How to Make Water Kefir

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A glass of water kefir, ready to enjoy!

Water kefir is a healthy probiotic dairy free drink you can easily make in your kitchen. I prefer to use hydrated kefir grains to start with and you can purchase them online (such as eBay).  My family and I drink this water kefir everyday.  Whenever I’m thirsty I just pour myself a glass of water kefir as a substitute for just plain water.  My husband noticed a significant improvement in his digestion from the kefir during his antibiotic treatments.

You can read more about how kefir benefits antibiotic treatment here (http://www.healthyfellow.com/754/antibiotics-and-kefir/).

I like to add blackstrap molasses, a mineral rich residual product of sugar refining, to the fermenting kefir.  Besides the added health benefit of blackstrap, it also adds a sort of beer taste.  For you beer lovers, this water kefir is for you.  I’ve also experimented with adding fresh fruits or concentrated fruit juices for different flavors, such as blueberry/pomegranate concentrate and pineapple juice.  No disappointments so far.

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Hydrated water kefir grains

To get started with making water kefir, I purchased ½ cup of hydrated kefir grains from an ebay store.  My grains doubled in volume after just 4 batches.  I keep one jar with the grain fermenting on the counter at room temperature (70-78ºF) and another one with freshly made water kefir in the fridge for drinking.  After 24 hours of fermentation, I filter out the grain with a fine mesh strainer.  I cover my fermenting kefir with a loose lid or paper coffee filter and rubber band to keep out bugs and dust.  I use filtered water, ordinary sugar, and unsulfured blackstrap molasses.  I had bad results using honey in place of the sugar, sour taste and slow kefir growth.  Yes, it is so simple to make this probiotic rich drink at home.  Enjoy!blackstrap-web

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Water Kefir
 
Tools: Half gallon wide-mouth glass jar (2); measuring cup and spoon; stirring utensils (such as a long handle spoon or chop-sticks); fine mesh strainer; large bowl; paper filter or cheesecloth; rubber band.
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Ingredients
  • 4 tbs hydrated kefir grains
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1tbs unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tbs concentrated fruit juice (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a glass jar dissolve sugar and molasses in water, stir well with the stirring utensil. Then add kefir grains and no extra mixing is needed. Cover the jar with paper filter or cheesecloth and keep the jar at room temperature (between. 72-78 °F) to ferment for 24 to 48 hours (no more than 72 hours).
  2. After this time, the water kefir is ready to be filtered. Use the strainer to separate the kefir grains and liquid, the ready-to-drink water kefir is collected in a large bowl and then transferred to a glass jar and cover with a lid for storage. Repeat step 1 for making more water kefir. The carbon dioxide may slowly build up in the jar, so don’t cover the jar too tightly.
  3. (optional) Add concentrated fruit juice to the ready-to-drink water kefir and let it set at room temperature for an additional 18 hours. This will give the water kefir a mild fruit juice taste. At this point, add a few drop of vanilla extract and pure stevia, a natural sweeter from a plant with 0 glycemic index, will give a Dr. Pepper taste drink.
Notes
1. All utensils should be grease free.
2. Refined sugar is working very well for me in this recipe. Do not use honey.
3. The purpose of using paper filter or cheesecloth is to keep out bugs and dust. You can also use plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.
4. After fermentation, the ready-to-drink kefir should look a little bit more cloudy and lighter in color than the sugar water. With gently shaking the jar, carbon dioxide bubbles can be seen.
5. Although many resources recommend using a plastic strainer, I personally use a stainless steel one and haven’t noticed any sign of killing my kefir grains.
6. Choosing berry, cherry, or pomegranate flavored juice will give better result than orange and lemon juice.

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