Tag Archives: Healthy

How to Make Water Kefir – Step by Step Tutorial

Shortly after discovering how much I loved making Kombucha, I also discovered another probiotic home brewed beverage, water kefir. What I loved about the idea of water kefir was that it seemed so much less involved than making kombucha, but still had the carbonation that we love, as well as the great flavour. Some other great things about it: the brew time was shorter, the supplies needed were fewer and less expensive and the cost per batch was significantly less because there is no tea required to make it. I still love kombucha, but these days you’ll find me drinking and making water kefir far more often.

Water Kefir is made using ‘kefir grains’. The word ‘grain’ is actually a bit misleading though because it’s not, nor does it contain any actual grains. Kefir grains are basically gelatinous blobs of beneficial bacterial culture. The fermentation happens when you make a sugar water mixture and place the grains inside of it. Much the same way as a SCOBY survives off of the sugar when making Kombucha, these kefir grains eat the sugar in the sugar water mixture. The leftover liquid is a beverage is filled with all sorts of wonderful probiotics. The taste is slightly yeasty and oh-so-good for your gut.

Here are my step by step instructions to making water kefir. I’ve been making this regularly for nearly a year now with awesome success. If you have anything to add that I may have missed or if you have any questions, please ask in the comments section!

Water Kefir Tutorial Step by Step recipe

Step 1: Acquire Kefir Grains

I acquired my initial batch of water kefir grains for free from a lady who was giving them away on a local buy and sell site. Since these grains do multiply over time, anyone who makes water kefir should have some to share eventually. If you aren’t able to find anyone locally, some can be ordered from here on the Cultures for Health website.

Water Kefir Grains

Step 2: Collect your materials and ingredients

You will need:

– Water kefir grains (approx. 3-4 tbsp worth)

– One large glass Mason jar (I’m using a 1.9L size and it’s perfect)

– 4 or 5 flip-top bottles (I like Grolsch beer bottles – they’ve stood up well to TONS of use)

– A plastic or nylon mesh strainer (grains are not supposed to come into contact with metal)

– A wooden or plastic spoon

– A plastic funnel

– A large plastic or melamine mixing bowl

– 6 cups of water

– 1/4 cup white sugar

– 10-15 raisins, a pitted date or dried fig

– Apple juice or another pure fruit juice of your choice

– 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

– 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)

Step 3: Prepare your mixture

Begin by placing your water kefir grains into the bottom of your clean jar. Place 1 cup of water into a pot and begin bringing to a boil. Just before it reaches a boil, place your 1/4 cup of white sugar in the water, stirring with your wooden spoon to dissolve. Once fully dissolved, turn heat off. Place your remaining 5 cups of room temperature water into your mixing bowl. Slowly stir your hot sugar water mixture into that. Once all is combined, pour the contents of your bowl into the jar containing your grains.

Because kefir grains love minerals, feel free to switch up their food source. I often use raisins simply because they are inexpensive and we always have some. You could, however, also use pitted dates, dried figs, clean egg shell or any combination of these. I also add in a bit of lemon juice and pure maple syrup at this point as well.

Step 4: Let the magic happen!

Screw the cap on your jar lightly and place water kefir in a place where it can remain undisturbed for 48 hours (your kitchen counter is fine). During the 48 hour fermentation time, a few things might happen. You may notice that your liquid becomes a little yellowish in colour and the fruit and/or grains may move around and/or float due to the natural carbonation that’s occurring. It’s all totally normal. Just enjoy the show!

making water kefir

Step 5: Separating your liquid and bottling

Once your 48 hours are up, you are ready to bottle! Place your strainer over your mixing bowl and begin pouring your liquid through it. The strainer should be catching all of the grains as well as your raisins/fruit/egg shell. Using your plastic or wooden spoon, carefully remove your dried fruit/egg shell from the grains and discard. Place grains back into the jar. You can then follow steps 1 through 4 to complete your next batch!

