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 felt like the probiotics were really aiding my digestion. Even though my son hasn’t been able to go back on dairy yet, 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 food blogger, but I wanted to compile my kefir information in one spot to send to all the people with whom I’m sharing my water kefir grains. Hope it’s helpful! (If you don’t have a kefir-growing friend nearby, you can order grains from Cultures of Health or an Amazon seller with good ratings.)
How to Make Probiotic Water Kefir (or Kefir Soda)
- ⅓ cup kefir grains
- 1 quart lukewarm water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- lemon slice
- orange zest
- 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
- First Brew: Using a large glass bowl or jar that’s easy to pour from, stir sugar into water until dissolved. Add kefir grains. Cover lightly with a cheesecloth and string, paper towel and rubber band, or plastic wrap. Set in a warm place away from direct sunlight to brew, for 24-48 hours, until bubbly and fizzy.
- Strain: Using a plastic strainer, pour kefir water into a pitcher, reserving the grains for re-use (see step 6).
- Flavor: Add 3 T. desired fruit to the kefir water: a slice of lemon (my favorite!) or other fruit (fresh or dried!) for flavoring.
- 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.)
- Chill: Discard fruit. Chill if desired. Enjoy!
- Rinse & Repeat: Rinse kefir grains and repeat process.
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 ⅓ cup sugar to 1 quart water. Rinse and feed every few weeks.
For Best Results:
Use un-refined sugar.
Use un-chlorinated, un-fluoridated, un-distilled water.
Use glass containers.
Don't use metal containers or utensils.
Other Uses for Kefir (it’s more than just a beverage!)
- in smoothies
- replace buttermilk or vinegar
- soaking grains
- facial masque
- Comment with your favorite kefir uses?
Resources for Kefir Information
Follow Gretchen Louise’s board kefir on Pinterest.
Linking up with…
- Monday Mania @ The Healthy Home Economist
- Slightly Indulgent Tuesday @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
- Kitchen Tip Tuesdays @ Tammy’s Recipes
- WFMW @ We are THAT Family
- Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop
- Homemaking Link-up @ Raising Homemakers
- Pennywise Platter @ The Nourishing Gourmet
- Natural Living Link-up @ Little Natural Cottage
- Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade