W

hen I married my husband he was a Gatorade addict! He’d been drinking it his whole life and reasoned that it helped him meet his daily water quota. Bottom line? He didn’t enjoy drinking plain water. Ya’ll, I actually used to buy him the giant tubs of powdered neon-colored Gatorade from Costco (shudder)!

Once we began eliminating processed food from our diet and following a more “traditional” way of eating, he was stuck again with just water to drink. He did train himself to drink (and even like) kombucha, but there was still the desire for something “lemon-limey” and cold and refreshing to sip throughout the day.

In an attempt to up our probiotic game I bought some water kefir grains. I had never tasted water kefir before, so it really was a shot in the dark. After making our first batch I added a splash of organic lemonade and gave some to The Hubs to try…

Sayonara Gatorade! There’s a new kid in town! And it’s packed full of beneficial bacteria! Hello happy tummies!

Due to The Hub’s affection for Gatorade (and subsequently Gator Nation), we lovingly named our newest Kitchen Pet, Stokely*.

Although water kefir has fewer strains of bacteria than milk kefir, it still has more than other fermented products like yogurt or buttermilk. My general rule of thumb is to eat fermented foods with each meal, and to eat a variety of fermented foods to populate my gut with as many strains of the “good guys” as possible.

Furthermore, fermented beverages are said to be more beneficial to our bodies than plain water! Excess water puts unnecessary strain on our kidneys because it’s devoid of electrolytes. Our body will try to excrete it as quickly as possible (I’m sure you’ve experienced this when you increase your water consumption…#gottapee!). Too much water consumed close to, or during meals can also dilute stomach acid. This inhibits proper digestion and causes undue strain to our digestive process, upsetting a proper pH balance. However, sipping a fermented beverage during meals actually aids digestion by providing lactic acid and digestive enzymes.

Water kefir is simple to make, and only requires 24-48 hours to ferment. Water kefir grains will last indefinitely, making the only cost the initial purchase and a steady supply of sugar to keep them “fed”. As a thank you, the grains will consume the sugar creating a carbonated, very low calorie, lacto-fermented drink.

Furthermore, if you mix a 50/50 amount of kombucha and water kefir together, you will create an extremely delicious probiotic “Arnold Palmer”.

If you’ve been leery of giving kombucha a try, fearful everyone in your family will hate it, you might find you have successful results with water kefir.

*In 1967, the Florida Gators (fueled by the newly invented “Gator-aid”) beat favored Georgia Tech for the coveted Orange Bowl title…years later, my husband memorably recalls buying “Stokely’s” Gatorade as a young boy. (It’s times like this, when discussing sports history, I’m certain I make my hubby proud!)

…fizzy and sweet without the added sugar and chemicals. Your tummy will thank you for this treat!

Ingredients

1/4 cup water kefir grains
7 cups filtered water
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 cup organic lemonade
1/2 gallon glass container
Coffee filter and rubber band
Plastic funnel/strainer

Buy from Azure

Sugar
Organic Lemonade

Step 1: Add kefir grains, water and sugar into a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar.

Step 2: Stir gently (with a non-metallic spoon) to dissolve sugar.

Step 3: Cover jar with a coffee filter or paper towel and secure with a rubber band.

Step 4: Allow to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours (ferments best between 68-85℉).

Step 5: Strain water kefir through plastic funnel and add 1 cup organic lemonade. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Step 6: Begin a fresh batch using the same grains following steps 1-5 again.

Lemonade just happens to be our favorite way to flavor water kefir, but we have tried many of these flavor options and most all were delicious!

*Update: My new favorite flavoring method is to toss half a frozen sliced peach into the jar before fermenting! The result tastes like a peach Italian soda! 

You can also double ferment water kefir (just like you would kombucha) in these Grolsh Style flip-top bottles. But consider yourself forewarned that they build carbonation much quicker than kombucha! The Hubs was the recipient of a kefir bath after I asked him to “check to see if the kefir ‘pops’ yet!” (It was like Old Faithful!) Use these chalkboard labels to help remind you how you flavored your kefir and when you started your second ferment!

If you need to take a break from making water kefir, you can let your grains “hibernate” in a quart of sugar water in the refrigerator. Be aware that they may take a little extra time to “wake up” once you start fermenting again.

Water kefir grains are known to grow and double in size over time. Share the love and gift some to your friends! Their tummies will thank you, too!

Have you ever tried water kefir? What’s your favorite way to flavor yours?

Showing 20 comments
  • Jennifer Price
    Reply

    Ordering water Kefir grains and bottles, I had never even heard of it! Hoping it will replace my husbands country time lemonade addiction! Will a metal strainer hurt the grains like with a scoby?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Great question Jennifer! You do want to steer clear of metal because the kefir “grains” are a SCOBY. Here’s to no more powdered drink-like substances! 😉

    • Jason Steffen
      Jason Steffen
      Reply

      It completely took away my Gatorade obsession!

