Lime flavored kefir water, garnished with fresh mint.
When a dear friend offered me a glass of homemade kefir water, all sorts of alarms sounded in my mind.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. It sure wasn’t a drink that tasted like an amazing sparkling limeade.
What exactly is kefir water? It’s a slightly sweet carbonated drink that’s simply bursting with probiotics. You make it by letting kefir “grains” (a gel-like combination of yeast and bacteria) sit in sugar water and minerals for a couple of days and ferment into a drink that’s refreshing and incredibly good for you.
We eat homemade yogurt regularly, but I’d been wanting to add more probiotics to our diet. After that first drink, kefir water was an obvious choice!
My friend gave me a kefir starter (thanks so much!) and I’m having a hard time keeping up with demand even with doing a gallon at a time. My 22-month-old’s name for kefir water is simply “nummy!”
We don’t even have pet fish, just pet bacteria. Thankfully, they’re about as low-maintenance as fish, plus you get a yummy drink out of them!
Kefir water recipe
(Makes one gallon—so far the gallon hasn’t lasted more than a few days! You can also half the batch.)
- Heaping 1/2 cup kefir grains*
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup raw natural sugar, depending on how sweet you want it.
- Small handful of organic raisins or other dried fruit
- 1 eggshell or trace minerals, optional
- 1 gallon water [Spring, well or filtered tap water are the best options. Distilled water has lost so many minerals you’d want to add trace minerals back to the water.]
- Flavorings, optional
- In a glass gallon jar, dissolve the sugar in a little water.
- Add the raisins, kefir grains, eggshell/minerals (if using), and finish filling with water.
- Cover with cheesecloth or a tea towel and rubberband securely.
- Let sit on the counter for 2-4 days. If it tastes good after two days, proceed. If you want more of the sugar “eaten”, let sit for another day. Don’t let it go too long though, especially in the summer, otherwise once the grains run out of sugar to eat, they beging to starve.
- Removed the raisins and eggshell and toss. Strain out the grains to start a new batch.
- Start a new batch immediately or store the kefir grains.
- You can drink the kefir at this point, but it tastes much yummier if you let it carbonate for a day on the counter. To carbonate, pour into sturdy glass jars, leaving plenty of headspace for the kefir water to expand. I leave a good 2+ inches, to be on the safe side. Add fruit, juice, food-grade essential oils, or vanilla (if desired) for flavoring. Seal tightly and leave on the counter for a day.
- Refrigerate or drink immediately over ice.
Tips and tricks:
- If you don’t have a local friend who can give you a starter, you can order dehydrated water kefir grains online from Amazon or a kit (including minerals and a strainer) from Cultures for Health.
- To store the kefir grains, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with filtered water. Add the grains and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Kefir grains love the added minerals from eggshells, but the thought of tossing in a raw eggshell groses me out. Instead, save the eggshells when you make hardboiled eggs and store them in the freezer. Just pop one out when it’s time to make another batch of kefir.
- Different natural sugars contain different minerals. My friend recommends using 3/4 natural cane sugar and 1/4 sucanat. I haven’t bought any sucanat yet, and the kefir is surviving fine on just the natural cane sugar, but I’m sure it would make them even happier to add sucanat.
- You can get organic raisins in bulk from Country Life Natural Foods for only a few cents more per pound than Aldi’s raisins. Grapes are on the dirty dozen list, so as you can expect, conventionally grown raisins tend to have quite a bit of pesticide residue!