There is nothing better than a nice cold refreshing bubbly drink on a hot summer’s day. This summer has been exceptionally hot thus far and it is only the start of July. I have found the perfect bubbly drink that I am currently in love with. I am talking about water kefir. It is a lovely fermented fermented drink that is bubbly, delicious and filled with wonderful probiotics.
Water kefir also called Tibicos is a fermented drink using a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bateria and yeast) kind of like kombucha, sugar and water. It is different because the water kefir scoby looks like little grains or little crystals, so generally they are referred to as water kefir grains. It is really easy to make and if you take good care of your grains they can live on forever (or as long as you want to keep making it).
To make my water kefir I have started making it in a 1.5L fido style jar. This results in a lovely bubbly drink. I add 1/3-1/2 cup of water kefir grains, 5.5-6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of organic raw sugar for each cup of water. I mix the sugar in the water and let it dissolve and then poor over the wk grains. Then I seal it up and put it ontop of my fridge for 2-3 days depending on the temperature and how many grains I’ve added. You can see the bubbles starting to form at the top and this one has only been going for 18 hours. The translucent shimmers at the bottom of the jar are the grains. The yellow colour is due to the organic sugar which isn’t pure white.
I find that that fermentation goes MUCH faster when it is hot outside (it has been in the high 30C here this week) and it slows down if there aren’t as many grains in the jar. As you brew more and more of it you will get to know your culture and how long it takes. Once I have done the initial fermentation I strain out the grains and do a second ferment with some fruit for an additional 24 hours. Currently our favourite flavour is Raspberry Pineapple. Once I have done the second ferment I strain it into some bail top bottles and load it into the fridge. I am thankful this is a short process because it doesn’t last very long in our house! I would like to note if your water kefir is very bubbly and you leave it sitting out for too long you run the risk of explosions as the pressure can build inside the bottles. If you plan on leaving the bottles out at room temperature burp them every once and a while to release the pressure and prevent explosions.
Each time I brew my wk I find the grains multiply. Mine seem to be multiplying like crazy and I am finding myself drowning in kefir grains. Every other brew it seems, my jar is getting a little crowded with grains, so I scoop some out. There are some options when it comes to storing your extras, I store some in fresh sugar water mixture in the back of my fridge and the rest I dry and store as backups. I originally got a tablespoon or so of dried wk grains from Yemoos Nourishing Cultures (I talk about it here) but the best way (and the cheapest) is to search out a friend who has some or even look around at craigslist or kijiji to see if there is someone giving them away in your area. I now have half a cup of dried grains (will hydrate into almost 3 cups worth of grains) and I have half a cup stashed in the fridge. Now with such a wonderful amount of grains I can brew all the wk we can drink for years to come!
Have you tried water kefir? What are you favourite flavours?