What are the reasons behind all the recommendations to use genuine water kefir grains to make home-made kefir, vs buying it at the store?• Like most things in life, a good thing just cannot be packaged or processed. It always ends up taking away some portion of the quality or essence of the food when creating something 'safe' and with a shelf life. Although Commercial Water Kefir is rare to even find at the store, we believe some specialty grocers do carry it. From what we have read, commercial water kefir is produced from a combination of selected bacteria and yeast that mimic the flavor of traditional water kefir. This leaves you with a product that while good, does not offer the variety of probiotics, amount of probiotics, or quality of nutrients that traditional home-made water kefir from water kefir grains because it is not made from the grains themselves.
• Although most all of the commercial kefir contains live probiotics, the companies have limitations as to how they can process kefir so that it can be 'standardized' and regulated. Some companies have a 'mother batch' with live grains, which they then take kefir from, to use as the starter (instead of the grains), to make their kefir. Others combine carefully chosen strains of bacteria and yeast tomimic the flavor of genuine kefir. While both are still healthy choices, you are not getting the full spectrum at the full potency (some brands advertise 10 strains, genuine kefir has upwards of 40 strains) that home-made kefir with kefir grains will give.
• You may notice that moststore-bought water kefir is produced one way. While with home-made water kefir you have the option of easily creating a flat, mild water kefir, extra fizzy kefir, extra sweet kefir, or extra tangy kefir (and a myriad of flavoring options).
• Popular Kefir starter packets, while nice, do not produce genuine kefir anddo not offer the same qualities that exist in genuine water kefir made by water kefir grains. These packets are often mistaken as genuine but only live kefir grains produce the traditional genuine kefir. Kefir packets do not offer the same probiotic content (only 7 strains of probiotics, genuine kefir has around 40+ strains), acid contents, certain polysaccharides formed by the grains and many of the other natural healthful by-products that occur specifically during fermentation from the live grains.
• Unlike packets or store-bought kefir, kefir grains areself-sustainable, since they actually grow and make new grains at a rate of 10-400% each time they're fed. If this was the case with commercial, they would go out of business over-night
• Youknow what is going in it - forget about worrying about what they use to preserve, thicken or flavor it with - this can be quite the ordeal when on a special diet or if you have allergies. No citric acid or yellow #5 involved here! Just sugar, water and the occasional dried fruit and lemon!
• The cost you will besaving is enormous. Commercial water kefir is still quite rare and is pricey. Learning how to make your own beverages at home will save you a bundle in the long run.
• If you were to go through two or three store-bought 16-oz water kefir bottles a week, that would total between approx.$415-$622 a year. On the other hand, the cost of the sugar, dried fruit and lemon needed to make this same amount at home will cost you far less, coming out to only around $3-$43 a year for the same amount (32-48 oz a week).
• That is a substantial savings of around88-99%! You can still easily come out ahead even after investing in some exotic and fun flavorings to add to your water kefir with that kind of savings. To break that down, if you want to make 32 oz (4 cups, or a quart) of water kefir a week, you will spend approx. $5 for sugar (10 lb bag) which has enough sugar for 90 uses. That's just shy of 2 years' worth of sugar (or roughly $2.50 a year). For a year's worth of bulk organic raisins, the cost comes out to about 0.23/oz or less, making it approximately $3.60 a year or less. The cost for a wedge (1/4) of lemon (at an average of $0.70 a lemon) for a year comes to about $36.40 - which is not even a necessary ingredient.This totals around $43 a year. If you use just sugar like some people, it may only cost around $2.50 With the average price range of commercial water kefir at $3.99 a bottle you will spend a minimum of $415 a year if you purchase two 16-oz bottles a week or a maximum of $622 a year when purchasing three 16-oz bottles a week. Of course, if you bought one at the store every day, you'd be spending upwards of $875 to $1, 456 a year. Calculations do not include the cost of water as that can vary widely from tap to store-bought, though the total would be very small for the 13 gallons needed a year at 4 quarts a week.