There has been a big insurgence of fermented foods in today’s markets, menus, and diet plans. There are so many different types of ferments, and different information about eating various types in order to build up the good bacteria in your gut and get as many strains as possible. There is one ferment, however, that has been under the radar but is making a huge splash into the marketplace.
Let me introduce you to water kefir!
What is Water Kefir?
WATER KEFIR IS A FIZZY FERMENTED BEVERAGE THAT IS BRIMMING WITH PROBIOTICS AND VITAMINS
Baby water kefir grains/cultures have been around for centuries and are thought to have originated in Mexico in the 1800s. Though nothing has been proven, these origins are fascinating and differ from many other fermented food and drinks around the world. Water kefir grains have withstood the test of time and are able to continually ferment even through the toughest heat, and the coldest of cold (they can be frozen, and even freeze-dried). Water kefir grains can be regenerated, making them one of the superheroes of the fermentation world.
Water kefir grains (nothing to do with actual grain) are a symbiotic relationship between good yeast and good bacteria which form a tiny little clear jelly that when fed sugar, produces a powerhouse probiotic beverage that boosts gut health, energy, and immunity. You only have to buy the grains once because they grow and multiply with each batch brewed—you can share your excess grains with your family and friends, add them to smoothies for an extra probiotic punch, or feed them to your animals to boost their gut health! One other beautiful feature is that you can make the beverage on an as-needed basis because all you have to do is put the grains into water and stick them in your fridge; they can sit in dormancy for up to 3 months! You can stop and start any time!
Why is Water Kefir so Amazing?
The best part about making water kefir is that within 24 hours you have a fermented low sugar drink that is:
- contains 30 probiotic strains
- concentrated with b12, b6, and b1
- full of magnesium, folate, vitamin k, electrolytes, and enzymes
The First Ferment
The ultra simple recipe for making water kefir is:
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water kefir grains
- 4 cups water
Place it in a warm spot and the grains quickly eat up the sugar. Within 24 hours you have a fermented drink that has a mild, slightly sweet flavour, with just a hint of fermentation. It is neutral enough for even the pickiest of palates, and readily supports any flavours you want to add to it. The first ferment can be ingested as-is or added to your smoothie for that probiotic boost without any change to the smoothie flavour. Since it is brimming with vitamin B12, it is a perfect boost for the vegetarian or vegan diet.
The Second Ferment
If you can wait, then a second ferment for 24 hours more will make you a wonderful, naturally carbonated beverage with all of the benefits from the first ferment. The effervescence of the second ferment is so beautifully refreshing that you can say goodbye sugar-laden beverages, and hello to a happy gut!
All you have to do is strain the liquid from the grains of the first ferment into a swivel top bottle that has a tight rubber seal. Your bottles can then stay in your fridge for up to 6 weeks!
To flavour your ferment, add your favourite juice, tea, herbs, or fresh fruit to the bottle and seal it shut. Leave it in a warm place for 24 hours and slowly and carefully open the lid. The water kefir eats up the sugar in the bottle, creating natural carbonation, leaving you with a fizzy drink that is light and refreshing! Check out our drinks page for some yummy water kefir recipes.
Where Do I Start?
You can find fresh, plump water kefir grains in the cooler section, that are ready to make wonderful drinks, smoothies, and elixers. You can also find DIY kits that contain everything you need to get started, including sugars, second ferment flavourings, strainers, bottles, and spoons. The best part about starting with a kit? It comes with a 100% guarantee when it comes to making successful batches of water kefir. Find it in the housewares sections in all Nature’s Fare Markets.
- Water kefir grains have a chemical reaction with metal that can damage the grains, so ensure that you use a nylon strainer, plastic funnel, and a wooden spoon to prevent the grains from being damaged.
- Remember, water kefir loves summer and can be explosive if you leave it out in the warmth too long during the second fermentation process. Always refrigerate immediately after you have reached the perfect flavour and effervescence.
Article by: Leeza Zurwick of Happy Gut
Images by: Cheveldave Photography.
Learn more at happygutpro.com