strawberry water kefir

strawberry water kefir
strawberries
strawberry water kefir

I've been trying to get this very simple water kefir recipe shot and written for over 6 months but kept putting it off. Other recipe ideas crept in and took priority and to be honest, photographing liquids simply hasn't always been my favorite. Sometimes photos do turn out but most often I find them to be a bit of a challenge. Light has to be just right and in the past when I've had a go at shooting this strawberry water kefir, it wasn't quite what I'd hoped, so I tabled the thing several times.

So for today I had an entirely different recipe planned. I was thrilled, loved the combination and was sure it would turn out just right. But after several tries realized it was not going to happen. It failed miserably. I was dissapointed and truly frustrated about the waste of time and ingredients but this is part of the process so I reluctantly had to accept it. After dusting the tapioca flour off my shirt, I had to come up with an alternative and fast.  

Serendipitously, in stepped water kefir. I'd just made a fresh batch and after staring at the bubbly, pink drink for a while, I realized today may just be its day. I couldn't quite believe it, my beloved water kefir was going to save me. 

So let's talk about this bubbly, delicious strawberry water kefir. If you're a soda drinker and are reading this blog, I'm going to go on a limb and say that maybe you're trying to make some sort of change and improve the health of your gut. Well you're in luck; this probiotic drink is a delicious and healthy alternative to the conventional stuff. But there is a commitment involved. Every 2-3 days, you have to switch the grains from their current water to a fresh batch of sugar water. Your grains will continue to grow and expand and eventually you will have to split and add them to other containers or if you have any takers, give some away.

Sound intimidating? It's not. I was sure I was going to mess it up when I first tried it but you'll see just how simple it is. In my opinion, the water kefir gets better after several batches once the grains really get used to the new environment. I've made this recipe many times with a variety of fruit and have settled on strawberries as holding up beautifully, fermenting well and though naturally losing their red color, they flavor the water perfectly. 

Since I can't find grains locally, the next best thing is Amazon. I've ordered from this company several times and can't say enough about their quality and consistency. 

strawberry water kefir
strawberry water kefir and strwberries
strawberry water kefir
strawberry water kefir

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strawberry water kefir

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • fermenting time: 2-3 days

  • makes: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw organic sugar

  • 1 batch water kefir grains (this varies from 3 tbsp-5 tbsp)

  • 4 cups spring water (it's important to use spring water)

  • funnel

  • 3-4 sliced strawberries

Equipment

Directions

Combine sugar and water in wide mouth bottle and stir with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Add water kefir grains, cover with coffee filter or cloth and secure with rubber band. Store at room temperature for 2-3 days. 

Once water kefir has finished fermenting, strain liquid in bottle with stopper and reserve grains. 

Add strawberries to the freshly poured water kefir, secure stopper and let water kefir sit on the counter for 1-2 days until you start to see bubbles and strawberries have lost their color. (You may not see a lot of bubbles until about the 2nd or 3rd batch)

Wash wide mouth bottle well and start the process all over again. 

You can do this indefinitely. Once you have about 1/2 cup grains, you can start dividing them into 2 batches. 

Here's a healthy, delicious & probiotic rich soda alternative that's inexpensive to make and lasts as long as you want it. Water kefir grains grow and multiply and yield a perfect drink for anyone who's looking for a soda replacement. #waterkefir, #kefirgrains, #guthealth, #calmeats, #paleodrinks, #paleo, #probiotics, #probioticdrinks, #kefir, #vegan, #digestion, #healthydrinks, #sodaalternative

 

 

how to make sauerkraut

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

My gut healing journey has been an eye opening experience. It's been exactly a year since the day I decided to give up gluten and dairy for good. It stands out as it was decisive and transformative. I vividly remember driving home from work, listening to a podcast on gluten sensitivity. What I was hearing hit me like a pile of bricks. I finally asked the question: "could gluten be at the root of all the issues I'd been struggling with?" I had to put the theory to the test and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made. 

If you're wondering why I gave up dairy as well - the answer is simple. Like gluten, cows milk proteins act as an allergen and can cause a similar immune response. 

But let's get back to the gut and more importantly to how to make sauerkraut. When it came to healing my gut, removing trigger foods and allergens was good but not enough. Working towards re-building what had been broken for so many years required that I focus on repopulating my gut bacteria. 

One surefire way I've done this probably the best way is by consuming fermented foods regularly, in particular sauerkraut. The stuff is truly miraculous. I believe out of all fermented foods, sauerkraut packs the most benefits in a very small serving. 

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

What are the benefits of sauerkraut? 

  • Improves digestion

  • Improves nutrient absorption

  • Better focus

  • Increases energy

  • Boosts immune system

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Improves cognitive function

Some sources state that something like 10 trillion live bacteria can be found in just two ounces of home made sauerkraut, which is the equivalent of a 100 count of bottled probiotics.  Another interesting article on the benefits of consuming sauerkraut and fermented food sheds some scientific light on this ancient food. 

Why make your own sauerkraut? 