Water Kefir Tutorial

 

Water Kefir grains close up

For bottling, be sure your bottles are clean. I like to give mine a rinse with hot water and vinegar just before using them. Then using your plastic funnel, fill bottles about 1/4 of the way with the fruit juice of your choice. We find apple juice to be the best flavour for this but you could use any. Then using a funnel, fill the remainder of the bottle with your kefir. At this point I always add in 2 or 3 raisins. I once read that this helps to keep your beverage carbonated. I have no idea how true it is but I do it anyway!

water kefir bottles

Seal your bottles and store at room temperature until ready to drink. I recommend not waiting longer then 48 hours though since a) You’ll have a new batch to bottle in another 48 hours and b) The carbonation builds quite quickly and you could end up with a broken bottle and/or an explosion! Speaking of which, to open bottles for drinking I recommend doing so in a sink with a plastic bag over the lid. You’ll thank me for this tip later! 😉

Making Water Kefir easy recipe

probiotic healthy pop recipe

Water Kefir Drink Recipe Ottawa

 

That’s it! That’s how you make this healthy, delicious natural soda! Enjoy! 🙂

 

Yummy Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad

This is the third and final post in this collaboration with my friend Julie, the uber talented chef behind The Magic Fridge. Her first recipe for delicious lamb shanks can be found here. The second recipe for a yummy vegan squash soup can be found here. All three recipes are definitely worth a try! And who knows…we may do this again some day as I know she has a wealth of delicious recipes worth sharing.

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad

– 1/2 a red onion, very thinly sliced (optional)

– 2 tsp olive oil 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

– 1 apple

– 1 pear

– 1 cup roasted or steamed butternut squash cubes (optional – but highly recommended by me!)

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp Dijon mustard, or more if desired

1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powders 1

1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Set aside. Place sliced onions in a large mixing bowl.

Put oil in pan and heat on medium-high. Sauté sprouts until they are bright green and slightly tender but still crunchy. Pour them into the bowl, too. Thinly slice the apple and pear and add them to the bowl along with the squash, if using. Toss with the dressing about an hour before serving.

Vegan brussels sprouts salad

Brussels Sprouts

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe

 

Luscious Vegan Raspberry Lime Freezer Pops

I bought fresh raspberries at the grocery store the other day. To be honest, they aren’t something I usually buy fresh. We eat a lot of berries in our green smoothies but frozen tend to be the best price and easiest to store. The disadvantage to this though is that the flavour of any one fruit isn’t really appreciated. They over-shadow each other and sadly, raspberry usually gets labeled as that sour berry that leaves those annoying seeds in your teeth.

Raspberry details

Oddly enough, I have many fond memories associated with raspberries. The first bite of them after not having had them in so long took me right back to my Granny and Papa’s backyard in Scarborough. The summer afternoons we’d spend out there as kids. Playing, eating, gathering together with cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and relatives from near and far. My granny didn’t actually have a raspberry bush. It belonged to the neighbours on the other side of the chain-link fence. My younger brother and I would grab plastic Tupperware bowls from the kitchen, crouch down low and reach our fingers through the holes in that fence to pick only the ripest, rosiest ones off the bush. Looking back I’m not even sure why we bothered to get the bowl. Most of them went directly from the plant to our mouths. The odd time we’d smash them and make ‘raspberry jam’. More often than not though I preferred to eat the berries as is, one by one. Place it on the tip of my tongue, open side down, and squish it flat against the roof of my mouth. This is the best way to enjoy them. Savouring it’s sweet, slightly tart, summery flavour slowly and softly. Chewing? Not even an option.

fresh Raspberries

I’m not sure whether this neighbour ever knew. To this day I bet they had no idea that those raspberries growing along the fence of their mostly neglected and unused backyard are associated with one of the most wonderful, delicious memories of my childhood. Memories also involving Sunday drives in the city, sunburns, side ponytails, jelly shoes, backyard wrestling, the smell of my Granny’s pot roast wafting from the windows of her little house on Craiglee Drive and the sound of her voice in her Irish accent saying “Don’t be picking too many of those raspburries now or the neighbours’ll be cross with ye!”.

Raspberries in a dish

I’m always seeing such unique and delicious sounding recipes on Pinterest for various delicious frozen treats and that inspired me to create my own freezer dessert on a stick. I incorporated two of my favourite flavours – raspberry and lime and also made them with the potential to be raw, vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free and paleo friendly. Why? Because I think everyone should enjoy these. Including my own kids who I hope will have some of their own special food related memories because of the things I make. 🙂

vegan Raspberry Popsicle recipe

pink popsicle close up

Luscious Raspberry Lime Freezer Pops – makes 6 large bar style popsicles

– 1.5 cups fresh raspberries
– 1 can full fat coconut milk
– Juice of one lime
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
– 1/4 pure maple syrup or honey.

Pour entire contents of coconut milk into a blender along with the vanilla, lime juice and maple syrup or honey. Blend well until mixture is smooth. Add whole raspberries and blend for a few seconds more. Longer if you want your popsicles smooth, or blend for a shorter time if you want visible fruit chunks. I prefer a little chunk 😉

Pour mixture into popsicle moulds and freeze until bars are solid. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and enjoy!

popsicle

Paleo Raspberry coconut milk popsicles