• I Drink Soda Everyday (Water Kefir Basics)

    by  • April 17, 2012 • fermented foods, How To, Water Kefir • 62 Comments

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    15632_10151566545211608_877777176_nWater Kefir “soda” that is! We gave up drinking conventional soda years ago on our journey to natural and I wanted something to replace it with that would have health benefits.

    About a year-and-a-half ago I began making water kefir and experimenting with different flavors. My children eagerly (well, some more than others) taste test all my concoctions! 

    Water kefir is a fermented drink cultured with kefir grains. These grains are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The strains are held together in what is known as a polysaccharide matrix. They feed off of sugar and multiply. The result is a probiotic, fizzy drink that is healthy and beneficial to drink daily. Adding probiotic foods to your diet will help heal the gut and keep it healthy. *Digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and yeast infections.

    Making water kefir is very easy. The first time I made it I purchased my grains dehydrated from Cultures for Health and rehydrated them. (I highly recommend signing up for their free newsletter. They are offering a free kefir recipe book download to subscribers.)

    Another way to get grains is from a friend. They multiply quickly so your kefir making friends will be looking for new homes for their extras. (I do ship fresh water kefir grains within the United States but I have a limited supply due to teaching local classes. Comment and I’ll email you with availability.)

    Water Kefir Grains

    Here’s a list of everything you will need for the first ferment:

    Water Kefir Grains, quart size ball jar with sprouting lid or plastic strainer (metal negatively affects the grains), large measuring cup, filtered water (chlorine kills the grains), liquid minerals (optional), organic raisins or other organic dried fruit (sulfur from non-organic dried fruit kills the grains), sucanat or organic evaporated cane sugar.

    To make one quart of water kefir: In the quart jar or measuring cup, mix 1/4 cup sucanat or evaporated cane sugar with some warm filtered water and dissolve.

    Fill with cool water about an inch from the top (if working with the ball jar).

    As long as the water is no more than lukewarm, add the kefir grains (if working with dehydrated grains, follow the instructions on package).

    Add a few organic raisins and optional liquid minerals (my water is super filtered and my grains do better by adding minerals).

    Place the lid on the jar and let sit on the counter for 24-48 hours. I usually open the lid once during the ferment to let it “burp”. The fizz produced by the fermentation process causes pressure to build up in the jar and it’s best to release it.

    1st and 2nd ferment. See how the grains float in the jar?

    For the second ferment:

    This is where you get to flavor your water kefir. It’s the fun part! I like to use frozen fruit unless I am making lemon-lime flavored kefir. The frozen fruit seems to infuse the water better than fresh.

    Open the jar and take the floating now rehydrated fruit out with a spoon. Using your sprouting lid or strainer, strain the kefir into your measuring cup or another glass jar and keep the grains in the original jar. No need to rinse them between uses.

    Place a few pieces of your fruit of choice into the water kefir and add a few more raisins if you would like.( Some of our favorites are pineapple-mango, strawberry, raspberry, banana, and blueberry.)

    Sometimes I add a pinch of baking soda to help increase the fizz. Cover and leave on the counter for another 24 hours or longer if you like a more sour kefir.

    When the second ferment is to your liking, strain out the fruit and store in the refrigerator. The water kefir will become more fizzy with time so be sure to let it “burp” now and then if you store it for any length of time. I drink mine frequently but if you don’t, it will keep in the fridge for at least a few weeks.

    2nd Ferment. Lemon-Lime flavor.

    That’s it! Very simple and you will never miss conventional soda again! Everyone I have met that does water kefir has their own method that works for them. I encourage you to find what works for you and stick with it.

    Enjoy!

    *I am not a doctor. Please see you healthcare provider for medical advice.

     

    This post contains affiliate links.

    SarahPAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

    About

    Sarah is a crunchy, Eco-chic wife, homeschooling mama to four lively children, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She's a Certified Health Coach, Natural Living Consultant and Essential Oil Connoisseur. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).

    http://www.realfoodoutlaws.com

    62 Responses to I Drink Soda Everyday (Water Kefir Basics)

    1. April 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Absolutely LOVE this stuff. I think it’s going to see a big increase in popularity soon. The classes I’ve taught have been well attended and I’ve “converted” many. My picky Coke loving friend even said she’d drink it!
      Great site! Keep in touch – we have lots in common…beginning with the kids!

