My dear cousin, Amy Best (also known as my tomato pal -growing tomatoes together!), has graciously written a post for us on the interesting topic of making your own water kefir. There are two types of kefir: water kefir – small transparent grains that ferment sweetened water; and milk kefir – white or cream coloured grains that look rather like cauliflower florets that ferment milk. (For how to make milk kefir, visit here). As Amy is allergic to dairy, this is a wonderful substitute, still allowing the healthful benefits of kefir with out the diary! Thanks Amy!
Kefir has many reputed health benefits. It has antibiotic and antifungal properties. In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Particularly calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also has an abundance of calcium and magnesium, also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves.
This recipe is so easy to make! And it’s yummy and very nutritious!
Ingredients and Utensils
- 8-cup glass jar.
- Strainer [stainless steel or nylon].
- 2 to 3 Tbs milk kefir-grains or 1/4 to ½ cup translucent Water Kefir-Grains. I took some of our milk kefir grains and now use them only for water kefir. Since I’ve transferred milk grains to a non-milk medium, they may not continue to grow. I’m just waiting to fine out and I made sure to use only extra kefir grains in case they end up dying eventually. For more info on this topic see the link at the bottom of this post.
- 1 to 2 naturally dried figs/prunes or 2 Tbs sultanas or a mixture.
- Slice of Lemon [Use non waxed lemons preferably Certified organically grown].
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup cane sugar [brown sugar, or non-refined dry sugar-cane juice such as Rapadura, Demarara, Jaggery etc. or combination].
- 6 cups fresh water preferably spring or good well water.
- [Optional] 1 Tbs either whole caraway, anise, fennel seed or a few fresh mint (produces nice flavor and aids digestion)
1. Add 6 cups water to an 8-cup glass jar. Do not fill any jar more than 3/4 full! CO2 gas, naturally produced during fermentation, will produce high pressure which has the potential to cause an explosion!
2. Add sugar and shake well to dissolve it. I used rapadura which makes the water brown.
3. Add a lemon cut in half. Only add lemon rind if the fruit is not waxed or sprayed with pesticides or fungicides, otherwise peel to remove rind or zest.
4. Add dried fruits and kefir grains. My kefir grains are brown from the rapadura in previous batches.
5. Fix lid on jar tight and let contents ferment for 24 to 48 hours at room temperature away from light. I put mine in a cupboard.
6. Strain the bubbly water kefir and if using translucent water kefir-grains rinse the grains with cold water. If the kefir tastes carbonated, you know it worked! If it isn’t bubbly yet, try leaving it out a little longer.
Amy’s daughter, Natalie, enjoying water kefir!
- Store water kefir in the refrigerator. Putting it in the fridge slows the fermentation process, so upon taking some out to drink later it may be less fizzy. I like mine fizzy, so I leave a glass of kefir out on the counter to return it to room temperature which seems to restore much of the fizziness!
- I store my grains in some water in the refrigerator between uses.
- For further resources visit here. This site has lots of great info about all types of kefir.
- Further tips & tutorial for Water Kefir
- Read more about my uses of kefir here.
- Where to find water kefir grains