Water Kefir, oh, how I love thee! Seriously, this in my favorite fermented beverage. Between kombucha and water kefir, I do prefer water kefir. Water kefir is much more reliable, the taste is repeatable, and timing is consistent. It is also a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine that is present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink. But unlike kombucha it really is not a detoxifier. They both have a place in the Ward home.
Water kefir is dairy free and just as beneficial as milk kefir. It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast that make up your gut flora. Your internal gut flora supports proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. It simply is another probiotic beverage option which has its own strengths. It offers a nice replacement to those who enjoy soda.
Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugar in the sugar-water. Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic acid producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol. It also contains millions of probiotics, and is more nutritious than milk kefir in some regards because of the bio-available and digestible nutrients from the sugars including an increase in vitamin C and many B vitamins. Folic acid amongst other B vitamins increases as the length of the ferment increases.
Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice is to listen to your own body’s response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).
I’ve learned water kefir grains can go through many phases through the seasons from being small and more uniform looking, or large and full of strange shapes, angles and bumps. They can even become lumpy like cauliflower, or very smooth like glass. They are always semi-transparent, but will be much darker if used with less refined sugar. Their color will also be clear unless used with less refined sugar, in which case they will be light to dark brown in color. This will be an ongoing science of observation as I create different concoctions with various sugars and dried fruit.
You can ferment minerals, herbs, fruits, grains etc. with the help of water kefir grains, thus really opening the doors to a custom blend of nutrients that you can create.
What you will need:
3 Tbs water kefir grains
1/4 cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unrefined sugar)
Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using)
1 Quart Jar
Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp.
Add the water kefir grains
Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band
Store out of direct light and away from other ferments for 24-48hrs. (I put mine in the cupboard) The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out. Don’t leave longer than 48hrs it can starve the grains. When the process is complete the water kefir will be significantly less sweet and the color will be lighter.
The Second Ferment not only creates the carbonation, but increases the B vitamins.
Mix 1 cup of your favorite fruit juice into the strained water kefir. Recently, we discovered we really like white grape!
Citrus is not recommended for this part, as it makes stringy yeast-like things that are not tasty.
Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid (I re-use old store bought kombucha bottles) and allow to sit at room temperature another 24 hours or when bubbles form on the top of the liquid, before refrigerating.
As your grains grow and multiply you will be able to share with your friends.
Check out yemoos.com for more info.