      • April 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

        Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by! Just checked out your great blog! Kefir is amazing, isn’t it!?! Wish I would have marketed it before Kevita did. That stuff is $3 a bottle at Whole Foods.

    2. Kristin
      May 11, 2012 at 8:06 am

      Question for you! I’m on my first batch with grains from a friend. 48 hours later and it tastes like sugar water. I’ve been completely off sugar for 4 months now and I’m worried that the water kefir hasn’t eaten enough of the sugar and I don’t want to re-start a sugar habit. Also, there was no pressure when I opened the jar.

      I used 1/4 c. sugar in 1 quart of water with the water kefir grains.

      I haven’t done my 2nd ferment yet. Would it eat up more of the sugar?

      • May 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

        Hi Kristin,

        It sounds like the grains are a bit on the inactive side. It might take a few tries to get them to restart. I would dump out the water and retry. It shouldn’t taste very sweet at all and you should see bubbles when you tilt the jar, even on the first ferment. Hope that helps!

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    7. G
      August 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      I would like to know how to get kefir grains without having to purchase them. evidently someone somewhere knows how to cultivate (perhaps not right word) the kefir grains to start with in order to not depend on getting them from someone else. I have tried to get Kombucha recipe to start your own mother too. and no one seems to know how to start these from scratch other than to use a mother that is already in existence. please tell me there is someone out there who knows how this can be done. do we have things in our home that will start this active culture up if we just knew how to mix it?

      • August 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        Hi! I don’t think you can create your own starters without having some that have been passed down to you. You can start a kombucha SCOBY from a bottle of store-bought kombucha…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As for water kefir grains, it’s such a specific bacteria and it’s been propagated from generation to generation.

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    12. Jess
      October 23, 2013 at 8:48 am

      My water kefir turns out amazing! Except…the grains have never floated – they are always sitting on the bottom! Are they supposed to float, and why aren’t they floating? TIA.

      • October 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

        Hi Jess! It’s ok if they don’t float! I get a few that will once in a while but they are the ones that have gotten big. In the cooler months mine seem to stay small.

    13. October 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Thanks for the reminder for me to get water kefir grains! Is there any benefit to getting fresh, from you or a friend;) or from Cultures for Health?? Really excited about getting started on this!

      • October 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        Hi Dana! Fresh just seem to work better….at least they did for me. Dried are a little more temperamental and if you are an impatient person like me, it can be tricky.

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    15. Anita
      October 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Is kefir expensive

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    17. kimberly
      November 3, 2013 at 4:43 am

      Hello-I love reading your posts and can’t wait to start making some stuff from here. First thing is the Water Kefir drinks. Are you still mailing fresh water kefir grains and if so I would love some to start with. Thank you

      • November 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

        Hi Kimberly! Thank you! Water kefir is my favorite! Yes, I do mail kefir grains. I will send you an email later today with details.

    18. Melody
      November 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

      I would love to get more info on geting some water kefir grains. I really want to try this.

    19. Cora Dotson
      November 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Hi, great post. I have been doing some research, I am new to making fermented foods, was going to try a kombucha first, but this seems so fast and easy. Do you have any fresh grains left?

      • November 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        Hi Cora! Yes, I do. I can email you details if you’re interested. Just LMK!

    20. Cora Dotson
      November 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Wonderful, here’s my email: coradotson@gmail. Thanks for your time :)

    21. Laura
      December 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      This is great! Just starting to ferment, interesting stuff to me when you are told your whole life about food being “spoiled” if it looks and smells vinegary (or, I was). I have made some Kombucha, wonderful stuff, but would like to try the water kefir if you have any grains to share. Thank you.

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    23. Tiffany Herlihy
      December 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Hi, I am looking for some water kefir grains. I would love to try some out. Both my brothers and brother-in-law, have crohn’s and I have UC. My daughter has sensory processing disorder and is gluten intollerant. Mom has pulmonary sarcoidosis. The more I research, the more I find it all pointing to micro-flora imbalance in the gut. I want to get a hold of some water crystals that WILL reproduce so that I can share with my family and friends. Most people I hear of have crystals that don’t want to multiply. Could you be so kind to direct me to somebody that would help us obtain crystals that will reproduce? Thanks in advance, bright blessings this season.

