There has been a word that has been floating around and at first I had no idea what it was. Kefir. What the heck is that?
Water Kefir is also known as, Sugar Grains, Tibicos, Tibi, or Japanese Water Crystals. Kefir is a Turkish word meaning “good life” or “long life”.
It is a healthy culture of bacteria and yeasts held in polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. It “eats” a lot of different kinds of sugary liquids to create lactic acid, alcohol(usually less than 1%), and carbon dioxide.
Where does it come from? There is no certain answer. Some people speculate that it was once referred to as “Manna from Heaven” as, it says in the Bible. Or, “The Gift of The Gods”. It does occur in nature and they are living organisms (not man made). Source
What is all the hype?
Kefir has a plethora of awesome benefits!
- It is a probiotic as well as an antiboitic.
- It has anti fungal properties.
- It helps in the aide of digestion in all food.
- It can help with unwanted and unhealthy cravings especially for sugar or sweet things.
- It can help with cleansing the liver.
- It helps with a clearer complexion, stronger/shiny nails, and giving hair a healthy shine.
- It helps to increase energy levels and an overall increased feeling of good health.
- If you drink it regularly, it can help with bowel movements and help promote a healthier digestive system.
- It can help women with their menstrual cycle and through menopause.
And the list goes on!
How do you use it besides just ol’ drinking it?
My husband and I wash our hair with kefir. We water our plants with it. We make Popsicles with it (we will have to put our recipe on here eventually). You can put the *kefir grains themselves into smoothies. You can make a homemade soda with it. And, you can always find more ways to use it.
*Side Note: Kefir is called a grain, but it does not contain any grain substance like wheat, or gluten. It is called a grain because, it looks like a grain.
Where do you get Kefir?
I got my Kefir from my grandmother, who bought some grains from a neighbor. You can find kefir here, or possibly even find some through word of mouth. Normal pricing is about 5 dollars for a 1/4 of a cup which will fill a quart jar.
How do you care for kefir?
What you need:
1/4 C. Water Kefir Grains
1 Quart jar (easiest thing I have found to keep them in)
1 Quart of spring water or filtered water (not chlorinated, we will get to that in a moment)
1/4 C. Organic raw cane sugar (like this)
What to do:
1) Make sure you have a clean quart jar.
2) Place room temperature or luke warm water into the jar.
3) Put in the sugar, and stir around to make sure it is mostly dissolved.
4)Then go ahead and put in the Kefir Grains.
5) Place something over the top so that stuff doesn’t get in it but make sure that it isn’t sealed because pressure does build up.
6) Give it 48 hours and then taste test it, if it is still sweet give it more time. If not go ahead and strain the water off, rinse the grains and repeat the process.
7) You can place the Kefir water into a glass and drink it right then, or you can place it into a storage container and drink it through out the day.
Making the water luke warm helps the sugar to dissolve better and makes it more digestible for the Kefir.
If you don’t want to buy water to use for the Kefir, but your water is chlorinated there are two ways to eliminate the chlorine. You can let your water sit on the counter for 24 hours and it will evaporate out, or you can boil it and then let it cool.
Don’t use metal on the grains it damages them (like the spoon for stirring and the strainer).
About once a week they will need rinsed off at the very least. Every couple of days would be ideal.
Sometimes when you first get started the grains need to adjust to your home. If the kefir isn’t growing try putting it in different places around your home.
I Suggest placing your kefir in a window sill, where it will get a lot of sunlight.
Unless you have well water, it isn’t suggested to use tap water because the chlorine doesn’t let the kefir grow well and can actually have the potential of killing it if it has a really
high concentration of chlorine.
Random Helpful Tidbits
- Kefir grains do have the potential to grow and double in size (A 1/4 cup could turn into a 1/2 cup eventually). So every once in a while you might want to measure out how many grains you have so you can put in an equal amount of sugar.
- Once you have a 1/2 cup you can split your grains into 2 jars putting a 1/4 cup in each. Then proceed with the same process, you just have double the amount now
- If you decide you want a break from kefir-ing or you are going on vacation, (or if you get pregnant and can’t stand the smell… Not that it has a strong one but with the nose of a pregnant woman…) and need them to not ferment as fast you can store them in your fridge in the sugar solution water. The cold will slow down their fermentation process and the kefir will last a couple of weeks in there. Also, you can remove the kefir from the sugar water and let them dry out. They can be stored in a jar. When you are ready to make kefir water again you can start the process back up. It might take them a few days or even a week to rejuvenate but they should come back to life.
- From experience, I have forgotten to care for my kefir grains, neglecting them for about a month. When I remembered them they were kind of slimy looking and had a pretty funky smell. I rinsed them off a couple of times and washed my jars out and started the process over again. It did take a few days for them to get going again, but they were just fine. Point of the story, they are pretty resilient.
- If you feed it regularily your kefir will grow in size and quantity. If you neglect it, like mine in the picture below, they will shrink in size.
In a nutshell, kefir has amazing benefits! It is easy to use, easy to take care of and pretty resilient. I would recommend it to anyone. I love having it and so does my husband!
Do you use kefir? What has your experience been?