My Garden has been a gateway into healthier and more frugal living. It seems every year I find something new to try. Some things are total flops.. others become a way of life that I think nothing about and just do. Water Kefir has become a normal part of our every day lives.
About 6 months ago I started loooking into probiotics. I have a family history of Diverticulitis and had begun having some issues of my own. At 32 with 3 kids I really didn't want to live in pain or be hospitalized, so I began doing research.
In a lot of the more holistic information was that probiotics help keep the gut clean and reduce issues of Diverticulitis. But they were all so expensive. Live cultures were said to work the best, but a 30 day supply was upwards of $30 for one person. Something I really couldn't afford.
I finally came across information on Water Kefir. Grains that grow in sugar water and ferment the water growing good bacteria that helps the gut. They actually eat out most of the sugar, the drink is oddly not sweet unless you make it that way after the first ferment. (there can be trace amounts of acholol depending on what you add and how long it ferments.. As of yet mine has never tasted like it had any. But I don't ferment mine for to long.
You need Kefir grains. About 1/4 of a cup is all you need to start with.
You also will need a plastic strainer. You really don't want to use metal, it can kill the bacteria. Just like in sour dough bread.
You also need un chlorinated water, you can use regular water that has sat out over night or boiled on the stove and cooled, or bottled water. Just make sure it's cool. The grains like warmth but grow better with cooler water to start.
You also need sugar. This is what the grains feed on. Any type of sugar works even plain white sugar. Depending on what sugar you use, you'll get diffrent flavors and different amounts of carbonation. Some times I use a bit of each sugar I have or only white. It just depends on the day.
My basic recipe for the first ferment is:
1/4 to 1/2 cup Kefir Grains
6 cups unchlorinated water
6 Tblsp of Sugar (any mix just as long as it's 6 Tblsp
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of Molasses
Mix together, close and seal lid and let sit for 2 days.
Burp at least once a day so pressure doesn't build.
If you taste it and it's no longer really sweet it's ready for a second ferment.
Remove grains and start another batch.
Take your fermented water and add either fresh fruit, 100% real fruit juice or homemade jam.
Let sit on the counter for up to 2 days, again burping every day at least once maybe more.
Then place in fridge so it gets cold and drink at least a cup a day. You can let it ferment longer if you want a alcoholic drink.
(the first few days drink only a little until your body gets used to it. It can cause a detox effect)
My family loves it with either Ginger or homemade Blueberry jam added.
It turns into a pretty, fresh tasting drink, that even my son loves.
My husband and I have both noticed the benefits of this drink. I am no longer having signs of Diverticulitis, the pain is gone. My Husband who has IBS has had no symptoms since starting to drink this.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Here's to a healthier life, using less money :)