Sunday, November 13, 2011

Water Kefir

When you make a decision to quit drinking soda and things like Kool-Aid or other sugary drinks, it cuts your beverage options way back.  That's where my family has found itself.  We've basically been drinking  water, un-sweet tea or milk, which I don't particularly care for.  Well, I have recently found a solution that not only tastes good, but that is really healthful, too.  Enter water kefir...


I'll save the technical jargon on what kefir grains are exactly and just share some of the benefits of drinking kefir water.


According to ezinearticles.com:

Kefir drink has been known to help in the cure of back pain, neck pain and diverticulitis. It is also believed to help in the detoxification of the intestinal and removal of intestinal parasites. The healthy drink is also known to lower the blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of cardiac arrest by over 30% in mid aged folks.
The drink has been used by athletes to tone their bodies using the folic acid contained in the mixture to improve their circulation and blood pressure. The kefir diet is also used by Yoga trainers and it is also known as the Yoga Masters diet, Jesus diet, vegans diet and marathoners diet. It is true that many people that are serious in their health have used or still continue to use kefir drink as their number one choice in refreshment and healthy drinks.
According to yourkefirsource.com:
Over the years while studying and experimenting on kefir and kefir grains, I have compiled a list of the known benefits that kefir may be able to cure.
Kefir, the miracle food, is known as a superb probiotic source. With rich probiotic content, it automatically has a positive effect on our bodies. Kefir and Kefir grains have been around for centuries and centuries back, and all for a good reason.
I have personally seen many of these health benefits throughout the years and I really do hope it helps you too.
Here are some of the known kefir health benefits:
  1. Strongest natural remedy against any allergy
  2. Strongest natural antibiotic without side effects
  3. Treats liver disease
  4. Treats gallbladder, dissolves gall bladder stones
  5. Clears the body of salts, heavy metals, radionuclides, and alcoholic products
  6. Cleans the body of chemical antibiotics
  7. Treats kidney stones
  8. Good bacteria in kefir are able to fight off pathogenic microorganisms
  9. Lowers level of LDL cholesterol
  10. Cleans the gastrointestinal tract
  11. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  12. Treats gastritis
  13. Treats pancreatitis
  14. Treats ulcers
  15. Prevents and treats colon cancer
  16. Improves digestion
  17. Improves the body functions
  18. Improves the human immune system
  19. Cures Candida
  20. Cures hypertension
  21. Stops growth of cancer cells
  22. Speeds up healing process
  23. Treats psoriasis
  24. Treats eczema
  25. Treats inflammatory diseases
  26. Reduces size of tumors
  27. Treats heart disease
  28. Reverses calcination of blood vessels
  29. Clears the blood vessels
  30. Boosts the bodies energy
  31. Natural “feel good” food
  32. Treats lung infections
  33. Normalizes metabolism thereby can be used as for weight loss
  34. Cures acne
  35. Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties
  36. Nourishes hair
  37. Treats the gum disease parodontosis
  38. Lessens effects of medicines
  39. Replenishes body of good bacteria after antibiotic
  40. Balances the microflora of the body’s digestive system
  41. Regulates blood pressure
  42. Lowers blood sugar
  43. Lowers blood lipid levels or cholesterol and fatty acids
  44. Treats diarrhea
  45. Treats constipation
  46. Promotes bowel movement
  47. Anti-stress properties
  48. Treats sleeping disorders
  49. Treats depression
  50. Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  51. Improves the brains neuro functions like reflexes, memory retention, attention, the five senses
  52. Reduces flatulence
  53. Lactic acid fermentation enhances the digestibility of milk based foods. People who cannot otherwise digest milk, can enjoy the vital calcium rich Kefir.
  54. Treats yeast infection
  55. Eliminates vaginal odors
  56. Cures wrinkles
  57. Treats arthritis
  58. Treats colitis
  59. Treats gout
  60. Cures migranes
  61. Treats rheumatism
  62. Treats other stomach disorders
  63. Detoxifies the body
  64. Improves protein quality of milk, and enhances absorption and digestion
  65. Good bacteria manufacture B vitamins such as B3, B6 and folic acid.
  66. Aids in treating tuberculosis
  67. Treats stomach cramps
  68. Treats chronic intestine infections
  69. Treats liver infections
  70. Treats asthma
  71. Treats bronchitis
  72. Treats sclerosis
  73. Treats anemia
  74. Treats hepatitis
  75. Healing effects on catarrh, digestive nodes, astral nodes, bilious complaints
  76. Treats leaky gut syndrome
  77. Prevents metastasis
  78. Cures bad morning breath
These are but some of the known kefir health benefits.
So, now that you have an idea why it's so good for you, I'll show you how to make it. K?
First, you have to start with kefir grains.  There are kefir grains for water and for milk, so you need to make sure you have the right kind.  They look like clear, little, bumpy balls of jelly.

