Sunday, April 18, 2010
Water Kefir Adventures
As promised, I am at long last reporting on my adventures with "Water Kefir" grains. These grains differ from milk kefir in that they grow on sugars, and not milk. They multiply very rapidly, but the "grains" do not increase in size individually. They just increase in number.
They are very easy to tend and make a wonderful healthy probiotic drink. Here is what I do:
Day 1: Place grains in quart jar. Add 2 Tablespoons raw honey, one slice of lemon (I peeled off the outer zest as my lemons are not organic) a dried fig or a few raisins in a little cloth bag, and 2 cups of chlorine-free (CL) water. Stir with a plastic spoon. Water Kefir does not like metal. I cover it with a plastic sprouter lid that I have (not necessary, just very covenient) and a coffee filter held on with a rubber band. Set it on the counter.
Day 2: After 24 hours I take off the coffee filter and drain the Kefir water into another jar. Then I remove the plastic lid and use CL water to rinse the grains and strain again.
At this point, I add 2 Tablespoons of Sucanat (another brand is Rapadura), 2 cups of CL water, stir, and cover as before.
Each day it needs to be drained, rinsed and fed. The grains will multiply rapidly and you can share, freeze, compost, sell or toss the extras.
Put your kefir water into the fridge in a covered glass jar if you are not going to use or drink it right away.
But my favorite thing is to make homemade soda pop! See the two capped bottles in the picture up there? I do it like this: Pour kefir water into a jar or bottle that has a tight lid. Add half as much fruit juice. Let it sit, tightly covered for 12 to 18 hours (taste to see what pleases you) and then keep it in the fridge.
One of our daughters is making this soda and her children love it! And I really enjoy having "pop" that I know is healthy and loaded with probiotics.
I have had good success with orange juice so far. Grape juice seems to be better after a couple of days in the fridge. This is still an experiment and I will report back if I make any progress.
Some people use the water from young green coconuts to brew their kefir. It sounds lovely to me, but I do not yet have access to any coconuts. You can also use plain table sugar. There is a lot more to be known about this, and I urge you to do some reading on Dom's site here: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html
The slotted spoon contains a few of the grains for you to see.
Since this original post, I have discovered that I have to use flip-top bottles to make the kefir soda-pop. Nothing else will keep the fizz in for long. Here are the kind I use now:
I also have gone to feeding just Sucanat to my water kefir grains ~ 1/4 cup per quart with non-chlorinated water. It is much easier than what I used initially.