Water Kefir 101

I have been trying to write this post for two days now. The last two days however have brought a few unexpected things… which have put this on hold. If you don’t keep up with the news… you probably didn’t hear about this… but if you do, I am sure you did hear about the crisis going on in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta was basically shut down. The entire city. It was insane and there are images online of the city that make it look like a scene from the walking dead. My friend Lindsey and I were on our way back from Trader Joes that AM… started to snow and within an hour or so, the roads began to get very slow.. we made it back to my house by 1pm… just in time for my husband to leave for his shift at work. Lindsey left my house and made her way to her house – 15 minutes across town (on a normal day). Hour 1/2 later she wasn’t even 2 miles from my home! She ended up having to turn around and park on the road side, leaving her van and walk over a mile to get to my house! The roads were completely stopped and people abandoned there car. My husband had to work from 1:30pm (drove til almost 5pm to get to work, what normally takes him 20 minutes took him many hours)… he did not get back home until 8pm tonight (over 24 hours later)… getting only 2 hours of sleep in that time frame.. which was not restful at all, seeing as he had to sleep on the floor using a paper towel as his pillow. The chaos out in Atlanta is almost unbelievable. Do pray for those stranded… and affected by this snow… so incredibly sad to hear stories of pregnant woman going 16 hours without water or food… and moms with newborns who ran out of formula and could not nurse. In fact one baby was born on the road side!

So yes, in short, I had delay’s to this post… which is ok… and tonight I am feeling a bit tense and tired… so this may not be the most “informative” post about Water Kefir… but hopefully it makes some sense hah… The photo’s in this post btw I took while my mom was in town. She had her own kefir with her, so that is why there are so many glass bottles out in the photos ;-) – we were doing double batches this particular day.

ED9A9391First off, I am no expect… and am rather new to the world of water kefir… but so far I have had great success with it. I got my grains from a friend who grew her own water kefir grains… they grow rather quickly… so she shares them often :) – from there began the experimenting.

So to start, what exactly is Water Kefir?

We are all familiar (or should be) with the word Probiotic. Water Kefir is exactly that. An amazing source of probiotics that will kick any store packaged probiotic supplement, bottle, yogurt in the tail :) – it is basically good healthy gut bacteria, mmmm yummy :)

There is also something called MILK Kefir or Kombucha. Both similar to Water Kefir… just different in ways. If you are really interested in learning more about those google is your best friend, have fun! haha…. For me MILK kefir did not work because I am not a fan of milk and its thick texture. I also hate yogurt. I love bubbly drinks, so this to me made more sense. Water Kefir is like a tangy, alcoholic soda. HAHA Although the alcohol content is almost always under 1% at its more fermented form… which takes a while. So no worries “non alcohol” drink peeps… this isn’t a wine and you could not get hammered off it.

Water Kefir bacteria helps us to digest our food… prevents allergies, it will boost your immune system and is just great for our bodies overall.

When you boost your immunity btw it helps prevent sickness. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was sick. Like for real, fever sick. :)

Best of all – Water Kefir is so easy and cheap to make. You can make it to fit your “taste preference” too… and is fun to play with.

This btw is what “the grains look like” for those curious ;-) – weird lil boogers.

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So to move on… here is….

My basic recipe is below:

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4 Tablespoons of Grains (You btw can buy grains online or find locally. A great source to find them is ETSY!)
4 Tablespoons of Sugar in the RAW or any form of organic unrefined sugar. You can use white sugar if you want. Do not use honey though.
4 Cups of Filtered Water (I use my Berkey water filter for all my water)
1/8 tsp. baking soda (optional)
1/8 tsp. unsulphered molasses (optional)
1 lemon wedge (without skin) (optional)
5-8 organic raisins (optional)
Half an egg shell (optional)

Alright lots of optionals in here. This is because you DO NOT have to have those other items I listed unless you want to. What I have found though is that with those things added the grains thrive so much better than just with plain sugar. My grains are growing like crazy since adding in these things, especially the organic raisins. THEY LOVE THEM.

The optional’s btw are for added nutrients as well.
Mollasses has iron.
Egg Shell has Calcium.
The Baking soda has other minerals and nutrients.
Your grains absorb it all :)
The healthier the grain, the healthier your kefir.

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A lot of people think that water kefir is crazy sugar water… that is super sweet. What is so cool though is that the grains FEED on the sugar and so the kefir you are left with is mild in its taste and not super sugary or sweet. In fact if you were to eat one of the raisins after the Kefir sits and ferments – the raisins actually loose their sweet taste. Crazy huh? And no I didnt eat one of the fermented raisins, GAG, I couldn’t HAHAHA, my mom however is the super unaffected by weird foods woman and ate them without blinking (she’s amazing).

