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Why Water Kefir?

| 2/19/2018 10:37:38 AM

Essentially every time I edit a new article for Mother Earth Living, I want to try whatever it’s about. The soup recipes in January/February 2018? I bought an immersion blender. The body care oils from March/April 2018? I’m now the proud owner of a few of them. Any time a plant is mentioned I mentally place it in my future garden.

So imagine my lack of restraint when I read about kefir. Cousin to kombucha, kefir can be made with either milk or water plus the living grains that thrive in their respective liquid. Milk and water kefir are both powerful probiotics with a little bit of fizz, lots of friendly bacteria for the gut, and a handful of proven health benefits. Both are simple and quick to make at home, which made it more appealing to me than home-fermented kombucha. It sounded so easy!

Water kefir and grains
Photo by Adobe Stock/Eskymaks

Now, if you’re like me and know nothing about kefir — have never seen the completed drink, let alone the grains that create it — then it’s not quite as easy as hoped. Or maybe you’ll be more patient than I was. But let me start by saying that my first couple of attempts did not work. At all.

I was able to test out a product that our marketing team was considering for the Mother Earth Living store, which is why I attempted to make water kefir much sooner than I originally planned. The product came with grains, a jar and lid, and other supplies. But the grains were dehydrated, and as I didn’t yet know about hydrated vs. dehydrated grains — and the product included no instructions for rehydration — I simply put the dry grains in my sugar water and let the kefir begin.

Begin it did not, however, even after many days and three attempts. The grains I received were hard, small, tawny, and needed to be brought to life. Healthy water kefir grains are supposed to be firm and translucent. After two unsuccessful days with what I didn’t then know were dehydrated grains, I tossed the water and began again, once more following the product instructions. After another two days I did the same, not seeing any carbonation and not knowing why. Eventually, I threw the grains away, defeated.

2/20/2018 4:53:45 PM

I had great success with water kefir (as well as milk) in Seattle, but it bombed in Denver! Wondering if altitude effects this organism and how environment plays a role?

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