If you aren’t familiar with water kefir already, note that this drink is non-dairy and vegan option, making it pretty much different than milk kefir.
Water kefir also differs from kombucha, despite the fact that it offers similar benefits and it resembles other carbonated probiotic drinks. The only difference is the brewing process, as water kefir doesn’t ferment using a scoby as kombucha does. Additionally, it doesn’t take a month to make a batch nor it requires caffeine from black tea.
To make water kefir, you need water kefir grains, organic sugar, and filtered water. These grains consist of healthy yeast and bacteria, and the term “grains” refers to the look of the culture. Currently, there are a few companies that sell dehydrated water kefir grains. Don’t buy water kefir grain powders as these don’t multiply, meaning that you need to buy these packages continuously.
What is Fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process in which bacteria, fungi, or yeast turn sugars, starch or carbohydrates into acids or alcohol. For example, lactobacilli bacteria convert sugars and starch into lactic acid, acetobacter bacteria convert alcohol into acetic acid, and yeast converts sugar into alcohol. In the meantime, fermentation creates antioxidants, omega-3 fats, minerals, b-vitamins, probiotics, and beneficial enzymes.
What Does Fermentation Do?
- Adds microbes to the gut (many people enjoy fermented foods and beverages to get a supply of live bacteria)
- Makes food more digestible (many microbes create enzymes that break down the hardly digestible cellulose)
- Eliminates anti-nutrients (fermentation destroys natural or synthetic components that compromise the absorption of nutrients)
- Produces carbon dioxide (fermented yeast produces carbon dioxide which can be used for carbonating drinks and leavening bread)
- Increases micronutrients (some bacteria boost vitamin levels in food, particularly B vitamins)
Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
One of the major claims regarding the health benefits of fermented foods is their contribution of good microbes to the colonies present in the gut. These microbes have a powerful impact on the bodies; when they are imbalanced they have been associated with bowel and intestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity, and immune disorders like allergies.
Probiotics found in fermented foods have been scientifically shown to protect against disease, boost immunity, and improve digestion. Most importantly, some fermented foods have been even found to cut down cancer risk, too!
How to Make Turmeric Water Kefir
You Will Need
- 1L mason jar
- Unfluroridated & unchlorinated water
- 1/4 cup organic sugar (cane, turbinado, Rapa dura)
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Re-hydrated water kefir grains
For the 2nd Ferment
- 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric root, grated
- 1 small nub of ginger (optional)
- Pinch of black pepper
- Organic orange slices or freshly squeezed orange juice (or another fruit/juice of choice)
- Put the sugar in the mason jar and dissolve with a very small amount of hot water
- Once the sugar dissolves, fill the jar with cool filtered water ( about an inch or two from the top)
- Add the hydrated water kefir grains
- Seal the lid gently or cover with a cheesecloth
- Let it ferment on the counter for 24-48 hours (leaving it longer may starve the grains)
- Strain out the ferment with a strainer into a glass measuring cup, keep the grains, and pour the kefir into a clean mason jar
- To reuse the grains, follow the steps above ( dissolve the sugar, add water, add the grains, and ferment)
Ferment #2 (adding flavors)
- Add the grated turmeric, ginger, and black pepper to the water kefir
- Cover again and let it ferment for 24-48 hours
- You can either leave it as is or strain the turmeric and ginger
- Store in the fridge and enjoy!
Flavors to Try
- You can add a handful or frozen or fresh berries to the second ferment
- Adding lemon juice and enjoying it after the first ferments resembles a fresh lemonade
- To create a fruit-flavored drink, add grape, cherry, pomegranate, or apple juice to the second ferment
- You can also add prune juice or raisins during the second ferment