I’ve been giving quite a few interviews of late and inevitably every interviewer wants to know what is my favorite cultured food? That’s an easy question because water kefir and kombucha are my favorites and when life is hectic, the two things I can manage to keep going in my kitchen. Many people have never heard of water kefir and so I’d like to take an opportunity to explain my devotion to water kefir as one of my favorite fermented foods.
- It’s delicious. Really delicious. It’s sweet, can be bubbly, I can flavor it a hundred different ways. Whatever fruit, juice, or even herbs I have on hand can be used.
- I have no problem drinking a lot of it—if anything I usually run out before my next batch is ready. There are days when I get so tired of plain water. I realize I’m not really supposed to say I dislike water but it’s the truth at times. Water kefir keeps me hydrated and I’m so much more motivated to drink glass after glass.
- My kids love it. Another reason we often run out before the next batch is ready.
- It’s extremely easy to keep it going. I generally spend about 5 minutes every 48 hours making a gallon.
- It’s cheap to make. Water kefir can be made with plain sugar and water. It can be flavored with a bit of juice, fruit, or herbs. The cost of sugar and flavorings is very minimal particularly in comparison to the probiotic boost this gives us each day.
- It’s sustainable. As long as I take care of them, they continue to produce a new batch of water kefir every 24-48.
- It scales easily—the kefir grains typically grow and grow and over time can be used to make many more batches. I can also cut back to just a few quarts if we won’t be home as much for several days.
- I can use water kefir as a starter culture. I will typically use water kefir as a culture when I make cultured fruits, vegetables, and condiments. I know it might seem strange at first glance but I make a flavorful cultured salsa using a quarter cup of water kefir in place of whey in the recipe. I also use ¼ cup of water kefir per can of coconut milk to make coconut milk kefir for our morning smoothies (click here for instructions on how to make coconut milk kefir this way).
- It makes amazing popsicles and granitas. Blend fresh or frozen fruit with water kefir. Freeze in popsicle molds or use to make granitas.
- I can serve it to people who don’t normally eat or drink anything cultured and they love it. Over the years I’ve run into very few people who don’t like water kefir. As a society we’ve gotten so far away from eating cultured foods regularly that sometimes it can be a challenge to convince a new potential convert of how tasty cultured foods truly are. But water kefir is sweet and appeals to kids and adults alike. It’s also easy to teach others to make and is a great “first” cultured food.
Have you tried water kefir? Why do you love it?