Delicious Water Kefir

I really do mean delicious! My biggest gripe when it comes to eating and drinking healthy foods is that it must taste good otherwise you won’t enjoy making it nor eating/ drinking it!  I recently went in to a large chain health store feeling really parched.  They were selling some coconut/beetroot kefir drink which sounded delightful on the package.  It was revolting! It made me really sad thinking about all those people who must’ve bought this drink thinking that’s what all healthy fermented drinks were like.  Even worse that they think that they ‘have to drink it to be healthy’… Not on my watch! My kefir is delicious and fun to drink (and make!). Just ask anyone whose tried it!

Here’s How to make it:

Equipment

  • Glass jar
    • It’s best to ferment kefir in glass or food grade ceramic as they are inert. Some Food grade plastics are considered safe (though I prefer not to use them). Metals can react with the grains and are not recommended. Limited contact with stainless steel utensils is considered quite safe.
  • Wooden or plastic spoon
  • Plastic Strainer
  • A tea towel and rubber band to cover
  • Measuring spoons and jug
  • Grolsch style strong brewing bottles with swing top lids

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Kefir Grains
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I prefer to use an organic un-refined sugar plus a couple of spoons of molasses for increased mineral content)
  • 1 Litre pure (non-chlorinated) water (including 1/2 cup boiling water to dissolve sugar)
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)-  This (and the lemon) helps maintain a healthy pH.  You do not need to use bicarb if you live somewhere with hard water.
  • Optional – 25 grams non-sulphured organic dried fruit (I like raisins/sultanas, apricots, goji, figs & cranberries). Adding fruit will add extra vitamins and minerals to help feed the grains as well as adding a different flavour. It is not necessary to add the fruit but I do find my grains multiply a lot more when fruit is added.

Method

  • First Stage Fermentation
    • Dissolve the sugar in to the water.
    • It’s really important to use non-chlorinated water as the grains are very sensitive and the chlorine can damage them. If you don’t have a water filter you can either buy spring water or de-chlorinate it yourself by leaving the water open to the air overnight, where the chlorine evaporate.
    • Add the kefir grains, slices of lemon and dried fruit if using.
    • Cover the jar with a tea-towel and elastic band and then leave to ferment for 24-72 hours depending on you room temperature. In winter it’s usually 3 days.  Fermentation will happen quicker in warmer weather. You can tell it’s working when you lightly tap or shake the jar and little bubbles float to the surface.
    • You can also taste the liquid to judge whether it’s done. If it’s still very sweet then it means the grains haven’t eaten all the sugar so you might want to leave it a bit longer.
    • Once kefir is ready, strain it through a plastic strainer and pick out the lemon and fruit. The lemon can be re-used for one more ferment.
  • Second Stage Fermentation
    • Here is the part where you add flavour to your kefir.
    • Pour the kefir into the brewing bottles. You can add 15% of juice per litre and then pop a lid on the bottle and leave out for another 24 – 48 hours. Ensure that you leave at least  ¾ inch of air space at the top of the bottle to allow for gas expansion.
    • The more sugar you use and the longer you leave it the more carbonated and tart it will become.
    • BEWARE OF EXPLODING BOTTLES. THEY CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS! ALWAYS USE PROPER BREWING BOTTLES.  STORE YOUR BOTTLES IN A SAFE CUPBOARD OR CARDBOARD BOX. CHECK YOUR BOTTLES DAILY TO SEE IF THEY ARE CARBONATED. 
    • I then refrigerate my water kefir and drink it when it’s cold.
    • I’ve also listed some  Water Kefir flavour inspiration!
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