Monday, March 5, 2018

Water Kefir

Several years ago, I had many probiotic ferments going in my kitchen, but one of our absolute favorites was water kefir. Sadly, I neglected my old grains to the point of losing them without a chance for recovery. Thankfully though, with the wonderful web of communication and through a sweet friend all the way across the country, I now have grains in my kitchen again! And they are growing so well! 
After sharing a picture on my instagram account of how beautiful my grains were I was asked EXACTLY what I was doing...

So, I am going to go through, step by step with pictures! 
By the way, this is a copy of WHAT IS WATER KEFIR that I found from different sources on the web.


And why should you drink water kefir??

Water kefir is a natural supplier of Probiotics to our digestive track. Probiotics refers to the healthy bacteria that usually feed on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. Bacterial overgrowth can lead to many illnesses some of which include fungi, yeast infections, indigestion, obesity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome + Crohn’s Disease, skin disorders, etc. By drinking water kefir you will bring natural balance to your internal microflora. 


So! Now you know! And if you are still interested and want to learn how I brew my water kefir, continue on! It is picture heavy! I wanted to show you every step of the process! 

For the FIRST ferment! 

A jar. Depending on how many grains you have.
If you have 1/4 cup grains, you can use a quart jar. 

This is what I use per QUART!

To begin, I filled my jar 3/4 the way full of SPRING water. I haven't found a better way around this. I have had friends who have tried tap water, water from their Berkey and it has killed their grains. If you have a hint on a way we can get around from using water I have to buy... PLEASE let me know! 

1/4 cup of sweetener 
I use sucanat, but I know many use plain sugar, or brown sugar... 
I like to whiz the sugar water a bit just to break up the grains of sugar a little.

One pinch of mineral salt, I've been using my pink Himalayan salt!

I add about 6 or so raisins per quart. I do not count them, I just add a few. 

A slice of lemon, a chunk of ginger (like I said, this is what I do!) I have heard many have great success with water and sugar and that's it! 
After you have added everything, then add your grains to the mix.
I cover mine with plastic wrap or with press and seal wrap and allow to brew for 24-48 hours... 
This is the time that the grains will eat up all that sugar, they will multiply and they will let off gasses that will cause the fermentation to happen! You should have a happy, bubbly drink when you are finished with this first stage. But if you want to intensify the flavor and the health benefits, you want to give your brew a second ferment. This is where you bottle your beverage!

I'm going to show you the process for my second ferment, this means you have already brewed your water kefir grains in the sugar water for 24-48 hours!

The picture above shows pretty much everything you need.
For your second ferment you need these items:
Water kefir grains (which are in the gallon jar)
Brewing bottles
A waste bowl
A bowl for your grains
A pitcher for your water kefir to pour into your bottles
a flavoring if you choose to flavor your second ferment WK

See the bubbles???? 
Begin pulling off your waste.. and when I say waste, this really isn't because this is going to my chickens! They will love it! 
You will have some floating grains and some sinking grains. 
Using a funnel, add your juice or pureed fruit, etc to your bottle... whatever you want to flavor your kefir with. In the above picture, I have pureed strawberries. I use a ratio or about 20% juice to 80% kefir.
Now fill your bottles the rest of the way and cap them.
Continue to pour off your liquid and collect your grains.
Once you have all your bottles filled and your grains have been collected. Place your water kefir somewhere to brew for it's second ferment for at least 12 hours... I have been waiting 24 hours, but my brew was so potent it shot out of the bottle and we lost a lot of the drink. Make sure to refrigerate after your second ferment. A friend of mine whose husband is a brewer said that was key to stabilizing carbonation. 

Once all that is finished, you are ready to make up some new jars to begin fermenting again, and after a few batches, you will have grains to share as well! 

Happy Brewing! 

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