Water kefir is an enzyme-rich, effervescent, electrolytic, fermented drink filled with amino acids and active live cultures to help balance your body’s inner-ecosystem. Water kefir is a dairy-free probiotic drink rich in vitamin B-12, vitamin K and biotin. It’s an excellent replacement for sugary sodas. Also excellent to drink after taking antibiotics or after illness to restore your natural gut flora.Water kefir grains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibicos) are found mountain rivers and have been used for thousands of years.
I purchased my grains online from Cultures for Health dot com. They arrive in dried form.
FROM DEHYDRATED STATE~
You will need~
2-1qt mason jars
Plastic or wood stirring utensil. (do not use metal)
Coffee filter and a rubber band.
plastic mesh strainer (you must use plastic – no metal)
I use an organic brown sugar that I have available here in the boonies.
You don’t want to use honey because it has antibacterial qualitites and may harm your kefir grains over time.
You need to use non-chlorinated (no tap water if you don’t have your own well) water.
Well water or spring water. It is best to use water with a high mineral content.
BOIL YOUR JAR and set aside to cool.
Boil 2 cups of your water of choice and stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons of your natural sugar until sugar is dissolved.
add another 2 cups of water and let come to room temperature. This is very important because the grains are a living culture.
Water that is too hot will kill them.
Add your grains to the room temperature sugar water.
Place the coffee filter over the top and secure with the rubber band.
Allow to sit in a quiet spot on the counter for 3-4 days to rehydrate.
If you purchase water kefir grains that are not dried you can skip the above step.
After your grains have rehydrated, you’re ready to make some brew!
To make 1 Quart of kefir water- first ferment.
BOIL YOUR JAR.
Dissolve 1/4 c sugar in 1 c of hot water.
Add 3 c cool water to jar.
Let cool to room temperature.
Add your rehydrated water kefir grains.
Cover with the coffee filter and rubber band.
Let rest for 24 to 48 hours.
You can see the WKG in the bottom of the jar and a couple of them floating.
The kefir grains consume the sugar so if you want less sweet, let it go longer.
THE 2nd FERMENT
The 2nd ferment adds the flavor and the fizz.
You must be very careful and burp your jars- sometimes 2-3 times daily!
DO NOT SOAK YOUR KEFIR GRAINS WITH FRUIT THEIR FERMENT IS THE FIRST STAGE- YOU DON’T NEED THE GRAINS IN THE 2ND FERMENT
You will need~
Fresh or frozen fruit, juice or both-organic is best (if using frozen, I let thaw and come to room temp)
Sterilized quart mason jar
plastic mesh strainer (Cultures for Health also carries these)
Boil your jar to sterilize.
Add your fruit and or juice to the jar.
I use 1/2 c to 1 cup of fruit =anything goes.
Then take your non-metal utensil and smush the fruit.
Now take the rubber band and coffee filter off the 1st mason jar with the grains and the fermented sugar water- that is called kefir water/1st ferment.
Pour the liquid from the first ferment into the jar with the fruit through the plastic strainer catching the WGK in the strainer.
You want to leave an inch or 2″ headspace.
Jar on left is wild blackberry and right is wild red raspberry lemon.
Place your mason jar lid on top of the jar with the fruit and secure the ring tightly.
This will make your fizz.
Let sit on the counter another 24-48 hours then into fridge to chill.
Make sure you release the pressure throughout.
Some people use Grolsch bottles for the 2nd ferment.
I can’t stress enough to make sure to release pressure in your jars/bottles- you might even want to open outside. It has a champagne-like fizz.
These buggers are alive 🙂
Now, your kefir grains that are left in the strainer?
Start over! You’re keeping them alive by feeding them the sugar water.
Quart jar, organic sugar dissolved in well water; room temp, add grains, coffee filter, rubber band.
After your 2nd fermented fruity drink is chilled, pour through the strainer to remove fruit.
Your flavoring possibilities are endless. Some favorites are,
1/2 organic lemon with 2 or 3 slices of fresh peeled ginger
1/2 ruby red grapefruit (sooo good! tastes like squirt soda)
blueberry-loaded with the dark purple antioxidants
wild red raspberry and lemon
lemon (tastes like a hard lemonade)
Mojito- lime and mint
These do have a little bit of alcohol content. Use caution when giving it to the kiddos.