I bought my grains from Cultures for Health and they came dehydrated.  There were easy instructions to rehydrate the grains.  You can also buy your grains from other sellers on the internet, or get extras from a friends.  Once the grains were rehydrated, the fun stuff began.  
To make a quart of water kefir, you first dissolve 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar in water.  There are a few caveats here.  First, the water can't be chlorinated. So, if you're going to use tap water you either need to let it set overnight so the chlorine can evaporate, or you can run the water in the blender and do the same thing.  Next is the sugar issue.  It is best to use organic because kefir grains are living organisms.  I use organic Sucanat or Rapadura because it also has minerals in it.  But, I started out with plain old white table sugar.  Anyway, after you dissolve the sugar in the water, fill the quart container almost to the top with more water.  When it is room temperature, add your kefir grains.  Then top the container with a coffee filter or cheese cloth secured with a rubber band.

Allow it to sit for 24 hours, then strain the grains out.  Now the kefir can be flavored.  You can drink it now and add juice or vanilla extract to make cream soda.  Or, and this is my favorite, you can add fruit or juice and let it ferment again.  It will become carbonated and be an excellent replacement for soda.


The kefir on the left is ready for it's first ferment.  It is a dark color because of the color of the Sucanat.  You can see on the right that the color is much lighter after the first ferment.  That's because the bacteria and yeast have eaten the sugars.  You can also see the cranberries on the bottom of the right jar flavoring the second ferment.

One of the most awesome things about making kefir and drinking it at home is that you don't need new kefir grains for each batch.  Not only are they are reusable - they will multiply, allowing you to increase the amount of kefir you make or share them with someone you love. <3  I've only had my grains going a couple of weeks and have already been able to spread the love.

So, the moral of the story is this:  if you want to ditch the soda, get hooked on water kefir. :0)


For more detailed recipes see this post.


I'm linking up with:  Homestead Barn HopReal Food 101Monday ManiaHearth and Soul Blog HopTraditional TuesdaysTeach Me TuesdaysFat TuesdayFrugal Days Sustainable Ways blog hopHealthy 2day Wednesdays and Simple Lives Thursday.


34 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I have been wondering about Kefir for a while. Bookmarking! Do Kefir grains tend to be gluten free?

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  2. I have a question about your second fermenting... do you add the kefir grains back in? I've got water kefir grains, but I haven't used them yet! Any more information would be *very appreciated*! Thanks --S

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    1. No, you don't have the grains in the second ferment. I start a new batch with my grains as soon as I strain the current batch.

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  3. Interesting; I haven't read much about water kefir, although I'm familiar with regular dairy-based kefir. And it sounds similar to kombucha but no scoby, which makes it seem easier.

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  4. Okay...this is awesome! You really put a lot of work into this post and it shows! This post is so informative and I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable this Wednesday. And, I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday!

    Warmly,
    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link: http://www.frugallysustainable.com

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  5. wow this was a great post! I would love to start using water kefir but I don't have the funds right now for the grains so if you have some left over some day send them my way. Thanks!
    www.garlicmom.blogspot.com

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  6. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/fat-tuesday-november-15-2011/

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  7. I'm so honored:) Thanks again for linking up today! You're an inspiration!

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  8. This is such an interesting post and an excellent tutorial as well. I didn't know much about water kefir before, but you've really covered it incredibly well! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  9. This seems *nuts* and I'm delightfully intrigued. I have to say, I have never known anyone who drinks kefir, but I'd like to be the first in my circle of friends. I will have to do some more research - that list of benefits is staggering!

