of water, probiotics, and kefir soda

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When our third little one had tummy issues and I had to go off dairy, people started recommending probiotics.  But I didn’t know where to start.  So I didn’t.

Until a friend asked if I was interested in some water kefir grains.

I’d only ever heard of milk kefir—and sour milk didn’t sound appetizing to me, let alone anyone in my family.  (I mean, despite my friend’s easy-peasy sounding recipe for homemade yogurt, I haven’t tried that yet, either.  Did I mention we’re yogurt snobs around here?  Let me know if you find a homemade yogurt recipe that is anywhere equal to our favorite brands, Brown Cow and Zoi Greek!)

But water kefir?  The recipes I found online actually sounded like it could be good!  And just a glance at the purported health benefits convinced me it was worth a try.  I wouldn’t even be wasting expensive milk!

After just a few weeks of drinking kefir, I decided to try introducing a bit of milk and cheese back into my diet.  And so far, it has yet to result in any spitting up from my son!  Maybe he’s just outgrowing his dairy intolerance.  But I’m guessing all those good probiotics coming through mommy’s milk have at least something to do with it.  And considering how the kefir seems to be aiding my digestion as well, I think I’ll just keep right on drinking these incredibly frugal probiotics!

My favorite easy flavoring is a slice of lemon.  But the best kefir soda I’ve had so far was when I mixed it with leftover mashed, frozen strawberries.

I’m not a natural foods blogger, but I wanted to compile my favorite links and resources here for all the people I’m sharing my water kefir grains with.  Hope it’s helpful!  (If you don’t have a kefir-growing friend nearby, you can order grains from Cultures of Health.)

Have you tried kefir?  I’d love to hear your kefir experiences and favorite links in the comments!

How to Make Water Kefir (or Kefir Soda)

Main Components

  • 1/3 cup kefir grains
  • 1 quart lukewarm or cold water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I prefer the flavor of brown sugar) or Sucanat

IMG_6649Optional Flavorings

  • lemon slice
  • orange zest
  • cranberries
  • raisins
  • strawberries
  • mangos
  • figs or prunes
  • blueberry-pomegranate juice
  • raspberry juice
  • grape juice
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla extract per quart
  • a tablespoon of whole caraway, anise, or fennel seed
  • fresh mint leaves
  • Click here for more ideas!
  • Comment with your favorite kefir flavorings?

Step 1: First Brew

Using a large bowl or jar that’s easy to pour from, stir sugar into water until dissolved.  Add kefir grains.

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Cover lightly with a cheesecloth and string, paper towel and rubber band, or plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place to brew, for 24-48 hours, until bubbly and fizzy.

Step 2: Strain

Using a plastic strainer, pour kefir water into a pitcher, reserving the grains.

Step 3: Flavor

Add desired fruit to the kefir water: a slice of lemon (my favorite!) or other fruit (fresh or dried!) for flavoring.

Step 4: Second Brew

Continue to brew for up to 7 days until desired fizziness.  (Change out fresh fruit every 24 hours—dried fruit can be kept in the brew for up to a week.)

Step 5: Chill

Discard fruit.  If using a lemon slice for flavor, squeeze the lemon juice into the kefir water.  Chill if desired.  Enjoy!

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Step 6: Rinse & Repeat

Rinse kefir grains and repeat process.

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IMG_6650Storing Extra Grains

Kefir grains naturally reproduce, leaving you lots of grains to share with friends!  Store extra grains in the refrigerator in a loosely-covered jar, with 1/4 cup sugar to 1 quart water.  Rinse and feed every few weeks.

Water Kefir Notes/Tips

  • Use filtered well water (no chlorine!).
  • Do not use hot water (it could kill the kefir!).
  • Do not use metal spoon/strainer/bowl (metal reacts with the kefir).
  • Store in glass or food-grade plastic.
  • Brew away from direct light.
  • “Feed” with a dollop of black strap molasses once in a while, for more minerals/flavor.

Other Uses for Kefir (it’s more than just a beverage!)

Water Kefir Tutorials/Recipes:

Dairy Kefir Tutorials/Recipes:

Other Kefir Tutorials/Recipes/Tips:

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Linking up with…

(Recipe edited November 2012 to show the correct time for adding flavorings – after you’ve taken out the grains.  I was killing my grains with the citrus!)

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Comments

  1. Vanessa Mullins says

    I read that if you use prunes or prune juice you would get the taste similar to Dr. Pepper. Anyone tried this? I would love to find something to make mine taste like Coke!! I am addicted but it’s wreaking havoc on my gut. We have tried pomegranate blueberry and white grape and it’s delicious.

  2. Valerie says

    Wow! All recipes and images provided here looks so mouth-watering! Really delicious especially because it also have probiotics in it. Probiotics is a must-have supplement nowadays simply because it helps make our digestive system healthy which in effect, helps us have a more improved immune system.

