I have a fun project going on in my kitchen that I adore. They are water kefirs that make a wonderful elixir that I enjoy every day. For the past few months I have been making a batch daily as we enjoy this beverage. They are easy to make and there are so many varieties to try.
You can find water kefirs online or through someone you know who is making water kefir. The kefirs will produce more kefirs and so people who make these homemade fermented beverages will have some extras to share.
Learning how to make these fermented water kefir drinks is simple and you will be on your way just as soon as you obtain your starter of grains.
Water kefirs grains are a yeast and bacteria culture that survive on sugar. You just feed the kefirs what they need and they will go to work fermenting a probiotic drink within 24-48 hours. The drink does not taste sweet, it often has a slight vinegar flavor which I have found simple flavorings that make the fermented drink more palatable.
The basic protocol for water kefir:
- Get water kefirs, a clean 1/2 gallon jar, sugar, organic dried fruit, Himalayan salt or minerals.
- DO NOT use any metal utensils or lids with the mixture as the metal can kill the kefirs.
- Fill jar with filtered water and add kefirs. Or you can boil a cup of water and dissolve the sugar in the water, and fill the jar with the rest cool water.
- Add 1/4 cup of sugar (raw sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado, sucanat, rapadura, molasses, cane sugar, or maple syrup, NOT honey as it is antibacterial and can kill the kefirs.
- Add a couple slices of lemon or fresh ginger, a few organic dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins.
- Add a pinch of Himalayan salt to the mixture to give the mixture some minerals or add some minerals.
- Cover jar with a paper towel, coffee filter or light weight cloth so mixture can breathe. Secure with a rubber band.
- Leave on counter away from sunlight or stove for 24 – 48 hours.
- Check and when you see some bubbles, remove the fruits. (I reuse the fruits in my smoothies as they have been fermenting.
- Take a plastic sieve and pour the mixture into a clean jar and set the kefirs aside to make another batch or your can rest them in a jar with some sugar water and place them in the fridge.
- Refrigerate the mixture is your first fermentation batch which is ready to drink. Or you can cover the mixture with a tight fitting lid for 24 hours to produce a fizzy/carbonated beverage which is called the second fermentation.
- The refrigerator mixture is when you can flavor it to your liking. I like to add a splash of vanilla extract, or add a cup or two of grape, cranberry or apple juice, or add in a couple of your favorite tea bags and remove the metal staple if the bag has one.
I have been learning about these marvelous probiotic cultures and I personally have a preference for the water kefirs. I started with dairy kefirs a couple of years ago and tried to make water kefirs with them with minimal success by using coconut and nut milks. They did not thrive without feeding them cows milk. I am much happier working with the water kefirs. They are so much more versatile and they work with my plant-based diet.
Here are a few references that have good information on kefirs:
Enjoy learning about kefir water and share this lovely culture with friends and family. The more you learn about the wonders of these probiotics the more you will gain in knowledge of how to use them.