      • February 6, 2014 at 8:04 pm

        Hi Tiffany. I am emailing you about my water kefir grain availability.

    24. January 3, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      We make goats milk kefir and yogurt and cheeses, kombucha, sauerkraut and we’re starting on a batch of kimchi, but most of these are foods that we like and the kids don’t. This, on the other hand… I’d love to find out more

    25. Katherine K
      January 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I would like to do this but need the grains. Can I get them from you or do I need to do a search online? And are these kefir grains different from the type used to make regular kefir? I have many gut dysfunction issues and am auto immune, so am looking to get things right and add fermented foods into my diet. This seems like a good way for someone who doesn’t like sour cabbage, etc. Just found a recipe for Ginger Bug I’m also anxious to try!

      • January 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

        Hi Katherine, I usually do have some available to sell but I have been teaching water kefir classes locally and have exhausted my supply. I would get them from the link in the post through cultures for health. Milk kefir grains and water kefir grains are different. Good Luck! Fermented foods do make such a difference.

    26. Katherine K
      January 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Sarah, I was able to order some water kefir grains, a double batch, and the instructions said to add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, cover with coffee filters, and keep at 70 degrees for 24-48 hours. I did that, for 36 hours, keeping them near a small electric radiator we use in one of our spare rooms to keep our worms warm during the winter. I just changed the water in them, and followed your instructions to add 1/4 cup organic raw sugar to lukewarm water and fill the rest of the jar with clear water. I only have filtered water at the moment, will get spring next trip out, so to compensate I added some organic, unsulphured molasses which I read somewhere else I think. I don’t have raisins on hand after Christmas baking but will get some soon.

      I noticed on one jar that the grains had plumped a bit and seemed like there was more than when I started the batch. The other jar looked about the same as when I got them. I also noticed that they were both a bit gelatinous. Having never seen water kefir grains before, I’m not sure if that’s the way they are supposed to look! They are smaller than a small pea. Not sure how big they should get.

      My first batches are to establish the grains and get them healthy. This is not a good time to be making mistakes I suppose. Because of using so much brown sugar the first time out the resulting product was still very sweet, and with using coffee filters instead of the jar lid, most of the fizz escaped. I did notice a few bubbles rising when I turned the jar to examine it though.

      I think I’m doing okay, but having nothing to compare to it makes it a guessing game. My main question is about the warmth. How much is too much, and did the heat make the one jar not grow? I also have a yogurt incubator, which is 110 degrees, and is that too warm? I live in the Pacific northwest, a block from the ocean, and it’s pretty chilly in most of my house. The electric radiator heater is on low most of the time for the worms and is the only consistently warm place in the house.

      Sorry this is so long. I find reading other people’s questions helpful, so maybe my ignorance can help others :-)

      • January 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        Hi Katherine. You don’t want them too warm. 75-80 degrees is ideal but my house is 63 degrees right now and I’m making water kefir daily. If it’s too sweet, let ferment for up to 48 hours. Water kefir MUST be cultured with a lid on. It will be contaminated otherwise. For more troubleshooting info, I recommend Cultures for Health: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/water-kefir-grains-troubleshooting-faq-advice/

        • Katherine K
          January 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

          Thanks Sarah! I have put lids on this fresh batch, I just used coffee filters the first time because that’s what the instructions said to do. My house is rather cold most of the time, even in the summer because of where I’m located, so using the electric radiator heater is going to work fine. I just need to check the space with a thermometer to make sure I space them a proper distance from the heater to keep at the appropriate temp. Heat is expensive because we are remote, so I wear sweaters, but gotta keep those worms warm :-)

          This new batch I will probably consume, and with less sugar I think 36 hours will be fine. Thanks for the link. I think I’ve been there before but forgot to bookmark it! I also started a batch of ginger bug today and am looking forward to all this fermented liquid goodness. Thanks so much for the good work you do to contribute to the health of others.

          • January 20, 2014 at 6:59 pm

            Hi Katherine. You’re welcome! My instructions for water kefir don’t say to use a coffee filter. They say to use a lid. For kombucha you use a coffee filter or towel but not water kefir.

            • Katherine K
              January 20, 2014 at 7:34 pm

              Sorry, I wasn’t clear. The instructions that came with my kefir grains said to use a coffee filter. I also noticed at the link you sent me, they also say use a coffee filter. I would prefer to use a lid…don’t have to keep replacing that! Thanks again and sorry for the confusion.

