March 11, 2014

Water Kefir Drinks

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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.

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. 

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. 

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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