Have you heard of water kefir?
It's a natural soda, loaded with probiotic goodness, and doesn't even leave you with a sickly sweet upset stomach.
In fact, with proper care, the water kefir grains can probably outlive you. This means that it is a frugal and healthy way to break the soda habit!
You can even flavor it. My family likes plain water kefir with just a hint of vanilla. I enjoy a lemon/ginger combo.
For more information, check out What's So Great About Water Kefir?
Rehydrating The Grains
Rehydrate according to the package directions. It takes 3 to 5 days in sweet water to rehydrate them and get them going again. The package from Cultures for Health gives enough grains to make around 3/4 gallon of water kefir at a time.
After the grains are rehydrated, mix 3/4 gallon of water with 3/4 cup of sweetener in a gallon jar.
The less refined the sweetener, the better. Water kefir grains love minerals! See our previous post, What's So Great About Water Kefir?, for more information on water, sweeteners, and minerals.
If using a dry sweetener (such as Rapadura or Sucanat), it must be dissolved in hot water first. Bring the 3/4 cup Rapadura and 2 cups of water to a boil to dissolve the Rapadura. Let it cool a bit, then add 10 more cups of cold water to lower its temperature. It should be comfortable to the touch, not hot at all, when using it with the water kefir grains. Add it to the jar.
Add 1/2 rinsed pastured egg shell to the jar. Put the grains in the jar — either loose or in a little muslin fabric bag. Swirl it all around gently.
Cover the jar with a paper towel or cloth napkin and secure it to the jar lip with a rubber band. Let it sit for 3 to 5 days until desired sweetness is achieved. The longer it ferments, the less sweet. It may or may not be bubbly.
Pour the finished water kefir into another gallon size jar or (2) 1/2 gallon jars.
If you aren't going to add flavor via 2nd fermentation, add 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla per 3/4 gallon of water kefir to make a simple cream soda.
Refrigerate and drink as is, or bottle (see our Lacto-Fermentation eCourse for bottling instructions).
Use the grains to start a new batch of water kefir.
(The grains should be removed by this time.)
Add fresh or dried fruit, or fruit juices to the jar. Add new 1/2 rinsed pastured egg shell.
Cover the jar opening with plastic wrap and then the jar lid. (This fermentation should be done without air.)
Leave out at room temperature for 1 to 3 days.
When you're happy with the flavor, strain the liquid free from any bits of fruit and the egg shell. Refrigerate the soda or bottle it. The water kefir tends to get more bubbly during this stage. But, as I said before, it may or may not get bubbly.
Alternatively, complete the 2nd ferment in bottles, which will also increase fizz! For 2nd fermentation methods and/or bottling instructions, plus updated instructions, see our Lacto-Fermentation eCourse.
- 1/2 cup raisins + 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates + 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
- 2 to 4 tablespoons grated fresh ginger + 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice + a splash of vanilla
- 1/2 cup dried fig pieces + 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
- 1 cup organic grape juice
- 6 dried peach slices + splash of vanilla
How do you flavor your water kefir? Do you know how to make water kefir? Is there some flavor combination you'd like to see?
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