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Welcome to my Sustainable addiction! I am a DIY addict, Wife, Mother and Grandmother.  I enjoy sharing my all natural recipes, cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene items, gardening and all things sustainable. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Water Kefir -A Homemade Probiotic Soda

Water Kefir is a homemade Probiotic drink that is quick to assemble, takes only 24-48 hours for the first ferment and after a 2nd ferment period (optional) it becomes a carbonated health drink that can help you to curb those sweet cravings! Water Kefir is a simply amazing alternative to sodas, it works well for those on a restricted "dairy" diet  whether from lactose intolerance or those of us that suffer from High Cholesterol & it is good for your digestive tract much like yogurt is. Kefir consists of lactic acid bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. A great microflora combination with the benefits that are similar to those of milk kefir (dairy kefir) but the average person will be able to consume larger amounts of it due to its water base.


In my research of Water Kefir, I have been blown away on the testimonies of so many people and the benefits that they have received from this drink! Knowing that just because it is on the Internet it does not make it true, I spent hours, okay WEEKS reading every article, blog and message board I could find. I even read reviews of people who purchased the grains to see how it had helped them, if the quality was what they expected etc. Some of the claims were quite astonishing, such as:

GERD problems eased up and some people were weaning off their medicine - This one intrigued me since I suffer from this myself and HATE taking medicine!

IBS, Chrons Disease, Colitis sufferers proclaimed they had been healed of their painful symptoms!

Constipation & Diarrhea relief - regulates bowel movements

Lactose intolerant persons had less problems after staring drinking water kefir.

Arthritis Sufferers reported less inflammation in their joints.

A natural Diuretic - Most people noted this and the importance of staying hydrated with plenty of plain water once you start drinking Water Kefir.

As with anything DIY / homemade / alternative you can find as many claims from A-Z as Carter had liver pills LOL - but the consistent findings listed above had finally peaked my interest enough to buy my first batch and give it a try. After all, a probiotic drink I can make with a little sugar and well water sounded way to tempting to NOT try! The one thing I really liked about it is that with a 2nd fermentation it becomes carbonated much like soda, which had me dreaming of what flavors I could make with whole fruits and give to my family.

One reason I really wanted (NEEDED) to find a alternative to yogurt is because of my high cholesterol. I am a Dairy aholic - I love all things dairy, it is my weakness!

I cannot attest to all of the claims out there on the benefits of drinking Water Kefir, but I can tell you what it has done for me.

I suffer from GERD with frequent heartburn which is controlled with meds..... for years now. Since I have been drinking Water Kefir I rarely have to take my medicine.

I also have arthritis in my neck and hips - the pain and inflammation have been minimal, almost non existent, unless I overwork myself in the garden!

A natural diuretic? YES, it was immediately apparent. I was waking up in the middle of the night because I HAD to go to the bathroom!  I have started drinking it in the early morning which allows the rest of the day for my system to be flushed out so I can sleep through the night again lol

Regulates bowel movements - I have found this to at least if not more effective than yogurt!

Sugar cravings have diminished - WOW and I do have a sweet tooth :))

Once I ordered my grains I followed the directions on the packet and started my first ferment process. It was so successful at growing my grains that I have used it religiously since purchase. I must say that my 4 TBS has grown into 2 FULL quart jars of the grains. I have also learned how to successfully dehydrate the extras for later use, gifting or selling whichever comes first! That sounds like a post for another day!

The recipe I use is this

Water Kefir

4 TBS Water Kefir Grains
3 1/2 Cups Warm water - well water or see below
1/4 Cup Sugar - organic or add 1 Tbsp Mollasses the first couple of batches
1 pinch Baking soda
5-6 Raisins
1 Qt Canning Jar with Band
1 Coffee filter or kitchen towel.


Take sugar and dissolve it in 1/2 cup very hot water. Add remaining COLD water, baking soda and stir with a non metallic spoon. Add in your water Kefir grains and a few raisins. Top the jar with either a coffee filter or Kitchen Towel held on with a top band or rubber band. Let sit on the counter for 24 -48 hours. You will see it bubbling / fermenting. Strain out the Water kefir grains with a nylon mesh strainer and start the above process over.
Your grains can be reused indefinitely. Make sure to remove the raisins from the grains and either eat or throw away. Do not reuse any fruit you put into the grains for your new batch.

Second Fermentation - adds carbonation
After removing the grains from your Water Kefir you can further ferment with dried Fruits, fresh fruits or Juice to add flavoring.  Leave on your counter for another 24-48 hours then put it into your refrigerator to chill and enjoy!
Store the finished Kefir in a container that has a tight fitting lid. I re purpose my Juice bottles for this. If you use Juice in the second ferment, I use a ratio of 1/3 Juice - 2/3 Water Kefir.

The longer you let it sit out to ferment the more bubbly / soda like it will become. Make sure to store the finished water in a jar with a good fitting lid to trap in the bubbles. You will need to burp the jar daily to keep it from exploding.

Flavoring Options:
Cream Soda: After 1st fermentation put in 1/2 Vanilla bean and allow to ferment for another 24 hours on the counter. Place in fridge and enjoy.
Ginger Ale: After 1st Fermentation put in 2 -3 slivers of fresh Ginger Root and allow to ferment for another 24 hours on the counter.
Lemonade / Limeade: After 1st Fermentation put in 1/2 fresh lemon or lime and allow to ferment for another 24 hours on the counter.

The possibilities are endless - Use any fresh or dried fruit in your 2nd fermentation. Experiment and have fun. Your grains will multiply quickly and soon you will have enough to make a gallon at a time! Share with your friends. Make sure to remove & discard all fruits after the 2nd fermentation.

*If using water other than well, make sure to let your water sit out for at least a 1/2 hour to allow for the Fluoride to evaporate. Kefir grains LOVE minerals found in well water and rapidly multiply. If using city water you may need to add in mineral drops to keep your grains healthy. Also make sure NOT to use filtered water as the filters remove all of the minerals. Water Kefir is high in probiotics and multiple vitamins that are enhanced by the fresh / dried fruit that you add to your 2nd fermentation. You can drink it after the first fermentation. I like adding it 1/3 and 2/3 with Juice at this point. The water Kefir is great for those who lactose intolerant or are watching their cholesterol intake. Start slowly with adding it to your diet to see how it reacts to your body. Water Kefir is also said to be a diuretic so make sure to drink plenty of regular water.
When I first started I just took a few sips per day. After a month I was up to about 4 ozs per day (8oz of juice / kefir mixed)

Do any of you enjoy Water Kefir? If so what benefits have you found to be true in your use?

#WaterKefir    #probiotics  #mircoflora   #guthealth  #kefirgrains  #healthyliving   #frugalkitchen