And how do you pronounce it?
If that’s you, I was right there with you a few months ago. I thought it was “keh-fur”, but you actually pronounce it “kuh-FEAR”, with the accent on the “fear”. No really – go back and say that in your head, don’t just skip the pronunciation part. It’ll come into play later in my story. 🙂
What Is Kefir?
Kefir, as I understand it, is a cultured beverage. When you think cultured, think yogurt, sour cream, “probiotics” and such. I don’t really understand much more though. Kefir (remember: “kuh-FEAR”) starts as little “grains” that look like cloudy, white, jellied fish bowl pebbles. You put them in some water with some sugar, and the grains eat the sugar and culture the water. That’s almost too much for my poor little brain to handle. All I know is that all the “real food” bloggers do kefir, and the Cultures for Health website said it’s a good sub for soda pop, so I thought I’d try it. My husband can’t quite talk himself into breaking his soda habit, and I’m looking to help him out. (See how he broke it with SodaStream here!)
I was a little disappointed that I had to add white sugar to my water, and I find myself wondering how much the kefir grains eat and how much is still left when I drink the finished product. UPDATE: see the reader comments – looks like only 20% of the sugar is left, which is not bad.[Need to learn more about fermenting? Try GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals, a multimedia course with videos, text files, and teacher interaction to help you through the new frontier of traditional foods.]
Lovey Girl, who never drinks anything but water and breastmilk, thinks kefir is the best thing she’s ever been given. She will suck a sippy cup of it down like nobody’s business! And Mommy is wondering how much sugar is left….!
At age four, Buddy Boy is a lover of all things new and novel, as I’ve mentioned before. Just saying, “Would you like milk, water or kefir with dinner?” got him all excited. “Kefir!” he chooses. He thinks the fizz is pretty cool, and he likes some of the add-ins that make it taste better.
Oh, yeah…kefir is naturally carbonated.
THAT is the coolest part!
I love that I can take plain old water, add a little sugar and some kefir grains and ferment for two days, and then leave the bottle closed up for another two days, and when I open the cap I hear “Pssssst!” So gratifying!
I have made carbonation! Ha ha ha! (Image in head: Tom Hanks in Castaway saying “Look what I have created! I have made fire!”)
Pros and Cons of Water Kefir
What I LIKE about Water Kefir
- Probiotic beverage
- Simple to make
- Daughter, son and I appreciate the taste
- Lots of flavor variations available…I just need to experiment more with them
What I DON’T like about Water Kefir
- Adding juice makes it taste best…but we don’t usually drink juice
- Cost of added juice or lemons ($)
- Husband doesn’t like it
- Friend says: smells like sour milk
- After four days on the counter, it tasted extra zingy, like alcohol. Whoa. ???
After hubby turned down the plain water kefir, the dried strawberry enhanced kefir, the raisin/lemon juice flavored kefir, and the vanilla (supposed to taste like cream soda) kefir, I decided to try an experiment. What more do you expect from me? I kefired his Gatorade. Powerade, actually. We dubbed it “Power-fir”. How cool does THAT sound? (See, I told you that you’d need to know the pronunciation. Go ahead, go back to the top of the screen and check. Cool, eh?)
I only used half my kefir grains in case something disastrous happened to them. They totally liked the Powerade, and after a day it definitely tasted less sugary, and then after another day it had even less sweetness. I thought it was really good – much better than the original, in fact! My husband said he doesn’t like to taste yogurt with his Powerade. 🙁 What’s a girl to do? Of course, Buddy Boy loved it to death, so he finished it off.
Unfortunately, I think I killed my kefir grains. They made the next batch of sugar water taste like…sugar water. Bummer. Good thing the other half of my grains will make a quart at a time, which is plenty for the three of us who drink it.
If you’d like to learn more about water kefir, visit Cultures for Health.
Here are the instructions for HOW to make water kefir and some tips I’ve learned in the process.
What about you? Would you try water kefir? Would you Power-fir it?
Recipes that actually work:
- Lacto-Fermented and Canned Garlic Dill Pickles
- Cooked Spelt Salad
Turkey Chili-Topped Turkey Burgers(Link no longer available)
- Sausage, Beans and Kale Soup
- Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss
I am a guest lecturer and partner with GNOWFGLINS eCourses, so I will earn commission from any sales made starting here. Of course, the courses are also an awesome way to learn to cook real food, so I’d gab about them anyway.