I have found that one of the easiest cultured foods to get people started on is water kefir. It tastes like a version of soda that has had the sugar turned down, so I’m not sure why anyone would stick their nose up at it. Still, water kefir comes as a surprise to some and I find it often sits in the shadow of the more commercially-known kombucha.
But these are very different beverages – both in flavor and nutritional makeup – and our family needs no convincing to drink both. So today I thought we could take a look at what creates that bubbly, delicious beverage known as water kefir - the water kefir grains themselves.
The Origin and Makeup of Water Kefir Grains
If, like me, you are curious as to how exactly these little gelatinous guys came to be, then you may want to check out this full article on The Origin of Water Kefir. Much of this information is brand new to me and something you may have not seen anywhere else. As far as the actual breakdown of microorganisms in the water kefir culture, you can find a list of them here.
Water Kefir 101
Once you have a handle on those water kefir grains, you can begin making water kefir in various flavors. Sweet and fruity, bubbly and refreshing, we absolutely love this stuff served ice cold in the summer. Remember our blog series on water kefir? That should get you started, along with these 10 Ideas for Flavoring Water Kefir.
Water Kefir Resiliency and Versatility
One of the things about water kefir, and many other mother cultures, that I love is their resiliency. Yes, you have to care for them and feed them regularly for great results. But sometimes life happens. Instead of throwing those old cultures out, I have found with water kefir, and others, that a simple rehabilitation is all that is needed. Here is a full article on How to Recover Damaged Water Kefir Grains.
Once your water kefir is up and running, you might end up with more water kefir, or kefir grains, than you know what to do with. Water kefir itself can be used, unflavored, as a culture starter for condiments or as a boost to a gluten-free sourdough starter. Water kefir grains can be used in the same manner, so long as they are easily removed. Or, you can even eat the little guys for an extra gummy-textured, probiotic boost.