Water kefir is a probiotic drink which is made up of symbiotic grains of ‘good’ bacteria and yeast. These grains are fermented at room temperature in a sugar/water liquid for 24-72 hours. Its taste has been compared to both lemonade (without the acidity) and weak cola. However, people who drink it personalise it by adding flavourings according to their personal taste.
Making Water-based Kefir
To make this traditional fermented drink, you need:
- a glass jar (with lid)
- smaller bottles for storage
- a non-metallic strainer
- a plastic or wooden spoon
Firstly, the sugar is dissolved in the water (honey is unsuitable because of its micro-bacterial qualities.) Then the grains plus the flavouring of your choice are added. Although both lemon and ginger are popular, seasonal fruits, vanilla beans, mint and anise are also possible. The mixture is fermented at room temperature – the warmer, the faster the fermentation will take place. It is then strained and bottled in smaller containers and can be served cold (with ice if you wish.)
The Benefits of Water Kefir
This fermented drink has a number of health benefits. It is nutritious and a source of essential minerals, enzymes and vitamin B. It does good for the whole organism, but is particularly recommended for the old, pregnant/nursing mothers and anyone with a compromised immunity system. Unlike milk kefir, it is suitable for those who are lactose-intolerant. The cheapness of water/sugar and the reusability of the kefir grains mean that it is also affordable.