Meet ‘Kefir water’ – My Tummy Friend

Being an X chef, cookery tutor and food writer – I love to discover new foods. Sometimes I can be thrilled with a giant crumpet, while other times it all goes horribly wrong, like when I made chocolate & cherry scones but over looked adding enough sugar to combat the bitterness of the cocoa.

But last month I discovered Kefir Water – a probiotic brew you can make at home.

It’s freakishly weird, you order some kefir grains online, a living matter like yeast which will die if you don’t handle them correctly and will certainly die if you don’t feed them straight away-ish – you enter ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ territory. FEED ME! Feed me Sugar x

You need a glass jar of some sort with a loose-fitting lid – it needs to be covered but not tightly sealed as it needs to breath. I use a large kiln jar but don’t shut it, rather just leave the lid closed but loose. Plastic doesn’t work – it’s not pure enough like glass.

Your Kefir grains will come with directions – but these were mine – –

800ml of room temperature water is used, ordinary tap water won’t work as it has far too many chemicals which will harm the growth. Luckily, we have our own well, which goes through filters but doesn’t have any bad stuff added so that works perfectly, as does natural bottled water. You then stir in 3 tablespoons of natural sugar (I found 2 level tbls worked) – – not the white stuff, I use light brown natural sugar but you can buy unrefined, I’ve also used palm sugar but find that too molasses tasting. Give it a good mix – to dissolve the sugar. Then add the 70g of kefir grains on the day of delivery.

Leave somewhere cool and dark, a corner of the kitchen is fine as long as it’s not under lights or near the window – its shy! Not too much heat, not too cold, not light, not totally dark – don’t leave it in a cupboard, that’s for the spare husband!

Then leave it for 2 days – I’m no expert but it’s said to ferment, brew, bubble a bit and be ready after 24 – 48 hours. The longer option allows more of the sugar to be eaten making a smoother tasting drink with I think less calories.

You then strain the light brown liquid in to a jug. Wash out the jar ready for the next lot – – adding the water, stirring in the sugar and adding the kefir grains back in – no need to wash them off, just spoon em back in – they work forever, or forever for now, whoever gives up first.

Kefir water has a peculiar taste some people describe it as soda, as it’s a tad fizzy tasting, a little like mild alcohol after all it is fermented, so it does have a very small percentage of natural alcohol in it – don’t get excited there’s not enough to make you fall over or even laugh! – just a trace amount. But I think it tastes ok – not the best tasting drink, but you get a taste for it after a day or so.

A bit like cheap stale coke watered down with a touch of fresh sour apple juice.

So, to make it taste better I place a few fruity morsels in the jug and leave it to seep in the fridge for a bit – anything you’ve got really, a handful of halved grapes, a halved satsuma, a wedge of pineapple of mango – anything, even mint or coconut. If the fruits ok I roll it over a few times, so every 2 days when I refresh, I just add the new stuff to the jug of mulled fruits – then it tastes really good.

I’ve even used the kefir water as the liquid to a fruit smoothie – frozen fruits, a brown banana and a glass of kefir – – blend and enjoy.

The Kefir grains will grow – apparently sometimes they don’t if the conditions aren’t quite right but mine do – more multiply really, I’m experimenting at the mo but every week or so I take a third out placing them in a bag in the fridge – they should, if I’ve read it right, keep – keep for a few weeks or maybe more. Perfect to share or make other batches. Or if it starts growing legs and opens the fridge door – run!

You can refrigerate the kefir water for a week or two and even freeze, not sure how much that would affect the good effects. But we tend to enjoy a glass a day, making enough until the next lot is ready.

So why KEFIR WATER – – ‘The most Pro-biotic rich food on planet Earth’. So, it’s a pro-biotic – like the stuff you buy in bottles at a great expense. It contains over 30 strains of good bacteria.

It is said to:-

  • Boost Immunity
  • Heal the gut
  • Helps improve many digestive and immune health issues
  • Helps fight against tumours & carcinogens
  • Fights bad bacteria
  • Builds bone strength – so helps with osteoporosis
  • Helps combat cancer
  • Combats IBS and aids digestion
  • Improves allergy symptoms and asthma
  • Improves skin – reduced skin conditions
  • Milk Kefir improves lactose intolerance (milks another form of kefir, from another typr of culture (grain) obviously made with milk as a dairy product, which can also be bought.


More info on benefits go to


If your worried about calories – don’t – most of the sugar is eaten by the grains. Making it very healthy, low in sugar and therefor low in calories.

Kefir comes from the Turkish word Keif meaning feel good. It’s been around for century’s. Unrecorded, so its origins aren’t really known but stories originate from Tibet, Ukraine and the Caucasus Mountains. With Mexico making a mix from prickly pear recorded from the 1800’s but of course the good stuff would have been around a lot longer.

So, what are the grains – basically there composed from Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly other minor yeasts – NOW YOU KNOW!!!!


By Zena Leech-Calton ©