Consuming an excessive amount of sugar isn’t good for your health and for your looks. For that reason, we tend to exclude this ingredient from our diet or simply consume it smaller amounts. Yet, kefir sometimes needs a bit of sweetness in it, especially if you want to drink water kefir. Water kefir without any additional flavor tends to be a bit bland, although many people prefer it that way.
But, if you love drinking your kefir with some extra sweetness, we’re going to give you a couple of ideas on how to make it sweet without adding any sugar.
So, how to make water kefir without sugar? There are a few ways to make kefir without sugar. Most popular ones are using coconut water, stevia, fruit juice, dried fruits or fresh fruits.
If you are interested in how to make kefir with these sugar replacements please keep reading the following sections.
Top 5 Best Ways to Make Water Kefir Without Sugar (Recipes Included)
Water Kefir and Fruit Juice
The most common way you can add a bit of sweetness to your water kefir is by adding some fruit juice. There are two ways you can do that. The first one is by buying a low-sugar fruit juice from the nearest market. The good thing here is that you can pick a flavor you want, which will directly impact the tone and the taste of your kefir. Buying a low-sugar juice means that you’ll still have a bit of sugar in your kefir. Yet, if you didn’t know, the sugar from the juice will be used during the fermentation process, by the water kefir grains. Kefir grains are very powerful during the fermentation process, making them ideal for breaking down sugar.
Although it’s called water kefir, you don’t need any water here. Simply pour the kefir grains into the fruit juice and you’re good to go. Some people will advise that you add a bit of honey to enhance the fermentation process, although it’s not necessary. Furthermore, honey also has sugar in it and we want something that’s very low in sugar.
When adding the kefir grains, cover the jar and leave it for about 48 hours to ferment. Depending on the temperature, you might need to leave it for 72 hours maximum.
How to add some fruit juice? You can do this by squeezing some lemon, orange or lime into your kefir. Furthermore, if you have a strong blender, you can pop in some healthy fruit like strawberries, cherries, apricots or apples, blend them, and make kefir using this juice and some water. This isn’t going to be as sweet and delicious as the kefir from the low-sugar juice but hey, it’s a lot healthier and at least you know what you’re putting into your water kefir.
Coconut water kefir is simply an outstanding beverage. If we take a look at the coconut’s nutritional value, we can clearly see why coconut water is such a good thing to use. Coconut is a great source of fat, fibers, and sugar. Although coconut water has about 20 calories per 100g and is stripped of the major macronutrients, it still keeps some amazing micronutrients. These include magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and iron. Coconut water can be bought in health food stores and sometimes, it can be very expensive. Nonetheless, if you want to try coconut water kefir, you’ll need to buy it, one way or another.
So, how to make coconut water kefir? The ratio you need to keep in mind is two tablespoons of hydrated water kefir grains for every 4 cups of coconut water. So, if you want double the amount, pour 8 cups of coconut water and 4 tablespoons of hydrated water kefir grains. Cover your bowl or jar and leave it aside for about 48 hours to ferment. You should never leave it over 72 hours or less than 24 hours, it all depends on how you like your water kefir to taste. If you like it more fermented, you can leave it more than 48 hours and vice versa.
The downside of the coconut water kefir is that you’ll still need a little bit of sugar to strengthen the grains. Luckily, you can get away with a tablespoon of sugar, which is around 20 grams. Don’t forget that this is a CRUCIAL step. If your grains are too weak, you can destroy them and you’ll need to repeat the process from scratch. Don’t hesitate to put a little sugar. It’s still a modest amount compared to the amount of kefir you get per bowl or jar and most of that sugar will be used by water kefir grains.
Water Kefir with Artificial Sugar
When we talk about sugar replacements, you probably think about molasses or honey. In theory, they can replace sugar but after all, molasses and honey ARE sugar. For example, honey consists only of sugar and water. About 82% of honey is sugar, while the rest is water. No fat, no protein. The same applies to molasses, which indicates that these two have a lot of unnecessary calories.
You may now bash me and tell that honey is very healthy and that you can eat it as much as you want. This isn’t true and the facts speak for themselves. Whether you eat sugar or plain honey, it boils down to the exact same thing.
If we got that out of the way, then what sugar replacements can you use? The most practical one is stevia. This is an artificial sweetener and sugar substitute that’s made from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, which grows in Paraguay and Brazil. The great thing about stevia is that it tastes 30 to 150 times sweeter than sugar! For example, a single gram of stevia equals to 30 or 150 grams of sugar, in terms of sweetness.
The downside of artificial sweeteners is that they work better with milk kefir. Milk itself has more bacteria than water (water has none!), which makes kefir easier to make, whereas, with water kefir, you’ll need a pinch of sugar to make grains stronger. As for the fermentation, the same principles from above apply. Pour in some water, add some sweeteners or sugar, add some kefir grains, leave it for 48 hours or so, and you’re ready to go.
Dried fruit represents an excellent source of glucose, as well as magnesium and calcium. In my opinion, dried fruit is a bit underrated, as many people neglect this powerful snack. Whereas raw fruit mostly has fructose, in dried fruit, we can find mostly glucose. If you know a thing or two about these two types of sugars, fructose is much worse. The reason for this is that fructose can’t replenish glycogen in your muscles and does NOT give you energy! On the other hand, glucose is very important for both muscles and your brain. Without glucose, your brain won’t function well.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how can you make water kefir with some dried fruit? Well, simply make water kefir and add some dried fruit into it, when you’re ready to drink. If you want to accentuate that flavor from dried fruit, you can add it preemptively, before the kefir ferments.
The fermentation will dissolve sugar from your kefir and after that, you can drink it while consuming fewer calories than you normally would. This way, your kefir will have a quality nutrition value, as well as wonderful taste.
Finally, you can also make kefir with fresh fruit. With the fresh fruit, the possibilities are endless. If you want calorie-rich kefir, you can go with the fruit with a higher amount of sugar, such as bananas, apples, oranges, and pears.
Alternatively, if you want a low-sugar fruit, various types of berries can be introduced – strawberries, blueberries, etc.
The same principle applies here, as you can put in the fruit during the fermentation process or after it is done. The fructose from the fruit will help the fermentation process and you won’t need to add more sugar, which is great if you’re on a strict diet.
To conclude, remember that you can make your kefir however you want. This the main beauty of this beverage, as it can easily adapt to almost everyone’s taste. Some like their kefir with fruit, while some will rather drink coconut water kefir or simply milk kefir. If you’ve read our list thoroughly, you can see that making kefir isn’t that hard, even if you don’t use sugar.
If you don’t add fruit or any kind of sweetener in your water kefir, remember to add a tiny bit of sugar, to make grains more active. Now that you’ve mastered the art of making sugar-free kefir, you can enjoy this beverage with your family!