March 11, 2014

Water Kefir Drinks

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Carbonated Apple Water Kefir

I bought water kefir (pronounced keh-FEER, not Kiefer as in Kiefer Sutherland) grains to make naturally carbonated soda pop because I prefer the drinks not just with unprocessed sugar but also with low sugar content. Initially I was hesitant to try because I was worried I might get candida/yeast infection and other skin ailments from drinking it but I read that the grains don't have the same candida yeast and may actually help in its cure for those who suffer from it.

I bought 2 kinds, a tablespoon of dehydrated grains from Cultures For Health® which didn't arrive in my house as scheduled. I was impatient so while waiting for the dehydrated grains, I bought 2 tablespoons of already hydrated water kefir grains from eBay at a quarter of the cost of the ones from Cultures For Health®. After only 3 feedings [done in 4 days], I'm now enjoying a slightly fizzy bottle of carbonated apple [juice from fresh apples] water kefir with no added sugar - just the way I like it.

Water Kefir Grains
Water Kefir Grains
the 2 tablespoons already hydrated water kefir grains
have grown to 4 tablespoons after 10 days

Many websites recommend using spring/mineral water or dechlorinated tap water with a few drops of liquid mineral supplement or a pinch of Himalayan pink salt which is rich in several minerals that help in making water kefir. I have previously purchased a container of Himalayan pink salt and didn't like its metallic flavor when added to food. It was just sitting in the cupboard doing nothing. Thank goodness I found a good use for it. 

Himalayan Pink SaltHimalayan Pink Salt

To make fizzy drinks from already hydrated water kefir
this will take up to 5 days
do not use any metal tools

4 cups tap water
2 pinches of fine Himalayan pink salt 
6 tablespoons raw sugar or sucanat
4 tablespoons hydrated water kefir grains
fresh apple or orange juice
  • Place the water in a glass bowl, stir vigorously for a minute with a plastic spoon, and leave on the kitchen counter for 2 hours to remove chlorine. 
  • Stir in salt and sugar until completely melted. Place water kefir grains in a quart-size Mason jar and add the prepared water. Cover with coffee filter secured with an elastic band. Cover the jar with a towel and leave on the kitchen counter for 24 hours. 
  • The next day, taste the water using a plastic spoon. If the water is still sweet, leave for another 24 hours. If the water tastes a bit acidic and no longer sweet, the sugar water may now be used for a second ferment. 
  • Strain grains using a fine plastic sieve. Return grains into the Mason jar and repeat first 2 steps for your next fizzy drink.
  • In a glass bowl add 1:1 ratio juice and water kefir. Pour into a bottle. Cap with wine keeper top and leave on the kitchen counter for 2 to 3 days, depending on how much carbonation you prefer. To prevent the bottle from bursting due to carbonation, remove the cap to let the water kefir breathe or burp every 6 hours or so. Replace cap and continue fermenting. When fizzy enough to your preference, enjoy with ice cubes. Refrigerate immediately to stop fermentation. 
Carbonated Bloody Orange Water Kefir

The grains from Cultures for Health® didn't do anything after 10 days as the sugar water stayed sweet which means the grains were not feeding after the initial rehydration process which took about 8 days. I changed and discarded the sugar water every 48 hours. After 12 days the grains are still pathetically tiny but are finally, although slooooowly, feeding on the sugar water. I can tell because today the water is less sweet, a bit acidic, and looks a little cloudy. I will know in 8 weeks if the grains will yield good water kefir. Right now, I'm happy with the cheap grains from eBay. That said, if you are in the USA, I won't recommend buying the dehydrated grains from any vendor if your purpose is to have homemade fizzy water kefir drinks in no time.

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