            • January 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

              Got it! I was thinking about why I don’t use a cheesecloth or coffee filter…it’s been so long since I started making water kefir. The reason was that I have so many other ferments going on in my house at any given time that I was concerned about cross-contamination from them….not that the air itself would contaminate it. Sorry if I confused you.

    27. Dave
      February 5, 2014 at 12:13 am

      The only kefir I have ever had is the store bought kind, which I really like. I am looking forward to trying water kefir. If you can send any water kefir grains I would be very grateful.
      Thanks for all the great information on this website.

      • February 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        Hi Dave. I will email you about the availability of water kefir grains.

    28. taya
      February 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Hello. I’d like to try some water kefir. Is it possible to get some from you? And what would be the cost? And also do you know if water kefir or milk kefir is okay if you are on paleo diet? Thanks a lot. I love your blog.

      • February 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Hi Taya. I will email you. Fermented foods are fine on a paleo diet. Strict paleos don’t do dairy though.

    29. Elaine Britton
      February 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Thank you for maintaining this site,making my own water kefir is exactly what I have been looking forward to. Please email me about the availability of water kefir grains.

    30. Katherine K
      March 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Sarah, I learned from the best (you) and now I’m up to my neck in water kefir grains. I consume about a gallon a week, make some for two friends, and have 6 jars going at all times. But the surplus of grains is adding up quickly. When I make a batch using 1/2 coconut water I can be guaranteed that my grains will double! I have given so many away, have a sign at our local health food store and so far no takers, so if you have people asking for grains when you’re out please email me and I can share mine. Right now I have a half gallon jar about 2/3 full. Free to a good home!

      Thanks for getting me started on this. LOVE my strawberry lemonade water kefir…it’s like drinking liquid sunshine :-)

      • March 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

        That’s so awesome, Katherine! You are so welcome and thank you for offering water kefir grains!!

        • Alyssa
          April 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm

          Sarah- I love the info you have on water kefir. It actually answered a couple if my questions that no other sites have answered so thank you!! I would live to get some grains from you or Katherine K if you still have any. Thanks!!

          • Katherine K
            April 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

            I’m going to be out of town for about two weeks starting the 7th of April so if I need to get something in the mail I need the mailing info asap so i can mail it tomorrow (Saturday). Otherwise I’ll be back in two weeks if you want to wait that long! I know I couldn’t :-) Just reply and it will go to my inbox. Thanks, Katherine

            • Alyssa
              April 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm

              Hi Katherine….I would love to get some grains from you! I don’t want to post my mailing address on the blog but would you mind emailing me at the following address and I will email you my address? Thanks so much for being willing to share some- I will gladly mail you postage!

              maa070607 (at) yahoo.com

              Thanks,
              Alyssa

      • Alyssa
        April 4, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Hi Katherine- not sure if my comment to your post to me went thru but if you will email me at maa070607 (at) yahoo.com I will email you back my mailing address! Thanks!!! Alyssa

    31. Alyssa
      April 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Katherine- it looks like my response to you wont get to you in time to mail me grains before you leave (it’s still waiting to be moderated) So no worries….I can wait till you get back. Just send me an email at the address I left and we can touch base when you get back. Thanks so much for your willingness to share!! Talk to you soon.

      Alyssa

    32. Laura
      April 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Hi, interested in your availability of water kefir grains to share. Thanks you!

      • Katherine K
        April 8, 2014 at 12:59 am

        Laura, I have an abundance of grains to share but I’m out of town right now and won’t be back home for two weeks.If you email me your address I’ll get you some as soon as I get back!

        • Laura
          April 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

          So thankful to you! ldjson@yahoo.com. And… do you work with or have any milk kefir grains to share also?? It will be my next adventure. Thanks.

        • Laura
          April 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

          Not sure how to get a private email to you with my address…

          • Katherine K
            April 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

            I don’t do milk kefir because I no longer have access to raw milk and refuse to drink the store stuff.
            You might have to contact Sarah and get my email. I don’t know how Alyssa got it. Sarah, you have permission yo give it out.

            • Alyssa
              April 11, 2014 at 6:29 am

              Laura, I actually left my “junk”email address on here as you can see above for Katherine to email me.

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