Would you like to learn how to make water kefir? It’s ridiculously easy – if I can do it, YOU certainly can.
Here’s a video of me demonstrating the basics of how to make water kefir.
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When I first heard about water kefir, I thought it sounded like rocket science. I had vague ideas about these weird grains that weren’t really grains, and thought they would only grow with fresh coconut water. I am FAR too lazy to be cracking coconuts open, so I chose to forget about water kefir, even though I did fancy the idea of making my own probiotics.
BUT the idea of water kefir kept nudging its nose into my life, and after a while I did a bit of research and found out it was nowhere near as difficult as I’d imagined. Now I have a jar of water kefir on the go at all times – it’s one of my kitchen staples, and I love experimenting with different flavours. And I just know that you will too 🙂
SO let’s get started:
What is water kefir though anyway?
Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made from fermenting grains in coconut water, or sugar water.
The best way I can describe water kefir is “it’s a fizzy drink” – not unlike soda pop (or ginger as it is inexplicably called here in Scotland).
I can’t really go into more detail than that, because really you create whatever kind of drink you want. You can make it very sweet, or not so sweet, fruity, extra fizzy if you like, even a wee bit alcomaholic if you see fit, and make it any flavour you desire – it all depends on that all-important 2nd ferment (don’t worry if this makes no sense whatsoever to you right now – I will fill you in on the details later).
Yeah but where did the grains come from in the first place?
I don’t know. Nobody knows. Isn’t that MAD? #aliens
It’s quite confusing though isn’t it, especially if you’re somebody who avoids grains like the plague. They are called kefir ‘grains’ and yet they actually have nothing to do with grains such as rice etc. The best way I can describe them is like white/clear blobs!
Okayyy.. Where can I get these weird grains that aren’t really grains?
You can buy them online at sites such as Happy Kombucha .
Ok Got it! What do I do now?
Ok so now you get yourself a couple of glass jars that hold about 1.5 litres. They can be mason jars, but you don’t really need to bother about them being air-tight. My jars just have plastic screw-top lids. Kefir’s different from kombucha in that it doesn’t necessarily require an aerobic environment (ie, a jar with a cloth tied around the top to let a bit of air through) – it does just as well with an airtight lid. It doesn’t seem to care really (like I said… #alien..).
Make sure your jars and any utensils you use are nice and clean so as to avoid contamination. Don’t use bleach or harsh chemicals though, in case any residue remains in the jar and offends your lovely kefir cultures.
1 litre water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons (or thereabouts) of water kefir grains
Pour 1 litre of water into the jar, add 3 tablespoons of sugar and leave it for a while to dissolve (you can warm the water beforehand to speed up this process. Let the water cool to room temperature first though before adding the kefir).
Add the kefir grains into the water.
And that’s it! I told you it was easy didn’t I!
You can add into the mix a few extra things to pep up your grains, such as a little chunk of ginger, lemon slices, or some dried (unsulphured) figs, but it’s not necessary to do this every time. If you do add any of these in, try to use organic, or if using conventional produce be sure to peel them first.
So now, just leave the jar for 1 – 2 days and let it do its thang. You can gently move it about every so often, it likes that and will display some pretty bubbles for you (unlike kombucha, which gets a bit moody if you so much as look at it while it’s fermenting…)
Wait – I need more details – what kind of water do you use?
I use distilled water, this works great, but it’s up to you what kind of water you prefer. If you use tap water though I would strongly recommend purifying it first, as the chemicals added to tap water (particularly chlorine) are not good for beneficial bacteria (both in our kefir, and in our bodies!)
And how about the sugar – surely that’s not healthy?
A lot of people freak out a bit when it comes to the sugar content of kefir. If you really don’t like the thought of using sugar, then coconut water is perfect to use. It’s even easier in fact – just add the kefir grains to the coconut water and away you go.
I personally have no problem with using sugar though. I haven’t noticed any negative effects. I use raw cane sugar (rapadura) and let the kefir ferment till they’ve used up all the sugars and turned them into lactic acid and carbon dioxide (aka fizziness!). In other words, YOU don’t eat the sugar – the kefir does.
You can use all kinds of sugar, but avoid substitutes like stevia, agave or xylitol, even if you think they will be a healthy option – they just don’t work.
OK let’s get to the fun stuff: the 2nd ferment
Drain the liquid from the jar, sieving out the fruit and the water kefir grains. Discard the fruit (into the compost, hopefully) and reserve your precious grains for the next batch.
Congratulations – you have now made Water Kefir! This is fine to drink as it is, but let’s be honest, it’s a tad boring. So let’s pep it up a bit with some more flavours. I usually add around 3 pieces of fresh fruit into 1 litre of water kefir and leave it for another day or two. As you can see in the video I used pears, but any type of fruit (fresh, dried, or frozen) works fine.
Except bananas. Bananas in kefir just taste weird for some reason.
I also add herbs and spices like cinnamon, vanilla, mint etc. Have a play around with some different flavour combos that you like, it’s loads of fun 🙂
If you would like to know more about kefir, I highly recommend this site: http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html#Kefir-d-acqua It’s a smashing online source of kefir information and has some nice recipes too.
Wait – before you go -very important information!
When starting out on kefir (or indeed any kind of fermented food or drinks), go easy and introduce those new visitors to your digestive system slowly and carefully – otherwise there will be mass confusion and chaos down there in your gut as they all barge in and make themselves at home.
Do I have to spell this out? Oh ok then – we’re talking lots of farting and/or pooping. You have been warned! 😀
Lisa Murphy has followed a rawfood diet since 2003. She is also a counsellor, hypnotherapist and coach who specialises in healthy eating, weight loss and anxiety. For more details of Lisa's therapies and courses please visit www.CherryTherapies.com