All posts tagged kefir

How To Make Water Kefir

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been asked about water kefir, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

A lot of people have heard of milk kefir, but I confess I had never heard of either until a few months ago.

So what is kefir and what do you do with it?

Water kefir crystals (also known as Tibicos). ...

Image via Wikipedia

Water Kefir, also known as Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese water crystals or California Bees is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Actually, it doesn’t taste of anything much on its own and looks like a load of little white granules, but by making a Water Kefir drink, it becomes a delicious sweet, sometimes fizzy, probiotic drink, packed with nutrients. Sounds yummier now, eh?

If you want to know more about the substance itself, have a look here.

If you want to know what to do with it, keep reading:

To make Water Kefir:

Take a Mason or Kilner jar and clean it thoroughly (I like to sterilize mine too, just to be on the safe side)

Spoon 2 teaspoons of Kefir grains into the jar and fill with clean water (filtered or spring if you can get it.)

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, or a substitute*

Mix it up and close the jar. Leave for a few days, “feeding” the kefir some more sugar each day.

The more you “feed” the grains (don’t overdo it – a teaspoonful a day is enough!) the stronger it gets. After several days it can become fizzy, which is a nice alternative to carbonated drinks. It will even become very mildly alcoholic, eventually, but don’t get too excited, 2% is about as strong as you’ll manage!

This is not an exact science. Taste the water to determine whether you want to drink it. It should not be overly sweet. It can take time to make it just how you like it, but you can enjoy drinking all the experiments.

To drink, simply drain all the water out into a sieve or muslin and use the grains again.

They will multiply and before you know it, you’ll have several jars on the go and you’ll be begging friends to take them off you! You can eat excess grains if you prefer!

*Sugar. Obviously, not everyone wants to use refined sugar, even though it is the kefir “eating” it and not you, but some alternatives are:

fruit (just throw some dried fruit it – they love it!)

maple syrup (more expensive, but definitely worth it!)

less refined brown sugar (turns the grains brown, but doesn’t harm them)

I have heard that you can also culture the kefir in fruit juice.


Tropical Bug Buster

Published November 1, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I have nearly had a cold for 2 days now and frankly, I’m fed up with it.

One of the benefits of being healthy and having a good immune system is that I don’t get ill very often. I do pick up viruses, but usually shift them within a few hours. Two days is too long for me to feel “not-quite-right.” Yes, I know, I’m a prima donna!

Anyway, my impatience got the better of me and I made this today:

Blend the following:

1 litre water kefir (drain out the grains and use them again!)

1 banana

1 inch slice of pineapple, chopped

1/2 mango

1 kiwi fruit

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp baobab

2 zinc tablets, crushed

Make a jug full. Drink as required.

I would have liked to put a teaspoon of local honey in this, but I don’t have any…=)

I’m drinking it now and I feel better already. I can assure you I won’t be putting up with an “almost cold” tomorrow!

Bacteria Are My Friends

Published August 5, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I have recently been learning a lot about the beneficial bacteria in cultured and fermented foods and have been introducing these foods into our diet.
One of the biggest benefits I have noticed is the improvement in my digestion.
I no longer have gas, whereas I used to – a lot! I notice now that if I don’t eat these foods for a couple of days; my digestion plays up.
I used to feel sick whenever I ate anything. Since switching to raw food, I do not feel sick anywhere near as often. Beneficial bacteria help this situation dramatically.
Another improvement is in my skin, hair and nails. My skin is smoother and softer – on my body, as well as my face; my hair and nails are growing faster and are stronger. Additionally, my hair, which used to be quite dry, now rarely needs conditioning. (I have changed some of the products I use, but this is not the only reason I believe my hair has improved.)

Here are some of the fermented foods I’ve been making:
Sauerkraut and Kimchi
In addition to the sauerkraut I discussed in an earlier post, I have also been making Kimchi. This Korean dish uses miso instead of salt-water. It’s just as easy to make and I have been using a variety of vegetables, layering them in the jar. It is just as delicious as sauerkraut and a perfect way to make some of those hard greens more palatable.
Some people can manage  crunchy, crispy foods, but I have never ben able to get on with it; I like my food quite soft. Culturing it helps me enormously!

Cultured Water

When I have eaten all the kimchi/sauerkraut from a jar, I bottle the leftover water and use it in savoury recipes, instead of regular water. It adds nutrition and flavour.

Water kefir grains are amazing. I bought a small packet on ebay and started making my own Kefir.
Just add a couple of spoonfuls (1 packet) of kefir grain to a glass Kilner jar of filtered water.
Add a couple of spoons of sugar (you could use any sugar, maple syrup, fruit sugar etc.) and leave it for a couple of days. It is ready to drink then, either on its own or added to fruit juice or a smoothie.
The grains grow and multiply. I was amazed at how big some of them got.
In no tome at all, I had enough grains for two jars, then three, then four and now I have five jars on the go, spaced a day apart, so there is always some ready. I even gave my mum some grains when she visited.
I’m not sure I entirely understand exactly what kefir grains are; some sort of bacteria, but I’m no scientist and even though I live with one, I haven’t yet figured it out! What I do know is that kefir tastes good and does me good – all I ask from my food.

Although miso is not a raw food, it is a living food; at least, if you buy an  un-pasteurised variety.
I use it quite a bit in kimchi, sauces and sometimes just as a drink. I have been a fan of miso for many years.
One of my cousins once asked my what my secret to eternal youth was (he hadn’t seen me for 10 years and asserted that I hadn’t aged!) I told him it was miso, and promptly made a cup to drink!

There are other fermented foods I want to try and I will let you know how I get on when I do.



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