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Cucumber Lime Water Kefir

24 June

kefir_jarWhat is it about summer that makes us so happy?

A whiff of sweaty sweet beach skin, a rumble of thunder, the feeling of juicy fruit juice dribbling down my chin, and my inner kid wakes up to put me in a place of deeper satisfaction with the little things in life. And that satisfaction finds me more willing to drop into the flow of life, instead of fighting against it.

This summer in particular I am finding myself surrendering to more frequent smiles, and yielding to nearly every opportunity for fun and spontaneity. It’s glorious.

Of course, I’m also now getting a daily infusion of sun-powered vitamin D, which I’m chronically deficient in, and this helps everything feel better. Either way, summer agrees with me.

And we’re thoroughly enjoying the kick-off to the sweaty season at GRUB by celebrating the ease it brings to our cooking and eating: simple grilling, the bounty of foods that can be enjoyed minimally prepared, and especially the opportunities to appreciate hydration in the very specific way only a 95 degree day can offer.

The feeling of starving and then eating delicious food is satisfying, but it doesn’t hold a candle to quenching a deep thirst.

When I feed my hunger, there’s a delay to satiety: my mouth is excited about the food, sure, but my stomach, my head, my blood need time to catch up to the input they are receiving.

But with thirst, there’s that beautiful “oh YES!” that happens with every swallow – my body responds so quickly and positively, I imagine my cells happily soaking up the sustenance. A good drink instantly clears the heat fog and invigorates my entire body.

Needless to say, this is the season when drinks really shine. Water is brilliant and critical, don’t skip drinking it, but when you’re thirsty from being constantly hot and active, you start to crave something other than the clear stuff.

Sugary drinks increase your thirst {as well as confuse your blood sugar and metabolism, and suppress your immune system, among many other evils!}, and since I don’t drink white wine all day {at least not before 8pm!}, I need a drink that’s refreshing, light and incredibly hydrating. And while we’re at it, I want it to hint at a spa experience, too!

Well, Ladies and Gents, we have created a summer drink that fits all of the above criteria: Cucumber Lime Water Kefir.

You have to like cucumber to go with this one, and since my picky 5 year old is learning to like it, I’m going to trust that your palate has learned to embrace it as well. It’s a crisp and refreshing vegetable, and here are 2 nutrition based reasons to love it:

1. Despite its mild color and watery make-up, cucumbers boast an impressive nutritional profile! They contain B vitamins, along with C & K, & loads of minerals. Because of this, they are an awesome “pick me up” snack that can hydrate and energize. This also makes them an awesome hangover food.

2. Valuable phytonutrients, like lignans and flavonoids, are also found in cucumbers. These compounds provide powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. It’s the same compounds that make cucumber slices applied directly to the skin so toning and spa-worthy.

On top of the refreshing mineralization of cucumber, there’s a hint of lime in this recipe as well. It hits a beautiful high note that the cucumber doesn’t, and balances the whole equation perfectly. Lime is utterly underappreciated, and perhaps in another blog post we can extoll its virtues. For now, let’s just get to the recipe.

Don’t like cucumber?  What Water Kefir flavors are quenching your thirst these days?  Tell us in the Comments section below!

Drink in the summer!

Cucumber Lime Water Kefircucumber
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbs Water Kefir culture
4 cups filtered water
8 raisins or 1 dried apricot OR fig OR date (or other unsulphured dried fruit of your choice)
3-6 slices of fresh cucumber
½ lime, juiced

Combine sugar, water and dried fruit in a quart-sized Mason jar, and shake to dissolve most of the sugar. Add Water Kefir cultures, put the lid on, and place jar in a dark, dry area (like a cupboard) for 24-48 hours.

Using a mesh strainer, strain the dried fruit and grains from the liquid, catching the liquid in a second quart-sized Mason jar. Discard the dried fruit, and reserve your cultures to make another batch.

To your newly strained Water Kefir liquid, add the cucumber slices and lime juice. Replace the lid, and store in cupboard for another 24-48 hours, until tart but slightly sweet and fizzy.

Strain your finished Water Kefir, discarding the cucumbers, and drink over ice, or store in a flip-top bottle in the refrigerator.

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Liz Flint-Somerville, Nutritional Consultant

Liz was a partner in Grub for 3 amazing years and helped author many of our most beloved recipes and posts. She is now dedicating her time to caring for her family, writing poetry, and continuing to cook delicious Real Foods.

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2 Responses to “Cucumber Lime Water Kefir”

  1. Paige Oliver June 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Ryanna, missing you guys at Grub. I still have kefir grains that have been in my fridge untouched or unopened for over a year, or since I was there last. The grains look like they are alive but just not sure how they can be. Could I bring them by for you to look at or should I just start over with a new kit? Life got crazy and I quit doing anything for my health but have just recently started Paleo and am drinking infused waters. Starting to walk and exercise and am finally making my health a priority.

    Also didn’t know if you ever do any classes dealing with Paleo?

    Would love to hear from you. Paige Meshaw now Paige Oliver

    • Ryanna Battiste June 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      Good to hear from you, Paige!

      The best way to know if your Water Kefir Cultures are alive and well is to try brewing it: put your cultures in a jar with 1/4 cup sugar, dried fruit & filtered water, and let them sit in a dark place for 48 hours. Then open the jar and look and smell: are there bubbles? is the culture moving? Take a sip: if it tastes like straight sugar water, then your cultures are no longer active. But if there’s a slight fermented tang, there’s hope! Strain and flavor, and let sit for the 2nd ferment. It might take 2 rounds to get your Water Kefir tasting really great, but the culture WILL revive!

      If they’re beyond hope, stop by GRUB. Our new summer hours are Tuesdays 5p-7p and Thursdays 11a-1p, or give us a call and we’ll find a time to meet here.

      The class we offer that is closest to what you’re looking for is our Gut Health Workshop, which will run again in the fall! If you’d like some support now, check out what I offer for health coaching: the price of private coaching is comparable to the group workshop, and we can really focus on what you need.

      Good luck with those cultures! Or we’ll see you soon!

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