So if you want to leave those things out, you can… but if your grains seem weak and not growing, try adding those few things in.

Directions for mixing this all together.

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1. Always use plastic and glass. NO METAL.
2. I first put in my raw sugar into my glass jar.
3. Put in the grains on top of sugar.
4. Fill up the jar with the filtered water.
5. Add in all the rest of the stuff.
6. Stir with a plastic spoon and then shut the jar with lid (yes a lid, no coffee filters or gauze, this stuff grows great covered)

You place this in a dark area, some say place it near some heat… so maybe under the microwave light… I just keep mine on my shelf in the kitchen and it does fine… but my mom does keep hers under the microwave light and hers are growing faster. SO I guess for quicker growth warm spots and covering the jar with a towel so its dark for the grains does help.

Let the grains sit with all that stuff listed above for at least 24-48 hours.

If you see bubbles and stuff rising in the water, your grains are alive and well :)

After the 24 hours you strain off your grains and kefir (be sure to use a plastic strainer! no metal). The liquid you strain off is what you will keep for the next ferment process. The grains you would place into a new jar and repeat all the above, to start a new 1st ferment process. I hope that makes sense :) SO your grains will continue to make kefir… and grow, etc..etc… They will live as long as you care for them well.

The liquid you strained off you will then add juice or fresh organic fruit too. You can flavor your kefir however you want! This is a great blog on flavoring ideas.

My go to flavoring is:

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Grape Juice (you can totally use welches!) – For 4 cups of Kefir I add in about a half cup of grape juice to sweetened the drink. I store them in fun glass bottles that seal tight… (this helps to keep the drink carbonated.)

Another option I love it to put in organic raspberries (use the frozen ones if you want, just make sure they are organic)… and juice from a half a lime… as well as a few tablespoons of grape juices. This makes for a yummy tangy version… my husband and children however prefers the classic grape version better.

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Once you add in your flavor (juice), you then let the bottle of water kefir/juice sit out for another 24 hours (tightly sealed). After those 24 hours your kefir is ready to drink. You can then refrigerate it. The longer your kefir sits the stronger it gets btw ;-) – I do not like it super strong, so we try to consume it within a few days.

Also BE SURE TO BURP your kefir. If you don’t open that bottle up every 12 hours or so, you will be faced with an explosion of water kefir :) – it erupts like a volcano!! insane the amount of bubbles it builds.

I serve mine over a glass of ice.

Right now I drink at least 1 cup a day. My mom though drink a cup in the AM and a cup in the PM. :) My kids drink about a cup a day too.

Hopefully this makes some sense… I am now off to bed. I am not going to proof this post either, so forever any typos or errors…

LONG DAY, im tired :) off to bed. haha. Enjoy!! if you have any questions feel free to comment.

Comments

comments

10 Responses to Water Kefir 101

  1. Andrea says:

    Awesome – thanks! :) Only one last question – does your SMELL like wine/alcohol? Mine does…so it throws me for a bit of a loop! haha. I’m guessing that you would drink this when preg. without any apprehension?

  2. embee says:

    so you can reuse your grains? how many times?

  3. Aura says:

    Enjoyed reading this post very much. I believe drinking WK does strengthen the immune system. I have not caught any of the sickness going around at work. Two glasses of WK works well for me.

  4. Aliesha says:

    I need to try this! Pinning it. :)

  5. Dreawood says:

    @Andrea, You know im not 100% sure on the drinking it pregnant thing. I don’t think it be any risk. Oh and yes it should smell like wine :) – esp if you add in grape juice. Its fermented, thats why it smells that way. :)

  6. Dreawood says:

    @embee, They keep on growing! :) as long as you take care of them.

  7. Stacey says:

    This was so helpful! I forgot to read it the day you posted, and just remembered that you had done a post on water kefir. I love the bottles you use for the second ferment. Where are they from?

  8. Dreawood says:

    @Stacey, I actually got that bottle at the Fresh Market (its like whole foods) – it was a french ginger soda! was $2.99 or something like that for the soda and then after we finished drinking it I just washed the bottle and reused! it is actually my favorite. I plan to go back and get more. ;-)

  9. Stacey says:

    So I know you’re on vacation right now, so I might not get an answer, but I’m wondering how long you usually do the first step for. Do you go the full 48 hours, or stick with 24?

  10. brent says:

    Where can i find water kefir grains in the Atlanta area?
    thanks

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