If you live a dairy-free lifestyle due to ethical reasons or lactose intolerance, then you may envy people who can easily obtain healthy probiotics by eating yogurt or drinking dairy kefir. You may even be thinking of taking probiotic supplements, but these supplements are often ineffective. Instead, try making affordable, dairy-free water kefir. The basic recipe will give you a base you can then add fruit juice or even a natural flavor extract to in order to customize your flavor.
To make water kefir, you need to purchase a starter culture of water kefir grains. Not only are they super-affordable, but you should only have to purchase them once! Not only can they be re-used, but since they are filled with living bacteria and yeast, they will keep growing and replicating, and you will actually end up with more and more the longer you keep them!
Once you receive them, make your water kefir in any glass jar (an empty jam or pickle bottle is perfect) by following these steps:
- Dissolve two-tablespoons of brown sugar in about one-quarter cup of hot water and then let cool to room temperature. (The kefir grains will “feed” off it, so there will be little to no sugar left in the final beverage.)
- Add 2 cups of room temperature water to the sugar solution.
- Add one tablespoon of water kefir grains.
- Place a clean cloth or coffee filter over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber-band or string tied tightly around it. Do not top with the metal lid that came with the jar, or you will starve the solution of needed oxygen!
- Place it in warm spot in your home. The solution thrives best at around 75-degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t worry too much about the exact temperature too much. However, if you find a batch does not ferment the first time, you may have to find a warmer spot in your home the second time around. Your unheated oven is the perfect place to store your water kefir if you don’t use it daily.
- After about 36-hours, you should notice that the water is cloudy, and this is when you can strain the mixture to remove the grains.
- Once the water kefir is fully prepared and the grains taken out, you can chill it before you drink it and add a splash of fruit juice for a delicious, healthy beverage. Enjoy!
Since the process of making a batch of water kefir does take a few days, you may want begin your next batch using the same grains again as soon as you strain them from the first batch. However, you can store them in the refrigerator between uses if you don’t plan to make a new batch right away.
This article was previously published on Huffington Post.