What is it and Why Should I Drink It?
Sshh, don't tell the kids, but this fizzy drink is actually good for you!
We have all heard of the good bacteria that are in high-quality yogurts that help to balance the intestinal environment and keep the immune system happy and well.
But what about vegans or those who are lactose intolerant? There are other probiotic tonics such as kombucha, but the taste is certainly not for everyone, and to buy kombucha in a health food store already bottled can get pricey quite quickly.
Let us introduce water kefir, a fermented beverage filled to the brim with beneficial bacteria, super easy to prepare at home, and so light on the palate (kind of similar to a fizzy lemonade) that even kids will drink it up voluntarily.
Just like kombucha, water kefir is started by introducing a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts in sugar water. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts in the water kefir grains metabolize the sugar, magically turning it into a bunch of good acids and infusing it with beneficial microorganisms and additional B vitamins.
Water kefir grains are tiny, translucent, gelatinous structures made of assorted bacteria including lactobacillus hilgardii. When you care for your grains, they will continue to reproduce, giving you constant access to this wonderful probiotic-rich beverage – and new grains to gift to friends, so that they can begin making their own water kefir!
Water Kefir Recipe
Makes two quarts
You’ll need a 2 quart jar topped with a loose fitting lid or a bit of cheesecloth. For the optional secondary fermentation, a process that gives water kefir its fizziness, flip-top bottles work well.
For Initial Fermentation
6 cups of water
¼ cup water kefir grains (found at health food stores, NOT the same as milk kefir grains!)
¼ cup organic cane sugar (the minerals in less-refined sugar help the process along)
2 dried unsulphured figs
1 lemon, cut in half
For the optional Secondary Fermentation
2 Tbsp. organic cane sugar OR
½ cup fruit juice of your choice
How to prepare:
Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil, then stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Put your water kefir grains into a 2-quart jar, add the sugar water, then add the figs and lemon. Cover the jar loosely with cheesecloth to allow air in while keeping other stuff out. Allow to ferment like this for 2 to 3 days – even an extra day is fine if you prefer a stronger flavor.
Strain it through a plastic, wood or stainless steel strainer into a pitcher. Throw out the lemon and figs, but keep the grains which can be immediately recultured, gifted, or stored in a closed container with water in the fridge for up to 1 week.
While you can certainly drink it as is, you can also ferment it a second time in a covered bottle, which allows carbon dioxide to develop, producing a fizziness.
For the secondary fermentation, pour either 1/4 cup fruit juice or 1 tablespoon sugar into each of two flip-top bottles. Then fill the bottles with water kefir to about an inch of their openings. Close the tops and leave it to ferment another 24 hours or so - warm temperatures will speed up the fermentation process while cool temperatures slow it down. Transfer to the fridge for a few days to allow the bubbles to set. Open carefully in case too much fizziness escapes on you, and ENJOY!
Questions about using food as your medicine – or natural ways to use food for optimum health? Schedule a consultation with our holistic nutrition specialist who can help determine the right intake for your health, needs and lifestyle. Call (503) 288-7668 or book online at rootwholebody.com.