What is Kefir? (With Recipe)

  Image: Feasting at Home

Image: Feasting at Home

Kombucha is all the rage these days - this sweet, slightly caffeinated, fizzy beverage can be found in bottles and on tap all over the place.

I LOVE kombucha, but sometimes even the small amount of caffeine in it means I can't have it, say, in the evening in place of a glass of wine.

Enter Water Kefir.

Water Kefir is a beverage made from - you guessed it! - water kefir grains, which slightly ferment the beverage and give it massive probiotic benefits.

I'll be focusing more on the connection between our brains and our guts later this month, but for now I can say with absolute certainty that taking care of the your digestive system - and having a healthy gut - is essential to your overall health.

Beverages like kombucha and water kefir can play a big part in gut health - the probiotics found in both can stimulate what's called the gut flora, the healthy bacteria in your gut that help you break down your food, thus keeping your immune system healthy.

The cool thing about water kefir is that the bacteria it contains continues to grow in your system, meaning even drinking it once a week will massively increase your gut flora (whereas something like kombucha requires daily consumption).

I've included a recipe for making your own water kefir beverage at home - all you have to do is track down some of the grains. Often friends will be able to share some with you, check out your local health food store, or  visit this website and have them sent to you.

Water Kefir Instructions

(From Feasting at Home)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water kefir grains
  • 8 cups water- divided
  • ½ cup sugar (divided) organic cane, coconut, or a mixture.
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 prunes
  • 1- 1 ½ cups fresh fruit (any will work, but try blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to start)
  • Optional additions- ginger, whole spices, herbs

Tools

  • Three x 2 quart Mason Jars
  • plastic lids
  • strainer
  • cheese cloth (or a thin, breathable kitchen towel)

Directions

Fill 2 half gallon mason jars with 4 cups cool water in each. Add ¼ cup sugar to each, stirring to mostly dissolve. Add ¼ cup kefir grains, lemon wedge and 1 prune to each jar.

Cover both jars with cheese cloth and leave on the counter for 2-3 days. 2 days if warm out, 3 days if cold. This 2-3 time period allows the grains "to eat" the sugar, so most of the sugar will actually be metabolized.

Place fresh fruit in third jar, and add ginger, herbs or spices if you wish.

Strain both jars of the fermenting kefir into the third jar with fresh fruit in it, straining out the kefir grains (set them aside). Fill to a ½ inch from the top, and cover tightly with a lid. Leave on the counter another 24 hours. Your kefir will start bubbling.

"Burp" the kefir every 6-8 hours - open lid to release some gas, then close lid tightly again.

After 24 hours, when fruit floats to the surface, burp it and place in the fridge. Once it's chilled, give it a try. You can strain this and put it in a different pourable container, or just strain as you pour, leaving the fruit in for maximum infusion.

Refrigerate water kefir grains in remaining liquid from merging the original two jars. If you're not making water kefir beverage every week, you'll need to feed the grains with a little sugar & water combo.

Enjoy!