  3. says

    This looks like just the ticket for me! I am addicted to fizzy beverages… weaned myself off of diet soda years ago (with only an occasional indulgence) but I seriously crave seltzer. At 50 cents a liter, it’s much cheaper than soda, but still an indulgence for me. To have my fizzy drink and have it be healthy too? And frugal? Oh be still my heart♥

  4. Lisa says

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your post! I have been experimenting with water kefir several times now. I originally tried months ago with organic sucanat sugar – with successful results; however I wasn’t fond of the strong flavor. Upon reading Keeper of the Home’s website the other day I tried organic sugar (lighter in color and flavor I guess) and tolorated the flavor much much better!!! I then tried an orange kefir soda, and drank it last night! It was very nice! It had a little fizz to it. Next time I will let it sit an extra day, maybe two to try and attain a little extra fizziness. There’s a big batch of plain kefir water brewing now, and when it’s done I plan to try strawberry kefir soda and orange again.

    • says

      Lisa, have you had any issues with the citrus killing the kefir grains? I just edited my post because originally I was putting the lemon slice in at the same time as the grains, but after my grains stopped replicating, I learned that citrus can kill them. So now I put the lemon slice in the kefir soda after I’ve strained out the kefir grains.

  5. åslaug says

    I’m really excited about this! Both that you’ve been able to have some dairy (my boy doesn’t have issues with dairy in his mama-milk, but I’ve thought a lot about you and others I know who’ve had to lay off the dairy for a while, and all the large and small challenges that comes with that..) AND trying water kefir.
    I’ve read about water kefir before, but kind of decided it was out of my league. However, your pretty picture of strawberry kefir intrigued me (along with the health benefits, of course ;) )
    I’m ordering my first grains today, and I wanted to get buy them through your link (because I think you get some cents from that, and it’s a tiny thank you for all the joy I get from reading your blog)… *out of breath, long sentences has been my downfall since sixth grade*. Anyhow, your link in this post doesn’t work. Just thought you’d like to know ;)
    Now I will end my insanely long comment and try your Amazon search-thingie, hopefully it sends you a thank-you cent too ;)

    • says

      Oops, not sure how that link got broken. But I meant to change it, anyway, because my friend Jessica ordered some from Amazon and they came floating in water, not dehydrated at all! So if yours look iffy, you might want to return them and pay a bit more for them from Cultures for Health. Sorry I didn’t get that updated sooner.
      By the way? Your comments make me smile. ;) ;) Thank you for trying to send the thank you cents. ;)

  6. says

    I’ve loved dairy kefir in the past, but I seem to be developing an intolerance for most dairy products, so I haven’t had any in awhile.
    I’d never even heard of water kefir until I read your post here! I immediately ordered some grains and I have my first batch “brewing” right now!
    I can’t wait to try it out, thanks! :-)

  7. says

    Thanks so much for linking up, Gretchen! I’m featuring you this week. :)

    I am definitely going to try this recipe! My kids actually love milk kefir… goat’s milk kefir, no less. I know… you are probably choking about now (me too, lol!).

    Needless to say, STRAWBERRY kefir will likely be a huge hit!

    • says

      One of these days I’m going to find some goat’s milk or raw cow milk and try making kefir that way, I promise. In the meantime, I’m working up my courage to make some homemade yogurt with storebought cow’s milk. ;) But yes, strawberry kefir is the yummiest. Guaranteed! ;)

      Thanks so much for featuring my post!

  8. Samantha says

    I’ve made both kinds of kefir- the milk with the goats’ milk we used to have. I still have both kinds of grains so I really should get back into making it!

  9. Rebecca says

    I find this “water kefir” fascinating. We eat a lot of dairy kefir around here. I find it very important for feeling my best–the probiotics are great!

    I also make homemade yogurt, not quite like the blog link you posted, but it also comes out very thick and yummy tasting (and I’m a yogurt snob too :-) ). The trick is to use creamy raw milk; ours comes from a local farm who has Jersey cows, and does that ever make for creamy, rich milk!

  10. says

    I am so glad it has worked for your family miss Gretchen! I have a batch going right now that I made out of weak tea… it is yummo so far, but I am doing the second ferment for the fizzy effect.

    And regarding the yogurt, girl, it is easy. I have two batches in the wood cookstove warming oven today. If I can do it without “real” appliances (fridge and stove), you can do it!

    (psst… I should have some dairy kefir kids soon too–course I use mine in soy, rice or coconut milk, but I can share these little fellas too.)

    Blessings.

  11. says

    You’ve inspired me to start again! :) I just asked a friend for some new grains…I’m excited to get back at it. How often do you make a new batch?

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