Are you interested in trying a new, healthy beverage? If so, you need to try water kefir.
Water kefir is a fizzy drink that’s packed with probiotics and loads of additional health benefits. While you can purchase water kefir from the store, it’s also very easy to make it at home with just a few simple ingredients.
How do you make water kefir? And, why should you make it? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about making water kefir!
What is Water Kefir?
First things first, what exactly is water kefir? Water kefir is a carbonated, fermented beverage that’s made using water kefir grains.
Also known as California bees Tibicos, and Japanese water crystals, water kefir grains are said to have originated in the late 1800s. Unlike regular kefir grains, which come from cow, sheep, or goat milk, water kefir grains are made by combining sugar water with the grains.
Essentially, water kefir is a non-dairy-based alternative to regular kefir milk. Kefir itself is a grain-like culture of bacteria and yeast. The mixture usually takes about 24 to 48 hours to ferment, and once fermented, it results in a probiotic-rich beverage.
Not only is water kefir extremely tasty, but it’s also beneficial for your health.
Health Benefits of Water Kefir
So, how can water kefir help you improve your health? Here are just some of the ways:
Vegan and Dairy-Free
One of the main reasons people choose water kefir or regular kefir milk is because it’s vegan and dairy-free. If you’re looking to follow a vegan diet, water kefir is a great alternative.
Switching to a vegan diet offers many health benefits, as studies show that veganism can help you lose weight, fight certain types of cancers, reduce inflammation, and fight chronic disease. Multiple studies also show that veganism can help save the planet, as producing vegan foods uses far fewer natural resources than meat and dairy products.
If you’re lactose intolerant or have some type of allergy to dairy, water kefir is also a great alternative.
Related: Probiotic Drinks Benefits
Boost Immune Function
Another benefit of water kefir is that it can possibly help boost your immune system due to its high levels of beneficial bacteria.
Studies show that water kefir contains certain probiotic strains that can help reduce your risk of developing intestinal infections and prevent the occurrence of urinary tract infections. Water kefir may even help keep respiratory infections at bay.
One small six-week study looked at 18 participants who consumed kefir daily, and they found that daily consumption helped control inflammation levels and optimize immune cell levels in the body.
Help Fight Cancer
Another significant benefit of kefir is its ability to fight cancerous cells. While research is limited, one recent study found that kefir extract could block the growth of breast cancer cells.
Some other evidence suggests that kefir could help fight colon and blood cancer. And, due to its high concentration of probiotics and immune-boosting properties, kefir may also help aid in cancer prevention. However, scientists still need to conduct more research to figure out just how effective kefir is at fighting cancer.
Rich in Healthy Bacteria
Another great thing about kefir is that it’s rich in healthy bacteria. As we mentioned, kefir contains a significant amount of probiotics, which are bacteria found in your gut that play a vital role in nearly every aspect of your health.
There’s research that shows that kefir may contain as many as 56 bacterial and yeast strains.
Are you looking to learn more about water kefir and other drinks? Check out our frequently asked questions!
How to Make Water Kefir
So, now the question is, how do you make water kefir at home? As we mentioned earlier, making water kefir is a simple process that only requires a few ingredients.
Here are the ingredients you need to make water kefir:
- ½ cup of alive water kefir grains (not all large grocery chains sell water kefir grains, but you can typically find them at your nearest health foods store)
- 8 cups of water (Tap or well water will work just fine. However, we suggest against using filtered or bottled water.)
- ½ cup of sugar (You can use cane sugar or coconut sugar.)
- 1-2 cups of fresh fruit (Stone fruits such as plums, peaches, and nectarines work great, as do berries.)
- Two prunes (You can also use dates or other dried fruits.)
If you wish, you can also add whole spices, ginger, or fresh herbs. There are also a few pieces of equipment you’ll need to make homemade kefir.
You will need two or three 2-quart mason jars, a kitchen towel, and a strainer. You can also add some extra sugar and salt to your mixture. Don’t worry, the sugar won’t end up in the final drink, but the kefir grains will metabolize them, making your final drink extra nutritious.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, here are the steps to make the water kefir drink:
- Fill your mason jars with 4 cups of water each.
- Add ¼ cup of sugar to each jar and stir until dissolved.
- Add ¼ cup of kefir grains to each mason jar.
- Add one prune and ¼ lemon wedge to each jar.
- Cover both mason jars with a thin kitchen cloth and let the mixture sit on your counter for 2 to 4 days. This will give the grains time to fully metabolize the sugar.
- Before moving on, taste the water. You want it to be slightly sweet and tangy.
- Place the fruit in the third jar and muddle it a bit to release the juices.
- Strain both jars of water kefir into the jar with fresh fruit.
- Cover the jar tightly, and release slight pressure from the lid every 8 to 12 hours. (Not releasing pressure can cause the jar to explode.)
- After 24 hours, the fruit should float to the top of the surface. Release the lid slightly one more time, and then place the jar in the fridge.
Once the kefir has chilled, it should be ready to serve!
Related: Drink Sunny Story
Making Water Kefir: Conclusion
Now that you know the process to make water kefir, it’s time to get started. As you can see, making water kefir is easy!
Would you rather buy a probiotic drink than make your own? If so, check out our probiotic shots!