My reasons are cost effectiveness and also knowing exactly what goes into it. A small jar of refrigerated sauerkraut that contains only salt and cabbage usually costs somewhere around $4-$5 dollars. Making your own will save you money and yield far more sauerkraut.

Easy on the sauerkraut the first time you eat it.

If you've never eaten sauerkraut before, I suggest starting out with only 1 tsp and building up to a few table spoons a day. Eating too much too soon can actually have some negative side effects such as upset stomach or diarrhea.  

How to make sauerkraut? 

I keep things very basic by using clean mason jars, one head of cabbage, that's been finely sliced and fine pink salt. I prefer pink salt because of the milder taste and added nutrients. You can either hand hand massage the cabbage and salt together or you can use a sauerkraut pounder in order to speed up the process. You can also choose to use a fermenting stone but it's certainly not a requirement.  

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.
A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

how to make sauerkraut

  • prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • fermenting time: 2 weeks to several months

Ingredients: 

Equipment: 

Directions: 

Ensure your work space is clean. Wash and dry mason jars. 

Cut cabbage in two and and finely slice the cabbage. Add to bowl along with salt and massage cabbage with both hands or sauerkraut pounder for about 5-8 minutes until cabbage starts to release a liquid. 

Stuff cabbage in jars and pour in liquid dividing it between jars. Press the cabbage firmly into jar ensuring the liquid bubbles to the surface. Option is to add fermenting stone. Twist on lid firmly and store in a cool, dark place and allow to ferment for 14 days to several months. Once you open the sauerkraut, store it in the refrigerator. 

*Tip: While fermenting, keep sauerkraut away from fluctuating temperatures such as dishwashers and stoves. The ideal temperature is between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. 


 

 

water kefir

Recently I've discovered a wonderful beverage, called water kefir. I've been a kombucha drinker for years, but wanted to dabble with making my own water kefir as an alternative. The name and process may sound intimidating, but I assure you it's easy and fun to make. You can get creative with the flavor and it's actually quite inexpensive. The result is a fruity, bubbly probiotic drink, that's perfect for the warm summer months (or anytime). It's also a great option for those who cannot tolerate caffeine that's often found in kombucha. Additionally, it's a great substitute if you're dairy free and cannot consume milk kefir. 

Kefir grains or tibicos are not actually grains at all but clusters of yeast and bacteria. These when combined with sugar water that's at a 65-90 degree temperature, cause fermentation, producing a bubbly soda like drink. The main difference between kefir and kombucha, is that you won't have the vinegar like taste, which some people have a hard time warming up to. 

It's no surprise that water kefir is beneficial for the gut since it's made up of bacteria. It's a fantastic way to get probiotics that don't come in pill form. It's also great for a number of reasons: 

  • it's a healthy, low sugar option to soda
  • it provides healthy gut bacteria 
  • fantastic for digestion
  • immune support
  • may help to prevent allergies 

If you want to get started with making your own kefir water, you will first need the kefir grains, which can be purchased here

Once you have the kefir grains, the culturing your grains part is fairly simple but it does take time. 

What you need for starting your grains: 

  • one quart jar
  • measuring cups
  • 3-4 cups spring or filtered water
  • coffee filter or kitchen towel
  • rubber band
  • thermometer (I didn't use one)
  • one packet dehydrated kefir grains
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar or sugar in the raw
  • small pot
  • mesh strainer (plastic is best, stainless steel is fine too but no aluminum as it reacts with the grains)

Directions

Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup boiling water and pour into jar. Swirl around to ensure that all the sugar has dissolved. Next add 3 - 3 1/2 cups of room temperature filtered water. At this point, if you want to be exact, you can measure the temperature to ensure it is between 68-85 degrees. Then, add the kefir grains. Cover with coffee filter and secure with rubber band. Store at a temperature of 68-85 degrees for 3-4 days. 

Once your grains have cultured, strain the grains and set aside in a bowl. They should look plump and squishy. Now you're ready to start flavoring your water. 

Fruity water kefir

Ingredients

  • 2-3 sliced strawberries
  • seeds from 1/2 passion fruit
  • a few slices of mango
  • 2-3 raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar or sugar in the raw
  • 3-4 cups spring or filtered water

Directions

Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup boiling water and pour into a clean jar. Swirl around to ensure that all the sugar has dissolved. Add 3 - 3 1/2 cups of room temperature filtered water and add the cultured kefir grains. Again, prior to adding grains, you can check the temperature if you want to be exact. Lastly, add the fruit, cover with coffee filter and secure with rubber band as shown below. 

Let this sit for 24-48 hour. Next, pick out the fruit and strain the fruity water into a storage bottle and store it in the refrigerator. Strain the grains and set aside. Repeat the above process for the next batch of fruity water. You can get creative with the fruit. I've used bananas, and other sweet fruit as the grains love feasting on the sweet stuff but you'll be left with a low sugar, beneficial drink as the bacteria and yeast consume most of the sugar. 

The beauty of these grains is that you can use them over and over and make batch after batch. Enjoy!