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  10. I have learned so much! I am not familiar with kefirs so I appreciated this in depth post. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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  11. Hey Pam, I already read this post somewhere but thought I commented on it, guess not??? I have been wondering about water kefir and how to make it, you made it seems so simple, now I may try it out once I get some grains.

    I would love for you to share posts like this posts over at my link up, Healthy 2day Wednesdays! I hope you'll check it out. (starts at 11pm EST Tuesday nights and open until Saturday afternoon)

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  12. We have extra Kefir water grains for sale. 1/3 cup in Sucanat for $ 8.00 with free shipping. Contact me at trt1@usa.com ~ Keep Yourself Healthy this Winter :)

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    1. Do you still have liver grains for sale? I am new at this and would like you to contact me at my email bjbland@suddenlink.net I have a lot of questions. My name is barbara

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  13. It's me, Bonnie, from HH :) So happy to have found you on here! What a great article...think I'm going to try it :)

    If you still have extra grains you're willing to sell, please let me know via email. And I'd love to get together to knit one of these days :)

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  14. Hi, Bonnie! I'll hook you up, girl. :0) I'm in MI still and will e-mail you when I get home next week. I don't have my HH addresses with me. I hope you and your family had a good Christmas. I look forward to getting together. :0)

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  15. Love your blog, great info, I plan to do ginger beer and probably many other flavors. I have done a lot of reading & ordered grains today so I think now I have 1 question before I am actually ready to start.....In reading your folllow up blog to this one, you stated lemon or other flavor can be added on ferment 1. My question is this, if you put lemon or other flavoring in the first ferment, does that not flavor the grains for future batches?
    Thanks for all the great info!

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    1. Some people do put fruit juice in the first ferment with the grains. I do not do this because it can be hard on the grains. If I add lemon juice or some other kind of juice - I do it after I remove the grains. It doesn't have to be fermented a second time. I don't know if keeping the grains in with the juice would flavor them or not as I haven't tried it myself. Sorry I couldn't be of help with that question. Good luck with your kefir and ginger beer! Thanks for dropping by!

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  16. I buy kefir at the supermarket but I have been meaning to try home made kefir. How is the taste of water kefir can it be plain and how much does it change the taste of water?

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    1. Hi Madeline!

      Although I've never actually had milk kefir, I'm sure it's a completely different bird from water kefir. Water kefir doesn't actually taste like water when it's finished. It has it's own flavor. Depending how long you let it ferment for it can be from slightly sweet to tangy. And, if you forget and let it go too long it will turn to vinegar. That's the beauty of making these things at home - you can suit them to your taste preference. We always flavor ours with some sort of juice, but there's no reason you can't leave it plain if you like it that way. :-)

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  17. Thank you for this great post! I would like to get my son to switch from regular soda to water kefir soda. I made some water kefir and it tasted alcoholic to me. Do you get that flavor? Or do you know how to not get it? We don't drink alcohol so maybe I am more sensitive to it. Also concerned about contributing to any candida we have. Thanks for any help you can give me!

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    1. It often does have a bit of that smell/taste because of the fermenting process. You may want to try before the second ferment and see if that helps. There is so much more information coming out about the benefits of fermented foods (and drinks like kefir) in diet. About 80% of our immune system is in our guts and fermented foods help to build it up. However, I haven't really done the research on the effects of kefir on candida since that's not something that we've personally dealt with. I'm sorry I can't be of more help there. Try doing an internet search on the effects of kefir on candida and see what you come up with. If you find anything out, feel free to let us know! :-) Thanks for weighing in and commenting! Good luck to you!

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  18. JOOLS just a question from a kefir convert
    have heard that honey is not suitable?
    Are honey dipped figs OK? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. I'm not really sure. Are you wanting to add the figs to the second ferment?

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  21. Thanks for writing up the list of benefits. That's exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for!

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  22. Just a note to all those wanting to make your own kefir water--avoid straining them with anything metal because it harms the kefir grains. Also, because white sugar is more refined, consider using organic, as this post said, or brown sugar "feed" the kefir grains--it's better for them and for the person drinking it!

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