  • Tammy
    Reply

    Peach Italian Soda???? seriously???

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Yes!!! It’s so awesome! Plus, the peaches are super yummy after they’ve been fermenting too! I get two half-gallon batches of water kefir out of two large frozen peach slices (about half a peach). It’s a must try!

  • Tracey
    Reply

    How do you have enough room in your fridge for all this? Im running out of room:) Of course I still have my pitcher of decaf tea in my fridge (non organic) that I can’t seem to let go! Its decreased immensely but it’s still there!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      There are definitely times when it’s a constant shuffle of jars in the fridge! That’s the main reason we got our chalk board labels and plastic lids! I always have to write what’s in the jar because you’ll open our fridge and see 8 jars of white! You’d never know if it was milk, kefir, yogurt or cream!

    • Angela H
      Reply

      Hi Kelsey! So you add you frozen peach to the second ferment? Do you leave it in while you ferment? Or how does it work? Thanks!! I have my first batch of water kefir ready to flavor 😃. I’m saving up to buy the bottles next!!

      • Kelsey Steffen
        Kelsey Steffen
        Reply

        Yes Angela…I’ve done it both ways! I find adding the peach to the first ferment makes it drinkable and yummy after just 24-48 hours (and my kids fight over who gets to eat the fizzy peach). Then, if you want to double ferment it to get carbonation, you can add another slice of a peach or just a little sugar while bottling.

        • Angela H
          Reply

          Thanks Kelsey! So, you can leave the peach in with the grains? Or do you just put it in with the sugar water before the grains are put in? Thanks!!!!

          • Kelsey Steffen
            Kelsey Steffen

            Yes! You can leave it in with the grains and sugar water. Take it out before it starts falling apart! Sometimes I get one batch of kefir out of the peach, sometimes it will flavor two batches! 🙂

  • Lauren
    Reply

    My kefir seems really weak and after reading this post I realized I prob don’t have a full quarter cup of grains yet… I made a new batch with less water this round. Do u think that could be my problem? How do u double ferment? Could you do the second ferment in the same 1/2gallon jar or is it a must to use smaller bottles?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      That could be it. If you don’t quite have enough grains it will take them longer to eat up the sugar in the water. Using a smaller container until they grow would work. I’ve also had success speeding up my ferment and getting my grains to grow by using coconut sugar. I’ll sub 1-2 Tbs coconut sugar for my regular organic sugar and the grains seem to go crazy for it! I don’t care for the flavor it gives the kefir water, but every once in a while to help promote growth I’m fine with it. I’ve read that the grains like the minerals in molasses (which coconut sugar has a higher molasses content). You could just add a tsp of molasses if you don’t have any coconut sugar. You can also throw half a washed, pastured egg shell into the kefir water. I’ve done this but haven’t seen as much growth in my grains from this method.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      As for the double ferment, I use the grolsh bottles because they’re air tight. You can try using mason jars (maybe adding a double layer of plastic wrap between the lid to help seal). I’ve used mason jars in the past with kombucha, but they never got very fizzy. Just use caution with mason jars as the glass isn’t as strong as grolsh bottles, making them more susceptible to explosion! You’ll want to check them daily for carbonation build up. Let us know if you have luck using this method!

  • Tammy
    Reply

    Thank you for the post and the link to the different flavors of kefir waters. I am going to try the orange zest one. Kelsey, could you also mention that you can put your kefir grains “to sleep”… in case you get overwhelmed with kefir water. 🙂
    Also, I highly recommend the chalk labels that you see pictured on Kelsey’s creations. I tried for awhile to go with out the convenience of the label…. and I would always forget when I started brewing or what “flavor” was in that particular bottle… so, go ahead and splurge on the labels. They will last longer than you think, and save a lot of guess work 🙂

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Yes! Chalk-labels to the rescue! If left to memory, I never remember when I started my second ferment. I have purchased the labels once and they have yet to come off any of my jars or bottles (which have been run through the dishwasher 50+ times since applying the stickers). I will edit the post to add the “hibernation” of the grains if you get overwhelmed! Will link to the chalk-labels in the post as well! Thanks for the reminder.

  • Beth
    Reply

    So where can we purchase water kefir grains?

    • Jason Steffen
      Jason Steffen
      Reply

      So glad you asked Beth! We try to make it as easy as possible to purchase what you’ll need for our recipes. To the right of all the ingredients lists, you’ll see “Buy From Amazon” and “Buy from Azure” columns. Links to the products are directly below these headings.

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