24 March, 2016

MAKING WATER KEFIR, PART I


These days I might look bit like a mad scientist: every 24 hours I'm measuring and straining grains, a pot simmering on the stove, shaking bottles and swirling sugars.

It's totally worth it. Besides, I don't wear any funky goggles. But what am I concocting? Water kefir!

Water kefir (we say this like the Russians would-- ke-FEER, not KEE-fur) is a fermented probiotic-rich drink with so many health benefits. It's sweeter and less vinegary than kombucha, and in my opinion, better tasting (especially with a fruit infusion!). You begin by introducing a yeast and bacteria culture into sugar water, allowing it to brew for up to three days. It can then be strained and drank right then, or added to a swing-top bottle with fruits, vegetables, and flowers and fermented for a second time for flavour and carbonation. We always prefer two ferments.

Aren't you just drinking a glass of sugar water? No! The kefir grains metabolise the sugar, converting it into beneficial acids and bacteria, b-vitamins, and food enzymes. So, fermenting actually reduces the sugar content. This power drink supports gut health, aids digestion, and supports overall wellness. What's not to love?!

Want to give it a try?

First things first: you'll need a SCOBY (a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts). I ordered mine already hydrated from here. If you are in the US, this is a reputable site with organically grown grains. They also have a lot of tips there if you're hesitant to begin brewing. 
These grains will reproduce as you brew, and if you care for them well you'll quickly find you can be giving jars of them away to friends and family. In one week I went from 4 tablespoons of grains to nearly 2 cups!



Next thing you need is a wide-mouth jar. I use these. You'll also need mineral-rich sugar, like this, and minerals to keep your SCOBY healthy if you're using another sugar, such as organic cane (this is optional, and not necessary if you use rapadura sugar). 




Little bits and pieces you need: a plastic mesh strainer for straining your grains between ferments. Mine cost £3 on Amazon. Some cheesecloth (or a paper towel) for covering your jars and a rubber band for securing it, and filtered water (we are having incredible success using water from our Berkey).


**Metal will kill your grains, so be sure to use only glass, wood, or plastic when brewing, stirring, and straining.

Lets get started!

Making Water Kefir

Step One:
Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar to quart-sized preserve jar. Pour about 1 cup of hot (filtered) water over sugar and stir to dissolve. Add remaining 2 cups of water (at room temperature) to jar and allow to cool to room temperature before moving on.

















Step Two:
Add your grains to the sugar water. If they're from a previous batch, you'll want to strain them using your plastic strainer over a measuring jug. Using a plastic measuring spoon, measure out 2-3 tablespoons of grains, and add them to your jar, being certain your water is fully cooled.

Step Three:
Cover the jar with a cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Place in a warm area in the kitchen and allow to ferment for 24-48 hours. You'll know they've worked their magic by a change in the colour (water kefir typically lightens when it has worked) and it may have a slightly sour or bitter taste.

After 1-2 days, your kefir is finished! Strain the grains for using in another batch, and either drink your ferment right away or get ready to do a second ferment (post to follow).

If you're unsure about beginning, you can find helpful points here, and a totally simple video tutorial here. It really is so simple and delicious, all five of us enjoy a glass every day!

1 comment:

  1. You make it sound so easy, but I am still nervous! Haha. I'll try soon!

    ReplyDelete