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Water Kefir

Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) is a fermented sugar-water beverage.  It has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, contributes to a healthy immune system, has a cleansing effect on the endocrine system and liver, and a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system.

Water Kefir has helped me in so many ways, such as finally getting my Candida issues under control.

How to Make Water Kefir

Water Kefir is created using Water Kefir grains.  The grains are a symbiotic matrix of beneficial bacteria and yeasts which feed off the sugar in the water.  Resembling small bits of quartz crystal, they can grow and multiple when conditions are favorable.  Extra grains can be eaten, given to others to make their own Water Kefir, or placed in the fridge for back-up. “Feeding” constantly, they will produce Water Kefir on an indefinite  basis.

I got my grains from Keysands Live Organic Water Kefir Grains. They have worked beautifully for me and I would highly recommend them.  Another good source is the Kefir-Making Yahoo Group. Just join up and ask if anyone has some grains to spare.

I suggest the following equipment to start with:

Since a separate strainer is utilized, you don’t really need to use a pitcher with an ice guard. An open top pitcher is fine as long as the strainer you use can fit in the opening. I already use a pitcher with an ice guard for straining milk Kefir, so I also use it for Water Kefir…minus the top.

I use plastic due to my disability; you can use glass or whatever else works for you. The plastic containers (listed above) are made by Rubbermaid and are PBA-free.

First Fermentation:

  1. Add 1 tbsp to 1/2 cup of grains to a 2-quart bottle.
  2. Fill the container half way with non-chlorinated, spring water.
  3. Add 1/3 cup sugar.
  4. Tilt the bottle back and forth a couple of times to mix everything up.
  5. Place the bottle in a pantry or cupboard (out of direct sunlight and at room temperature)
  6. The Water Kefir should be ready in 24-48 hours. Make sure all the sugar is consumed, not sitting on the bottom of the bottle.
  7. Remove the lid from the pitcher and place the strainer on top.
  8. Pour the contents of the bottle through the strainer into the pitcher.
  9. Using a spoon collect the grains from the strainer and return them to the 2-quart container.
  10. Repeat steps 2 through 9.

During the first fermentation, there are optional items you can add to the bottle for flavor as well as promoting grain growth (pgg).

  • 1-3 pieces of dried fruit.
  • 1-3 pieces of ginger (pgg), fresh or crystallized.
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda (pgg) or dolomite powder (pgg).
  • pinch of sea salt (pgg).

If you use dried fruit or pieces of ginger, make sure you remove and discard them after you’ve strained the Water Kefir.

You can drink/store the freshly strained Water Kefir as is or perform a second fermentation.  If you’re going to store it, pour it into another container of your choice and place it in the fridge. Drink at your leisure.

Second Fermentation:

  1. Pour the Water Kefir in the pitcher into the other 2-quart bottle.
  2. Add any of the optional items below.
  3. Tilt the bottle back and forth a couple of times to mix everything up.
  4. Place the bottle in a pantry or cupboard (out of direct sunlight and at room temperature) for an additional 24-48 hours.
  5. Move the bottle to the Fridge when done fermenting.

Optional Items:

  • ¼ cup  of frozen fruit juice concentrate.
  • ¼ cup lemon or lime juice
  • 1-2 cups bottled fruit juice (cranberry, grape, orange, apple…etc)

Important Tips

  • The Water Kefir will be mild and sweet at 24 hours, and more zesty and acidic at 48 hours.   With time, you’ll figure out how you like it and therefore how long to let it ferment.
  • The water needs to have some mineral content, like spring water. Do not use distilled water.
  • Fruit and fruit juice should only be added once the grains have been removed.   It can cause them to cease growing, disintegrate or dye them the color of the juice.
  • Make sure any dried fruit used is sulphur-free.
  • The grains seem to love unrefined and molasses sugars the most, but the fermented taste isn’t always pleasant to everyone. Instead, try using a half-n-half blend of white and brown sugar.
  • Do not use honey instead of sugar.  Honey has antimicrobial properties and will damage your grains or delay their proliferation.
  • Fermentation produces a lot of CO2.  You can keep the lid of the bottle open to release the gas during the process, but bugs may get in.  Leaving the lid closed also helps make the Water Kefir ‘fizzy’.  The plastic bottle may bulge from the gas, but not break.
  • Do not rinse the grains in tap water.  The good microbes could be killed.  If you have to rinse them, do it with non-chlorinated, spring water.
  • Extra grains can be stored in a quart of the sugar-water solution, in the fridge, for roughly a week or two at a time.  They will be in a semi-dormant state.
  • Once a week, switch the actively fermenting grains with the semi-dormant grains. This will also give you a small break from Water Kefir production since the cold grains need a little time to warm up.
  • If the grains aren’t growing, give them some time in a sugar spa. For 1/4 cup of grains, add the grains to 2 cups water combined with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp molasses, and 2 pinches baking soda.  A smaller 1-quart bottle works great for this. Let them hangout in the spa for 48 hours.

For more information on Water Kefir, check out Dom’s Kefir site. Another great resource is the Kefir-Making Yahoo Group.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2012 12:53 pm

    This is so easy to understand! Great job! I have actually made water kefir a few times before, but got overwhelmed by it. Can’t wait to give it a shot again! Great post.

  2. Julie permalink
    September 27, 2012 6:46 pm

    Jen I love the detail that you have given here. Not only do I love it, I NEED it. I would probably manage to screw it up somehow. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks again Jen.

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