Any time of day, even right before bed (but before brushing) if any of my 3 little ones ask for a carbonated beverage, I gladly let them have a full glass. Our “soda” doesn’t come in a can and it is actually a healthy drink! What am I talking about?
Water kefir is similar to milk kefir. Both are made using little clusters of bacteria and yeasts. We call the clusters “grains” most of the time. Some other names are: tibicos, California bees and Japanese water crystals. The water kefir grains look like clear crystals and are rubbery in consistency. These grains are happy to eat up sugar and in return produce lactic acid and carbonation and a minuscule amount of ethanol. Along with that are millions of tiny bacteria and yeasts. These are what make water kefir special.
There are more than 25 strains of bacteria and several beneficial strains of yeast. It’s better than any probiotic pill on the market and so much cheaper! A small bag of grains will probably cost you under $6. They live and reproduce ensuring a constant supply of grains. Their only food is filtered water (no chlorine) and unrefined sugar. Total cost per quart is probably less than $0.50 and adding water kefir to your diet ensures that you are providing your body a healthy variety of probiotics.
Cultivating water kefir is easy. They are happy to live at room temperature in a solution of sugar water. Every 24-48 hrs you strain out the grains and offer them fresh sugar water and you get the fizzy, less sweet water kefir.
Plain water kefir tastes bland to me but entirely drinkable. My children are not as fond of it plain so I’ve come up with lots of ways to make it fun for them. Here are two of their favorite recipes:
Stevia (or other natural sweetener)
Fresh grated ginger
A squeeze of lemon juice
The gentle carbonation and fresh ginger make this a soothing drink for upset tummies. My 3 like this with varying amounts of ginger. My oldest likes it “spicy” with a lot of ginger. Experiment with more or less of one ingredient until you find the perfect blend for you.
Pink Raspberry Fizz:
Sweetener of choice
In a blender or food processor, add frozen berries, sweetener and 2tbsp of filtered water. Blend until smooth and immediately add to water kefir.
This makes a vibrant pink color. It’s a bit tart and my children like the sweet and sour combination. During the summer months you can also pour these into Popsicle moulds and have kefir pops.
Have you heard of water kefir? Would you like to know more?