other names, the most common being tibicos. The tibicos culture forms on pads of the Opuntia cactus as hard granules. There is some written form from the late 1800s of water kefir grains being used in fermented drinks made from the sweetened juice of the prickly pear cactus in Mexico.
But honestly, these water kefir grains can be found in many places all over the world, so its place of origin is even more difficult to figure out.
The grains are fed with sugar and they do much better in a warmer environment. This is the main reason why I love doing this during the spring & summer! You can still do this in the cooler months, but it may take longer to ferment. Another thing is your grains will multiply and grow as you continue to feed it and as it’s warm. You can use these to give away to others!
They call them grains, but if you have an allergy or sensitivity, note that it does not contain actual grains.
Benefits Of Water Kefir
- Full of probiotics to help with your gut health.
- Helps decrease the growth of certain types of cancer.
- Could boost immune function
Studies With Water Kefir & Probiotics
- The kefir extracts suppress in vitro proliferation of estrogen – dependent human breast cancer cells but not normal mammary epithelial cells
- Kefir induces cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in HTLV-q-negative malignant T-lymphocytes
- Kefir exhibits anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on colon adenocarcinoma cells with no significant effects on cell migration and invasion.
- The potential role of probiotics in cancer prevention and treatment
- Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice
- Randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus probiotic given intravaginally for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infection
- Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial
- Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model
- The effect of kefir consumption on human immune system: a cytokine study
Where To Purchase Water Kefir Grains?
With a simple search, you can find water kefir grains almost anywhere. I got mine from my Instagram friend @holistic.and.hopeful. However ,another company that sells different cultures is Cultures for Health. (no affiliation)
Water You Should Use
You want to be able to use the cleanest water possible. A high mineral content will highly benefit the water kefir grains. For instance, some really good water sources are well water or spring water since they are higher in mineral content.
I use my Berkey water which filters out a lot of contaminants and leaves out the minerals. We add these trace minerals to our water kefir to add in the minerals.
Sugars You Should Use
- Refined white sugar: Makes it sweet
- Cane juice crystals: Makes it sweet
- Turbinado or raw sugar: Less sweet than the above
- Sucanat: Makes it strong-flavored
- Brown sugar: Makes it strong-flavored water kefir
Other Sugars Can Damage The Grains
- Coconut sugar
- Maple Sugar or Syrup
- Agave, stevia, monkfruit, splenda
How To Make Your Own Water Kefir
- A glass jar
- A wood (or plastic) stirring utensil
- A towel for covering the jar
- A rubber band or jar ring to secure the covering
- A fine mesh strainer to remove the grains when finished.
Instructions (For The 1st Ferment):
- Pour 1/4 cup sugar into your glass jar.
- Add 1/2 cup hot water
- Swirl to dissolve the sugar
- Add 3 cups room temperature water.
- After that, make sure the temperature is between 68 and 85 degrees so it’s safe for the grains.
- Add the grains.
- Cover the jar and place in a warm spot to culture for 1-2 days.
- Separate grains from the finished water kefir.
- The finished water kefir is read to drink, flavor, or store in the fridge.
Instructions For The 2nd Ferment (optional):
- Grab a jar. Add 1/4 cup of your juice of choice to each bottle. There are so many fun possibilities with flavor combos and.
However, the water kefir you made and can be infused with a variety of fruits. I normally have fruits lying around so this is my preferred method. And it’s EASY!
2. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with strained water kefir, using a funnel.
3. Close the lid and allow to sit out for another day or 2. After is has sat for 24 hours, pop the lid. If you don’t hear a “pop” I would give it a little longer to ferment.
4. Once ready, I place it in the fridge and you’re ready to drink!
How To Make Your Own Water Kefir Video
More Water Kefir Recipes Here
What can I do with the extra grains after they multiply? The extras can be fed to your chickens, thrown in the compost pile, blended into smoothies, or give them away!
How long does it last? After it has been fermented & strained, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How long do the grains last? If cared for correctly, they can last a lifetime!
Can I add flavoring while it’s culturing? It’s not recommended because some fruits and other ingredients may be damaging to the grains.
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I’d love to know if you’ve tried water kefir! What is your favorite flavor? Share in the comments below 🙂