Just a few years ago, my dietary habits were completely different. Even though I had gone gluten-free and was quickly learning about holistic diets, I was still regularly indulging in my favorite drink of choice: Diet Coke. Yes, believe it or not, I was once a Diet Coke addict and by no means was that good for my thyroid or immune system. It’s been a few years now since I’ve had a real soda, but I have been having fun lately experimenting with a healthy naturally-carbonated beverage: water kefir.
Don’t let the fancy name scare you. Essentially, water kefir is made from little grains (they look like crystals) that are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (the good bugs). This is a perfect recipe/method for those with thyroid and autoimmune disease. Because the bacteria eat the sugars, it produces a bubbly, refreshing, yet very low-carb drink, full of hormone- and immune-supporting probiotics! Add some fruit juice or spices and suddenly you’ve got a bubbly slightly sweet drink perfectly reminiscent of soda. Delish. And the grains really do all of the work for you — simply assemble, and sit back and watch the food science magic happen right before your eyes.
- Nonmetal Strainer (don’t use any metal; metal can kill the grains)
- Wooden or Plastic Spoon
- Glass Jar
- 4 Tablespoons Organic Water Kefir Grains
- 3 Tablespoons Organic Raisins or Other Unsulphured Dried Fruit
- 4 Tablespoons Organic Sugar
- 4 Cups Filtered, Fluoride- and Chlorine-free Water
- Using spoon, dissolve sugar into water. (Note: don’t use honey here because of it’s antimicrobial properties, it can kill the grains)
- Add water kefir grains and raisins to the sugar water in a glass jar and cover with a paper towel or cloth, securing with a rubber band.
- Allow water kefir to brew in jar at room temperature for 24 – 72 hours depending on the strength you prefer and the temperature of your home. (The warmer the environment, the faster the water kefir will brew.)
- Strain the water kefir grains and raisins from the liquid and put water kefir back into jar.
- Add 1 cup of fruit juice of your choice, or add flavorings like ginger, lemon, mint, fruit pieces, etc.
- Allow to sit at room temp for another 24 – 48 hours to continue fermentation and produce natural carbonation.
- Place in fridge, serve cold, and enjoy!
pictured (top to bottom): water kefir brewing with raisins, close up of the water kefir grains sitting in the bottom of the jar, and the final product — bubbly grape soda!
Where to purchase water kefir grains:
I suggest purchasing from a small seller on Etsy (simply type in the search words “water kefir grains”) for just about $10 total — including shipping, or via Cultures for Health. Also note that water kefir grains, when fed properly, will grow and multiply. So, one initial purchase should be all you need, as they’ll reproduce on their own and you’ll end-up with more than you need in a few batches.