if you don’t know where to start, go back to the beginning
While on vacation in Grapevine, Texas, our friends the Vande Zande’s introduced us to water kefir. At first, we were a bit hesitant. So I put the Vande Zande’s through a question decathlon. By the time I ran out of questions to ask, Char had given us each a shot of the kefir water in a small glass. Staring at the water kefir while I rotated the glass around, I inquired as to what flavor we were drinking and she said she made white grape and mango. We were given white grape. So taking one last look at Brad (he knows my ingestion of fermented products has very small margins), I lifted my glass and drank it down.
At first, the fizziness took me by surprise. The bubbles danced on my tongue and the flavor of white grape really came through. Delicious! It was nice and cool and that felt wonderful after an 88-degree day walking around Waco, Texas. It did not have the “alcohol” aftertaste that I thought would occur. In fact, there really wasn’t an alcohol taste. The fermentation duration was short, therefore it had not yet reached a stage of possessing intoxicating elements. Lastly, I was waiting to see if my stomach would concur and moments later… happy stomach! As you grow more mature, one becomes a bit hesitant in trying new stuff that might upset the delicate balance of your intestinal life. As all good hostesses, she awaited my analysis.
“Well, what do you think?” said Char.
Both Brad and I gave the “thumbs up”. For the rest of our stay there, we had water kefir with every meal. It gave me a wonderful option to kick soda to the curb. So I set my mind to order some water kefir grains, poly mesh strainer and the “flipper” glass bottles for storing the water kefir in the instant I got home.
On your mark, get ready
First I would like to start you out with a brief history of water kefir. Then we will talk about what it is made up of, what benefits there are in drinking water kefir and lastly how to start “brewing” your own water kefir.
You may be wondering how to pronounce kefir. I have had found three pronunciations. The first would be to say “keh-fear“, the second would be to say “key-fur” and lastly “keh-fur”. There was even a poll out on the web on how to say kefir. I consulted the Cambridge Dictionary (a go-to for those wanting more sophisticated phonics) and found that pronouncing it “keh-fear” seemed to hold weight in both British English and American English. Just delivering this phonetic quandary to you has frazzled me. So I will leave it to you and your regional dialect to decide how you shall pronounce it and what syllabic emphasis it should receive. Let’s move on to more fun and interesting things about water kefir.
get set and go!
Water kefir is a century old drink, whose origins are speculative and lacking documentation. According to a youtube video by St. Michael’s Kefir, there are four possible areas where water kefir got its start. These areas are Mexico, Caucasus ( the Caucasus is a mountain system in West Asia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.) Tibet, and Japan.
Kefir requires sugar for its growth and production of the brew, so any centuries-old culture making water kefir needed to be near the tropics. It was thought that after the conquest of Mexico the Spanish brought it back to Europe through the transatlantic trade. In addition, European soldiers returning home from the Crimean war of 1850, brought with them a drink similar to water kefir. Regardless, water kefir has spread worldwide, “splashing” onto the scene in the U.S. in 1853 by a Kentucky local. [Source: St. Michael’s Kefir, youtube]
animal, vegetable, or mineral?
Photo Credit Michele Bruxvoort
As you can see by my picture above, the kefir grains look like little jelly globs. They are bouncy and slippery. Once they hit the counter or have pressure applied to them, they easily split apart. Kefir grains are just a happy group of bacteria and yeast living together. Kefir goes by several other names like California Bees, Sea Rice, Water Crystals, Ginger Beer, and Tibicos.
Why would you want to drink kefir water?
Great question! Water kefir is an excellent alternative to soda. It provides you with gut loving probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Aiding you in digestion and keeping your intestinal life moving right along.
There are several things I like about kefir water. First I like its fizzy pop feel. I like the fact that it is a great probiotic to add to my diet and it is a great alternative to sugary and diet soda. I have drunk kefir water right along with sandwiches, salads, meat and potatoes supper, as well as breakfast. My favorite flavor of kefir water is grape with apple coming in second.
I look forward to seeing you back here in two weeks. We will go over where to get your kefir grains, the recipe for water kefir production, maintaining health grains, as well as helpful tips and tricks.
Have you tried water Kefir? What is your favorite flavor?