Water Kefir: A Kid-friendly Beverage
Water kefir is one of the easiest cultured foods to get kids interested in. If your children love soda pop with all of its sweet bubbliness then they will love water kefir.
Water kefir is made in much the same way as milk kefir, with grains. These grains are placed in sugar water, which the grains feed off of during the culturing process. This is known as the first fermentation.
During a second fermentation the cultured water kefir is bottled with a small amount of juice, flavorings, or dried fruit. The second fermentation produces a carbonation and develops flavor.
It might seem difficult to get your child to quit drinking soda, but with water kefir’s many child-friendly benefits it may be easier than you think.
Water kefir, as a cousin to milk kefir, contains bacteria and yeast. The starter grains feast on sweetened water rather than milk. This produces a beverage full of friendly bacteria, yeasts, and vitamins and minerals.
Upon a second fermentation a fruit or other component is added. This flavors the water kefir and adds a bit of carbonation. These flavorings help produce a product that, in the end, tastes a bit like fruit-flavored sodas but aren’t quite as cloyingly sweet.
Compared to kombucha, water kefir is less acid, giving it a milder flavor more palatable to kids.
The sweetness of water kefir is dependent entirely on the time that you allow it to culture. The longer it cultures, the more sugars are eaten up by the culture, and the less sweet it will be.
Water kefir can be flavored in a plethora of ways. Fruits and juices are common choices, but a cream soda or root beer flavor may also be achieved. Here are some ideas:
To flavor water kefir you must do a second fermentation. You pour the water kefir off into a sealable bottle, saving the grains for your next batch. To each bottle of water kefir add an ounce or so of juice, a few dried fruits or berries, or extracts plus a pinch of sweetener to help with the carbonation (since the extracts usually do not contain any sugars).
You then allow this second fermentation to take place over the course of a few days, during which the water kefir feasts off of the additional sugars in the juice, fruit, or sweetener.
It is this second fermentation process that produces the carbonation. By consuming on the sugars, the kefir's bacteria and yeasts produce gases. These gases, when trapped in an airtight bottle, result in the carbonation.
The carbonation also adds to the aid in digestion that water kefir already is. When chilled, the carbonation also makes the kefir a fizzy soda substitute that children will love.
Water Kefir Popsicles
Another great thing about water kefir is its ability to become a frozen treat that your kids will love... and so will you since it is a tasty alternative to sugar-laden popsicles.
Simply pour flavored water kefir into popsicle molds, or mix it with some fruit puree or additional sweetener for an even richer treat.
While it may be a struggle to get your kids interested in sauerkraut or milk kefir, water kefir might be the easist cultured food to start your kids on. And after they fall in love with it, perhaps the other cultured foods will come naturally.
|Water Kefir Grains (starter culture)
|Water Kefir Starter Kit
|750 ml Flip-top Grolsch-style Bottle|