How to Make Coconut Water Kefir without Sugar

Coconut water kefir is a naturally refreshing beverage with a boost of beneficial bacteria and yeast. Often found at health food stores, coconut water kefir can be quite expensive. Yet many people pay handsomely because it is a wonderful sugar-free substitute for sodas, energy drinks and juices. Making coconut water kefir at home is an affordable way to create a delicious supply. Coconut Water Kefir is an easy, healthful alternative for those with serious sugar issues or anyone who wants to make a delicious beverage at home!

For some people with sugar issues, making their own coconut water kefir at home is the only healthful fermented beverage option. But most people make it because it’s delicious and fun! It’s easy to brew and can be flavored to appeal to all kinds of taste buds.

The coconut is a seed of the coconut palm tree. Inside it is filled with sweet, white, creamy meat and tasty coconut water. Over time the water transforms into the meat. This means that younger coconuts have more of the water used to make coconut water kefir. Older coconuts have more flesh making them a better choice for eating or making coconut milk.

What’s in Coconut Water that Makes it So Good?

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Kombucha Soap Recipe Using Tea and SCOBY – Cold Process DIY

One of our favorite other uses for Kombucha tea or SCOBYs is as a body and hair care aid. You can find some of our Kombucha Spa beauty care recipes here or in The Big Book of Kombucha. To this day, Alex uses Kombucha Hair Tonic in place of shampoo. Hannah often makes SCOBY and mud masks. And we both swear by Homemade Kombucha Soap. You can buy it at the link, or if you’re the crafty type, this Kombucha Soap recipe is just the fun project you didn’t know you were looking for!

Skin is the largest organ of the human body and anything you apply will absorb directly. This means all types of beauty products such as makeup, deodorant and cleansers also impact the health of the body. As we became aware of the chemicals in beauty care products, we found healthier options. Sometimes this meant a dramatic increase in cost, but other times we learned to make things for a fraction of the cost. Enter Kombucha SCOBY and vinegar, both of which are used in this Kombucha Soap recipe too!

Kombucha on My Face?

Though long known for its internal uses, Kombucha does have a wide range of external uses as well. We have used pieces of SCOBY to soothe burns, cuts and other surface wounds. We keep a jar of 30 day+ old Kombucha in the medicine cabinet for use as skin toner. Not to mention homemade Kombucha face cream! It is a natural acid peel without any harmful chemicals and this promotes circulation to the skin’s surface which regenerates the cells.

Kombucha is an acetic acid ferment, like vinegar, but with a weaker acetic acid solution (less than 1%). This mild vinegar is a natural exfoliator as the acid is strong enough to break the bonds of dead skin but not so strong that it leaves skin feeling dry or flaky. To the contrary, it leaves skin feel soft and smooth. Kombucha also produces trace amounts of beauty acids such a hyaluronic, lactic, and malic which are often found in pricier cosmetic applications and help fight age lines, spots and wrinkles. So when we happened across a Kombucha soap recipe nearly a decade ago, we needed to find some!

A simple Kombucha Soap Recipe produces high quality
Randie works the Kombucha soap cutter.

Soon after, we connected with Rand Hill Naturals from our friend Randie, and she’s been our exclusive supplier ever since. Feedback from friends and customers has been great! Many find that her Kombucha soap recipe does not irritate even the most sensitive skin. Or they find that it can also double as a great shampoo bar, especially for hair that tends to dry out easily.

A Kombucha Soap Recipe is Born!

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Milk Kefir Pancakes Recipe

Having grown up in the Midwest and being of German and Dutch descent, I LOVE all things bread. Unfortunately most types of commercially available baked goodies can leave me with excess phlegm build up – a biofeedback signal from my body that some ingredient is not quite jiving with my physiology. So for the most part, Alex and I avoid consuming commercially produced bread and pasta. But from time to time, I just have to whip up a batch of these lovely milk kefir pancakes to feed the carbo-craving beast that lurks in my DNA!

**UPDATE** We now have an amazing gluten-free version of the recipe available for anyone looking to further reduce the impact of commercially grown wheat (a glyphosate heavy crop here in the US) on their body. The recipe is identical except for using a gluten-free flour blend. We use Trader Joe’s brand as the combination serves as an excellent 1:1 replacement of traditional wheat flour.

Milk Kefir Pancakes

“Oladi” (Оладьи), as they are known to Russians, are nearly identical to buttermilk pancakes except with milk kefir. These days its easier for most people to whip up freshly fermented milk kefir than it is to find authentic buttermilk. While seemingly convenient, the store bought cartons often contain unnecessary ingredients and honestly, by the time I want the pancakes, I’ve already forgotten to buy the buttermilk and the kefir is right here in the cupboard! True confession: I’m a bit of a lazy cook and an even lazier baker; so to execute any recipe I have to a) really love it and b) it has to be easy. Thankfully, this recipe is both.


Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mamma!Did you know? Buttermilk, the bacteria rich “milk” leftover after butter churning, was once a staple in every home. Buttermilk creates light and airy baked goods due to the chemical reaction between the acids from the buttermilk and the bases in the baking powder providing fantastic lift to otherwise limp biscuits (or pancakes in this case!). ~ Hannah

So while buttermilk may not be lurking in most fridges, if you are fermenting milk kefir, it can serve as a bacteria & yeast rich substitute with spectacular results. Especially if it’s a little old and perhaps not as palatable to drink, the healthy acids and tangy flavor give rise to a batter that yields fluffy “light as air” pancakes FROM SCRATCH in only 30 minutes!


Soooooo – I went to research this question thinking I had a simple answer and just needed some additional resources but when I scratched the surface, I found all kinds of contradictory information regarding whole grains, phytic acid and phytase. When that happens, I just have to refer back to our “Trust YOUR gut” philosophy. For me, when I eat these pancakes, I don’t get the typical phlegmy biofeedback that I get when I consume commercially prepared grain products. Is that due to the fermentation? Is it due to the lack of other commercially added preservatives or ingredients? I honestly don’t know for sure. What I do know is that these milk kefir pancakes taste great and I don’t feel crappy after eating them. Let us know your biofeedback in the comments below!

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Top 5 Tips for Bottling Kombucha Tea, Jun, Water Kefir and Milk Kefir Safely In Hot Weather Without Explosions, Geysers or Blowouts

Who loves bubbles in their beverage? We do! In fact, most Kombucha homebrewers desire more fizz in their brew. Any why not? It’s fun, adds texture and flavor, looks cool in the glass and reminds many people of good times. How exciting when a new Booch is opened, bubbles rush madly upward, increasing exponentially, frothing to the top of the bottle and spilling forth gently!

There may even be a secret reason we crave those carbonated quaffs…could it be nutrition? Natural fizz – the kind found when bottling Kombucha, JUN and Kefir homebrews – indicates the presence of living yeast, which contain B-vitamins that the body can use in bioavailable form.

Usually, if carbonation is a problem, the issue is not enough bubbles (See Carbonation Techniques Basic & Carbonation Techniques Advanced for more help with those issues). However too much of a good thing can transform pleasantly bubbly Booch to messy geyser or even bottle bomb under the wrong combination of conditions. Signs of over-fermentation when bottling Kombucha, Jun or kefir include bubbles leaking from the top, hissing sounds as CO2 tries to escape any which way, and stressed or bulging caps.

Bottling Kombucha, Jun, Water Kefir, and Milk Kefir Safely at All Times of YearThe good news is that it’s pretty easy to avoid a mess when bottling Kombucha or any fermented drink at most times of the year, especially cooler seasons when carbonation can be a fickle friend. But as temperatures rise, the yeast become more active, and coupled with sugar in the form of fruit or flavorings (especially pureed fruit – see below), the excessive pressure produced by this dynamic duo is the issue to be on the lookout for.
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Cucumber Salad w/Milk Kefir Dressing from Nourished Kitchen

Yay! Jenny McGruther’s new cookbook is here! If you are not familiar with Jenny’s work, she is the artistic eye and culinary genius behind Nourished Kitchen. We first met Jenny at the Freestone Fermentation Festival in 2011 where she was one of the speakers. Her passion for fermentation was obvious as she spoke of the myriad families that had been healed through eating a traditional foods diet that also included ferments.

McGr_Nourished Kitchen
First cookbook from Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen!

At that time, I was just learning about the research of Weston Price and deepening my own understanding of the role fermentation has played in the evolution of humankind. What I’ve gradually come to realize is how much chaos the Industrial Foods Revolution has wrought on the health of our entire nation. Home cooks were enticed away from the hearth with easy bake cake mixes and TV dinners that purported to be just as nutritious as their homemade counterparts.

Gradually, convenience foods along with innovations such as microwave ovens have led to an erosion of basic cooking skills. Moreover, packaged food itself is now comprised of chemicals, additives and generally lacking in the very things we eat food for in the first place – nourishment!

Enter Jenny McGruther’s beautiful blog (now turned cookbook), Nourished Kitchen, featuring recipes with traditional ingredients and cooking classes to help people reclaim the lost skills that had traditionally been handed down generation to generation. Jenny’s writing style and striking photos illustrate the simple beauty of how to make bone broth, ferment kefir and prepare nutrient dense organ meats with mouthwatering appeal. Paired with the science of nutrition, Nourished Kitchen closes the knowledge gap created by our wholehearted adoption of “the foods of commerce.”Continue Reading