I love carbonated beverages, but these days prefer ones that are probiotic and low in sugar. Water kefir is the perfect solution. Water Kefir is a probiotic beverage made with water kefir grains or a powdered kefir starter culture. Water kefir grains can be used to culture sugar water, juice, or coconut water. A powdered kefir starter culture may also be used to culture coconut water or fruit juice.
The grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term kefir grains describes the look of the culture only. Water kefir grains contain no actual “grains” such as wheat or rye. The grains can not be made, you have to source them by finding a person in your community that has some or purchasing at a health food shop or online. I would offer you some, but I give all mine away at fermentation classes.
When you obtain the grains, if not using straight away, store in the fridge in a glass jar (a metal lid is fine as long as it is not touching the grains) or in a plastic container with a teaspoon of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water. When you begin brewing, your grains multiply and you will have extra, store these as described above, adding the sugar and water each time you add more. Give away to friends, add to a smoothie or blend with water to feed garden plants.
⚠️ DO NOT USE METAL EQUIPMENT ⚠️
1 litre of filtered water or tap water that has sat for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate
50g of organic golden sugar
100g of kefir grains
1/2 unwaxed lemon (cut in large slices)
1 dried fig or apricot, (organic if possible)
In a large glass jar or bowl/container, put the water, sugar, kefir, lemon and fig. Cover with a cloth, something like muslin (not airtight) and secure with an rubber band or string.
Wait until the fig rises to the surface and the taste is suitable for you (usually about 2-4 days depending of the room temperature, warmer =quicker).
When ready, remove fig and lemon. Sieve the liquid and kefir through a non-metallic sieve into a glass bottle that you want to store your kefir in. I use the swing top glass bottles from Ikea or reuse bottles from the shop. Sterilise bottles before use by pouring boiling water in the bottle and lid and let sit for 2 minutes. Let bottles cool.
Repeat. If not using the kefir grains straight away, store in the fridge in a jar with a little bit of filtered water and a pinch of sugar. I do mine weekly so I don’t bother with water and sugar.
The lemon and fig are for flavour and additional minerals to feed the grains and absolutely not necessary, but I think they taste great. If not using and only using white sugar, you must add a bit of molasses or use half white sugar/half unrefined sugar, or 1-2 tbsp of coconut sugar with the rest of your white sugar will give the water kefir grains all they need to thrive.
(to add bubbles and flavour)
I have also been successfully doing a second ferment to create bubbles without any additions, by simply leaving strained kefir at room temperature for 24-48 hours.
Bottle 90% sieved water kefir with 10% fruit juice or puree and culture for 24-48 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate.
Bottle sieved water kefir with a few pieces of ginger or hibiscus flowers and culture for 24-48 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate.
Bottle sieved water kefir with a tablespoon or two of cordial for 24-48 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate.
Bottle sieved water kefir with a few pieces of fresh, frozen or dried fruits such as cranberries, raspberries and culture for 24-48 hours at room temperature and then refrigerate.
⚠️USE CAUTION WHEN OPENING BOTTLES ⚠️
Refrigerate your bottles before opening and they will be less likely to overflow. Open bottles over a sink as sometimes they are very active and can overflow