By Lisa DeNardo
I started making water kefir about two years ago when a friend of mine gifted me some of her water kefir grains. When I moved, the grains moved with me…but they were forgotten in the back of our refrigerator. Nine months and another move later, I decided to bring those grains back to life to fulfill their purpose. Their purpose? To help us be healthy, of course!
Water kefir grains, also known as tibicos, are “a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria,” according to Wikipedia. “The microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture.” In other words, water kefir is a great way to give your body a good dose of probiotics. My favorite aspect is that you can reuse the grains forever, which is a cost-effective way to add probiotics to your diet without having to buy pricey supplements.
- Mason jar, quart-size
- Plastic strainer
- Glass container
- 1/4 cup high-quality sugar
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Cold water to fill
- 1/4 cup water kefir grains*
- 1 Tbs. blackstrap molasses
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1. Place 1/4 cup sugar in the bottom of a quart-size mason jar.
Add 1/2 cup hot water, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
2. Once the sugar has dissolved, fill the jar to 2 inches from the top with cold water and add the grains. Every other batch, add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to the hot sugar water. Molasses provides minerals that help kefir grains reproduce and stay strong. It’s good for us as well, providing carbohydrates, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and potassium for our daily diet.
3. Once the batch is all set, put a lid on it and let it sit on the counter for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. This is when the miraculous act of fermentation happens, turning the resulting water kefir into a slightly sweet and bubbly beverage.
4. Once 24 to 48 hours have gone by, strain the grains and water kefir through a plastic strainer into a square Pyrex container. (Glass containers prevent the leaching of metals due to the high acidity of the kefir water and grains. The square shape makes it easier to pour the kefir water into mason jars without spilling.)
5. Once the strained kefir is in the mason jar, squeeze a lemon into it and add 1/4 cup frozen raspberries. Then twist the lid onto the jar and stick it in the fridge. At this point, rinse the grains under cold water. You can get another batch (or two) started in a new quart-size mason jar(s).
6. See the difference between the batch made with molasses and the one without? A half gallon is barely enough for my family per day. My kids, particularly the boys, love water kefir. And I have no reason to say no, because I know it is so good for them, and I can just keep making it as needed. It’s just one way to keep everyone’s gut good and healthy! If our guts are healthy, the rest of our bodies will be, too.
Photo credit: all photos © Lisa DeNardo