Looking for an alternative to soda and sugar-laden fruit juices? Hoping to find something your kids will enjoy? Fermented beverages offer taste, fizz, and fun in a variety of flavors and forms!
Fermented beverages include dairy kefir, kombucha, beet kvass, and water kefir. The water kefir recipe below can be adapted to suit your tastes and preferences.
Water kefir requires three basic ingredients: Starter, sugar, and water. Don't worry if sugar is not part of your daily diet. The sugar is "eaten" by the grains or starter, and the drink is transformed into a probiotic boost to your immune system.
- Starter. This can be in the form of water kefir grains (small gelatinous masses of beneficial bacteria and yeasts) which multiply and provide kefir indefinitely, or starter packets which eventually must be replaced.
Online sources for water kefir grains include:
Online sources for kefir starter packages include:
- Sugar. A combination of refined and unrefined sugar is optimal. Choose organic when possible. Less processed sugars include whole cane, brown, molasses, and maple syrup. Begin with 3 parts refined to 1 part unrefined sugar.
- Water. Filtered water is recommended, as tap water often contains chlorine and fluoride, which impede the process. If using distilled water, you will want to add extra minerals by including a pinch of sea salt and/or baking soda.
- 4 c. water
- 4 tbsp. sugar
- 4 tbsp. water kefir grains or kefir starter packet
- Sea salt and/or baking soda (optional)
Combine water and sugar; stir until dissolved. If using distilled or highly filtered water, add a pinch of sea salt and/or baking soda for additional minerals. Pour sugar solution into quart-size container or jar. Add water kefir grains or kefir starter packet.
Cover with a breathable cover such as cheesecloth and place on counter at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 24-72 hours.
Strain the grains and enjoy your beverage! For added carbonation, store the drink at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-5 days. Use grains immediately to begin your next batch. (The grains will slowly multiply. These can be stored in the refrigerator or given away!)
Some wonderful additions you might want to try:
- Peeled ginger
- Slice of organic lemon
- Fresh mint
- Fresh fennel
For more creative ways to integrate water kefir into your daily diet, see the Yemoos Nourishing Cultures website.
With a little experimentation and experience, you're bound to come up with a beverage that is both satisfying and nourishing!