This amazing article was written by Nicole, a holistic nutritionist with a strong belief that it is possible for everyone to discover how good their body is designed to feel. Nicole works in partnership with her clients to achieve a lifestyle that is both balanced, fulfilling and nourishing. Go check out her fantastic blog with healthy recipes, or follow her on Facebook!
If you’ve read a few of my other Hearty Soul articles such as making turmeric sauerkraut and turmeric toothpaste – you will see that I have a turmeric trend going on here. This powerful herb provides so many potential benefits for health and well-being that I am looking to share as many ways as possible to creatively including more turmeric in your lifestyle.
If you’re new to fermentation or are looking to expand your practice, the fizzy fermented beverage that I will be going over in this article is one of the best places to start, or it could be your next grand fermentation venture!
Water kefir is something that I have been making for a number of years now, it’s was my first ferment ever, and I have kept up with it over the years because it is low maintenance to make, requires only a short fermentation time and boy oh boy is it ever tasty!
If you haven’t heard of water kefir before, I will first let you know that this beverage is a vegan and non-dairy option- different than milk kefir – which is that drinkable, thinner ‘yogurt.’
Water kefir is different than kombucha, although it provides similar benefits and is another naturally carbonated probiotic drink – the brewing process between the two is quite different. First, water kefir doesn’t ferment using a ‘scoby’ like kombucha, and it also does not require caffeine from black tea, and it does not take at least 30 days to make a batch!
To brew water kefir, you will need something called water kefir grains (these aren’t real grains – they just look like it), filtered water and organic sugar.
Water kefir grains are made up of healthy bacteria and yeast, and the term ‘grains’ is used to describes the look of the culture. Cultures for Health Inc. is one of a few companies that packages and sells dehydrated water kefir grains (along with many other fermentation starters). You can also potentially find water kefir grains on Kijiji and Facebook (if you are comfortable with that), but also through friends (flashbacks to friendship bread).
You will only need to purchase the grains once, because once you begin brewing the grains will continue to grow and multiply! Avoid purchasing water kefir grain ‘powders’ because these will not multiply and then you will have to continuously buy these packages.
Why Are We Into Fermentation Again & What’s The Benefit?
The art of food preservation has been practiced for thousands of years, the simple and natural process of Lacto-fermentation encourages bacteria to feed on the sugar/starch, creating lactic acid. The process is used to preserve foods and beverages to extend shelf life (which is why it was such popular thousands of years ago). The process also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various strains of probiotics.
Fermentation has many benefits, but the main thing to remember is that lactic acid promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora which creates a healthy gut and immunity!
Consuming fermented foods and beverages is an easy way to ensure you are getting in natural ‘whole-food’ probiotics for gut health, along with a higher nutrient value! In the case of water kefir, the beverage alone will contain health strains of probiotics and yeast to balance the intestinal flora when you add a powerful herb like turmeric to the second ferment (which we will get into that) you are now not only benefiting from the probiotics but also from the many phytonutrient compounds and benefits associated with turmeric.
Why You Need To Add Turmeric To Water Kefir
I am going to share with you exactly how to make water kefir and how to make a turmeric version in your second ferment so that you can benefit from and use more of this powerful healing herb!
A little re-cap on turmeric, why this herb is popping up everywhere in the natural health world. (And also why I am so keen on writing about it). Turmeric has a broad range of uses, from pain and inflammation, to depression, cancer, IBD, and diabetes – it can even be used to whiten your teeth naturally!
Using turmeric in its whole form is always best, which means utilizing the whole root or an organic powder – before it has been processed into extracts and isolates. Turmeric as a whole has countless natural health-promoting components including the much talked about ‘curcuminoids.’
When using turmeric, there are two really important things you should know – and then there is a third secret, which ties into why we should add it to water kefir!
First, you need healthy saturated FATS to absorb the active curcumin in turmeric, so always pair fresh organic whole root or organic turmeric powder with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee or sustainable palm oil.
Second, always pair turmeric with BLACK PEPPER as the piperine within (which is also responsible for the pungency in black pepper) will enhance the absorption and increases the bioavailability 
Now, if you’ve studied turmeric in the past, you may have already heard of using healthy fats and black pepper to increase absorption. The third and final secret for getting THE MOST benefit from this herb is to eat your turmeric FERMENTED.
This is where the fermented water kefir comes in, and the turmeric sauerkraut from my last post. The reason to ferment turmeric is because this increases the bioavailability. During digestion, the active component: curcumin transforms into different metabolites which can be more easily absorbed by the body.
Fermented foods also support and ease digestion. So if your GI isn’t in a prime state (you get bloated, have food intolerance’s, alternating constipation/diarrhea, acid reflux, and gas), using fermented foods and beverages can help take the ‘tax’ off of your digestive processes so that you can absorb, assimilate and utilize more of the nutrition within.
How well do you know your healthy ingredients? Take the quiz to find out!
How to Make Turmeric Water Kefir
Makes:1 L (4 servings)1 L (4 servings)
What You Need
1L mason jar
Unfluroridated & unchlorinated water (I use reverse osmosis with added Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops)
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Re-hydrated water kefir grains
For the 2nd Ferment
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric root, grated
Organic orange slices or freshly squeezed orange juice (or another fruit/juice of choice)
1 small nub of ginger (optional)
Pinch of black pepper
Add 1/4 cup of sugar to your 1 L mason jar and dissolve with a small amount of hot water
When the sugar has dissolved, fill the jar about an inch or two from the top with cool filtered water (saving room for flavorings in ferment #2)
Ensure the water is at room temperature, then add in the hydrated water kefir grains
Screw the lid on – but not tightly, or cover with cheesecloth/coffee filter, fitted with a rubber band (I always use mason jar lids and have been successful)
Allow to ferment on your counter for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out – try not to leave longer than this as it can starve the grains.
If using lids, make a habit of burping the jars every day (this is when you get to hear their activity!
Strain out your first ferment using a strainer, into a large glass measuring cup, save the grains and pour the fermented water kefir into a clean 1 L mason jar.
This is your first ferment, and the second is when you add flavor!
Follow the steps above again and reuse the grains. (Dissolve the sugar, add water, add grains, ferment)
Add in grated turmeric, whole fruit or juice (or both), ginger (if using) and black pepper to the fermented water kefir.
Cover again and leave on the counter to ferment for another 24-48 hours
You can now either strain out the whole fruit, turmeric & ginger or leave it as is. If you make future ferments using whole berries or juice, straining will not be required after the second ferment.
Store in the refrigerator after the second ferment and enjoy!
Flavors to Try
Adding a small handful of fresh or frozen berries to the second ferment is my favorite way to enjoy
After the first ferment, cap the water kefir without adding any flavorings. After two days, place in fridge and add in some pure vanilla extract before drinking for a cream soda taste!
Adding lemon juice and drinking right after the first ferment resembles a lemonade!
Doing the second ferment with grape, apple, cherry or pomegranate juice creates a fizzy fruit flavored drink.
Adding raisins or prune juice resembles Dr. Pepper.
Here are a few more great recipes to try!