I recently wrote about the health benefits of water kefir and how the mineral and probiotic content can change change the direction of your gut health, skin health, and even effect allergies. Now, I want to show you how to design your own water kefir recipes.
But first, you need to know how to get going!
How to Make Water Kefir
Making water kefir is super easy! There’s no reason to buy it every time when you can make your own.
Ingredients and Tools Needed
You’ll need just a few ingredients to get started:
- Water Kefir Grains
- Filtered Water
- Organic Cane Sugar
That’s it! You can’t grow kefir grains. They require a very specific environment to get started, so instead you’ll need to either find someone who has some extra grains for you to have (they grow and expand, making a friend with kefir grains and special friend indeed), or purchase some here.
Another thing to keep in mind is the tools you’ll need. You’ll want glass jars (Mason jars with metal lids are fine, but no metal in contact with the kefir water. It can interfere with the fermenting process), and a plastic mesh strainer for pouring the liquid out and saving those precious grains for another batch. Don’t forget a cloth to cover the jar so that it has access to air, but no bugs or other things can get in. You can use a cheese cloth, but I just use a clean cloth napkin.
So, how do you put it all together?
If you purchased dehydrated grains, then the first thing you’ll need to do is re-hydrate them. Basically you’ll want a 1:12 water to sugar ratio. Place 3-1/2 to 4 cups warm water in a 32oz jar and then add and dissolve 1/3 organic cane sugar. Add the grains and cover with a cloth. Let sit at room temperature for 3-4 days. Next, discard the start up liquid while saving the grains. They should be plump and ready to go!
Make another batch of water kefir by adding 3-1/2 to 4 cups warm water (not hot) to your jar and 1/3 cup sugar. Let sit at room temperature covered with a cloth for 24-48 hours. Strain and drink! It really is that simple!
If you’d like to build up some carbonation after the 24-48 hours, make sure there’s around an inch head space, seal, and leave on the counter at room temperature for another 24-48 hours. You can then refrigerate until ready to use and if sealed properly you should get a nice fizz after opening.
I’m sure you’d like to add some flavors too, so we’ll get to those DIY water kefir recipes, but first is upkeep.
Once you have water kefir grains, you can literally have 28-32 more ounces every 1-2 days. What if you don’t want to drink it that often?
When you’re overflowing and can’t drink your kefir water fast enough, just make a fresh batch of sugar water, add grains, seal, and place in your fridge for up to 3 weeks. Mark your calendar to change out the water at this time because you don’t want to forget. When you’re ready to make more, just add the grains to fresh sugar water and start the process at room temperature again.
DIY Water Kefir Recipes
So, how about those great DIY water kefir recipes? If you’ve ever tried water kefir and didn’t care for the test, don’t be discouraged. There are hundreds of flavor combinations to try.
You want to keep your kefir water virtually sugar free. That means when adding sugars like those in juices you’ll need to let it sit at room temperature for another 24-48 hours. If you’d like carbonation, seal before second fermentation and then after the 24-48 hours you can drink or refrigerate sealed for later.
Add around 1/2 cup juice to 4 cups of kefir water. Try juices like:
- grape juice
- apple juice
- pineapple juice
- cherry juice
Add 1/2 cup – 1 cup sliced fruit after first fermentation, then ferment again. Try combinations like:
- elderberries (clove and cinnamon stick, optional)
- lemon and lime
- strawberries and kiwi
- blueberries and orange
- Strawberries and lemon juice
Coconut Water Kefir
If you’d like to make a few water kefir recipes with coconut, great! Make the batch as usual using coconut water instead of filtered water. Just make sure to ferment with regular filtered water and sugar after each coconut water fermentation to make sure the grains stay healthy.
Vanilla Water Kefir
For a yummy vanilla flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a quart of water kefir. Juice combinations taste great with vanilla as well. Try:
- Vanilla orange
- Cream soda – Add vanilla extract and let ferment again for carbonation. Add a little cream to glass and pour in vanilla water kefir.
Ginger Water Kefir
Ginger is so great for the soothing the stomach, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. This makes it a tasty and healthy addition to water kefir. Try combinations like:
- ginger and sliced lemon
- ginger and raspberries
- ginger and cinnamon
- ginger, turmeric, pepper
Herbal Water Kefir
Herbs add a lot of medicinal value. Add a handful of flowers or leaves to sugar water and ferment. Strain and let it ferment again for carbonation or drink right away. Herbs to try:
- lavender flowers and lemon juice
- elderflowers and grape juice
- lemon balm leaves
- peppermint leaves and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
There are so many other herbs you can try of course, from dandelions and clover, to chamomile or hibiscus. Be creative and have fun experimenting.