I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get healing, immune building foods into my family. With the probiotics and the immune boosting vitamins of elderberries, this fizzy, delicious this Probiotic Elderberry Water Kefir is a healthy healing drink.
I was first introduced to kefir while living in Russia. My roommate, a German cook, was trying to make herself drink it every day “because the Russians say it’s good for you.” No reason why it’s good for you, it just is. Come to find out, upon my entrance to the health-food realm, kefir actually is good for you! Thank you, babushki.
Russian kefir, and the majority of the world’s, is made from fermented milk. But thankfully for lactose-intolerant folks like myself, it can also be made from water and coconut milk. Ever since I started focusing on healing my gut through the GAPS Diet, I’ve been enjoying the many benefits of water kefir. It’s very easy to make at home and you can flavor it however you like, resulting in an easy, healthy soda alternative.
Kefir is made from fermenting sweetened milk or water with translucent little grains. Whether it’s made from milk or water, kefir is a delicious probiotic drink containing healthy bacteria and yeast that feed off the unhealthy bacteria and yeast in the digestive track. Thus helping things balance out internally.
Please note: Kefir grains are not actually grains. Kefir grains are actually little colonies of bacteria and yeast. Though water kefir is made with sugar, the end result doesn’t contain any, though the drink is naturally sweet.
Kefir offers more benefits than just killing un-beneficial yeast and balancing bacteria, though. Due to it’s unique makeup, kefir is actually said to help kill candida. It also contains high levels of vitamin B12, betacarotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, and enzymes.
Even though it can be made with either milk or water, the end results are said to be the same, though the exact amount of vitamins and minerals will vary based on the milk used and/or where you live.
Healthy cup of bubbly.
After fermenting, water kefir is usually sweet and slightly bubbly. Though I like water kefir plain, my family prefers to drink it after a second ferment with added fruits and/or spices. Not only does doing this add flavor, it can also add nutritional benefits, depending on the fruits used during the second ferment.
My husband’s current favorite flavor: elderberry.
Since moving to the south, I was delighted to find that I have two elderberry trees in my backyard. My very own backyard! Every forager/aspiring herbalist’s dream. Unfortunately, I have to fight the birds for them.
It’s worth the fight, though. 😉
A nutritious little berry.
Containing amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamins A, B and huge amounts of vitamin C, elderberries have long been used for their anti-viral, antibacterial, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. Their bioflavonoids are even capable of destroying the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Some studies have also found the antioxidant balance of elderberries to be greater than equal doses of vitamin E and vitamin C.
During cold and flu season (right around the corner… sigh), I like to do all I can to keep my family healthy by
drowning them in giving them doses of my homemade elderberry syrup. It’s super easy to make, and tastes delightful – my kids love it.
Most uncooked berries from this genus are poisonous. But sambucus nigra (the variety of elderberry that is usually used for health benefits) is the only variety considered to be non-toxic even when raw. It’s still recommended that you cook the berries, though, as it enhances their taste and makes them more easily digested. For this drink I use dried elderberries, so if you use raw ones the finished product may have a more tart taste. 🙂
Like anything fermented, water kefir does contain a wee bit ‘o alcohol. But the alcoholic content is usually less than a percent, making it pretty impossible to get drunk off of. But – in my opinion – that makes it a great option for a romantic stay-at-home date for mom and dad. 😉
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
Probiotic Elderberry Water Kefir
Free from grain, gluten, eggs, dairy, and refined sugar.
After the first ferment, pour kefir into a clean jar and add elderberries. Cover with an air-tight lid and set in a dark place to ferment again for at least 24 hours.
I like to use flip-top bottles (like these) for my ferments.