A few weekends back I was at my very first workshop put on by the Foundation of Shamanic Studies. It was glorious and heart opening and truly grounding. I was amazed to see how many different kinds of people were attracted to learn about this type of healing. One of those wonderful people was a nutritionalist and she gifted me with a little jar of water kefir grains.
This was very exciting for me because the last time I had water kefir grains was when Monkey Man was just a wee babe. Due to being incredibly overwhelmed with my new role in life (read about that here) my water kefir grains kinda shriveled and then kinda died. Whoops.
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Why You Want to Make This
As you know I am a kombucha and milk kefir brewer. In fact I’m quite religious about my fermented brews. There are some differences between these different types of fermented yummies but in general water kefir is:
- more palatable for young littles
- great for making homemade sodas
- supports gut health and overall health
- produce beneficial acids, food enzymes, B vitamins and beneficial bacteria
If you want more specific information regarding the bacterias and enzymes found in water kefir check out this article from the folks at Culture For Life.
Just like kombucha you will need a source of sugar to make your water kefir. But don’t worry, the water kefir grains will consume most of the sugar during the fermentation process, making this is a wonderfully healthy beverage for everyone in your family.
Despite being called “grains” there are no actual grains in the culture for water kefir. The term grains comes from the appearance of the culture, as they do have a grainy like texture/look to them.
What You’ll Need
- 1/4 cup of water kefir grains
- 3 cups of cool
- 1/2 cup of hot
- 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
- 1 litre sized mason jar
- cover of some kind
- I use my pickle pipes but you can just cover with a cloth and a rubber band
If you don’t have grains you can purchase them from Culture for Life or on Amazon.
Your water should be free from flouride or chlorine. If you use reverse osmosis you might want to add in some liquid minerals to your water source. I have read you can use molasses but because our water is quite hard I’ve never had to use it personally. We use our well water filtered through a Berkey Water Filtration System.
Do not use honey to make your water kefir! While tempting it will slow the fermentation process drastically. Personally I have only ever used organic cane sugar however many websites have reported success with coconut sugar and rapadura.
How To Make It
- Add your sugar to the jar and pour the 1/2 cup of hot water over it. Swirl the jar to dissolve the sugar.
- Once the sugar is dissolved add the 3 cups of cool/room temperature water. Let cool to room temperature; if the water is too warm the grains will die.
- You can use a thermometer if you’d like.
- Once the water is at room temperature you can add the water kefir grains.
- Cover with your preferred method (cloth & elastic band or pickle pipes) and allow to culture for 24-48 hours at room temperature.
- Water kefir prefers temperatures slightly above room temperature so if your house is cool like mine you will likely need the 48 hours.
- The longer you leave it the less sweet it will be but don’t let it go too long as the grains will eventually starve and die.
- Once your kefir is cultured you can strain out the grains (using plastic if possible – not metal) and place them in a new batch of sugar water.
Water kefir is slightly sweet, pleasant tasting and a bit cloudy looking. If you want your water kefir to be super fizzy you may want to do a second ferment. Do this all you need to do is pour your water kefir into a bottle with a hermetic lid (we use old Grolsch beer bottles) along with your favourite juice (about 1/4 cup). This can sit on the counter for another 1-3 days but ensure you burp your bottles daily or else you’ll have an explosion on your hands. Another options is to add fresh fruit but you may want to add a 1 tsp of cane sugar to help that fermentation process along.
When using fresh fruit we love the combination of blueberries (about 1-2 tbsp of berries) and thin slices of ginger root (pictured above). Yum! When we use juice our favourite is cherry.
Once you have finished your second ferment you can store your water kefir in the fridge.
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