Taste The Ancient Secret of Digestive Health – See How Easy!
3 Lessons in Fermented Foods and Drinks Increase Your Probiotic Intake – Lesson 3
In this series, we will learn some super simple, effective and wallet friendly ways to produce your own gut health products.
If you’ve spent very much time perusing the aisles of health food sections, you may have noticed drinks such as Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Superdrink. At around $4.00 for less than 16 ounces, the price seems a little exorbitant, especially considering how easy and inexpensive it is to make these beverages yourself.
Water kefir is a rich source of probiotics, naturally fizzy and a wonderful alternative to syrupy sodas. The process of making it is so easy that it becomes a fun way to incorporate probiotics into your daily diet. The kiddos love it and will benefit from the probiotics as well.
Once you source your water kefir grains, get them rehydrated and begin the process of making water kefir daily, or once every 2-3 days, depending on your environment and how long you choose to let it ferment. During warmer months, I usually make it every 1-2 days. During cooler months, it takes a little longer to ferment, so I give it 2-3 days before straining.
First gather the equipment needed for water kefir. This includes:
- Water kefir grains
- Organic sugar or sucanat
- Pinch of sea salt or baking soda or liquid minerals
- Small plastic strainer
- Filtered water
- Bottles for fizzy kefir
If you choose to do a second fermentation (see below) with fruit juice for a fizzy drink, you will need bottles. I have used canning jars and other glass jars with tight fitting lids. What I’ve found to be the best recycled bottle to use is glass Worcestershire bottles. They work great! Recycle what you can including sauce bottles, beer bottles and glass jars.
Putting It All Together
For One Quart – Multiply the Quantities for More
1. Filtered water – add to the jar about ¾ of the way full.
2. Stir the sugar (and liquid minerals or baking soda) into the water until it dissolves
Use ¼ cup organic sugar per quart of water.
Organic sugar or sucanat is best to use instead of processed white sugar because the organic sugar and sucanat still have minerals left in them, whereas white sugar has been stripped of minerals.
I have magnesium oil on hand, so I just spray a few sprays in the jar with the sugar each time. You can use a pinch of baking soda or sea salt instead of liquid minerals
3. Add kefir grains.
4. Cover with a paper filter and rubber band and allow to sit undisturbed for 24-48 hours.
There may be bubbles and you may see some of the grains floating in the water after a few hours. This means your water kefir grains are happy! As the water kefir ferments, the kefir grains will digest most of the sugar, so the end result will be a beverage full of healthy probiotics with very little sugar left.
The Drink That Reproduces Itself!
When fermenting time is over, strain your kefir grains and start all over. Always use a plastic strainer, because metal is harmful to the grains. I use a glass pitcher bowl and put my strainer above it. Pour the water kefir and grains into the plastic strainer and allow it to catch all of the grains while the liquid goes into the bowl. Put sugar and water back into the jar, stir and add the kefir grains to ferment again.
How To Get Really Fizzy!
After the kefir grains have settled back in their jar with sugar water and minerals, mix the strained water kefir and bottle for a second fermentation – You don’t have to do a second fermentation. The first fermentation is really good with lemon added for lemonade or with vanilla extract for cream soda. But if you want it to be fizzy like a carbonated beverage, you’ll need to add fruit juice and cap tightly for 24 more hours. I get best results for carbonation with grape juice or a blended juice with grape in it. Play around with how much juice you like. I use 1 part juice to 8 parts water kefir and bottle with a tight fitting lid. When it’s warm, around 75 degrees or so, it’s ready within 24 hours. In cooler weather, it may take a little longer.
6 Great Combos for Your First Ferment
2. Lemon ginger (juice of lemon and grated ginger)
3. Pineapple orange
4. Cream soda (vanilla extract added to plain water kefir)
5. Chocolate (chocolate syrup added to plain water kefir)
6. Coconut mango (shredded coconut and mango)
4 Second Ferment Winners
2. Berry blend
3. Apple and grape blend
4. Grape, cranberry and pomegranate
Punch Drunk – Is there Alcohol In Kefir?
As with all fermented foods and beverages, water kefir does have a trace amount of alcohol. When done correctly, water kefir has no more alcohol than a piece of ripe fruit, but if left fermenting too long, the alcohol content will become discernible.
Where to Get Your Supplies
I purchased my starter culture for Villi yogurt and water kefir online from the website: Cultures for Health. I have no affiliation with this company, I just believe they have high quality products and I’ve had good success with my yogurt and water kefir from them.
Rehydrate Your New Kefir Grains
When you order a culture that comes through the mail, it must first be rehydrated and then it will be ready to use. So if you’re new to cultured foods and want to get started on yogurt or water kefir right away, just remember to give yourself a few days in the beginning for the process of rehydrating the culture.
Let’s Get Started!
Now’s the time to start collecting resources and have some fun following the lessons as a base, and then experimenting with your own combos. Let us know how you get on and share your tips with other members of the Yogasync Community by leaving us a comment below.