|So, you might recall that I told you that our family had cut out most of our caffeine….at least caffeine in the drinkable state. So, that meant I was drinking only water and decaf coffee. I hate tea, so that is 100% out. BLECH! In a state of homemakerness, I decided to order some water kefir grains from Cultures for Health and try my hand at that. Basically, water kefir is like dairy kefir…..but with WATER. Wow. I bet that threw you for a loop. It’s a fermented drink, high in probiotics – very good for you. I also ordered some for my friend Brandy to try – because I just figured that misery loves company. Or something like that. So, here is how it all went down.|
|When my grains came, they were dehydrated…..and they look sorta weird. (You might need to click on the photos to see them in larger size – I’m using thumbnails since I have so many pictures.) It looks like kryptonite. You rehydrate them by soaking them in a water/sugar solution for 3-4 days. It’s best not to use water straight from the tap, so I used filtered water. They also thrive better on natural sugars like sucanat or sugar in the raw. After they rehydrate, they’re ready to go. Oh, and let me warn you…..do NOT sniff the grains directly. If you do, you might gag and throw up a little in your mouth. They smell sorta nasty – like vomit. It’s true. I know; this post is really going places isn’t it?|
|If you’re fermenting other things in your kitchen, you might want to do this elsewhere. The directions say not to let them culture close to anything else. So, mine were in the living room, being kept company by a family photo. I had sourdough and dairy kefir fermenting in the kitchen. Better safe than sorry.|
|Okay, so when your grains are ready to go, you make a solution of water and sucanat (1/4 cup). First you heat a small amount of water and dissolve your sucanat in that. When it’s dissolved, fill the rest of the quart jar up with cool water. Do not add the grains until the water is at room temperature. You might have to wait an hour or so, if your water was really hot. When the water is ready, add the grains and put a coffee filter on top, secured with a rubber band. Three to four tablespoons of grains will culture up to three quarts of kefir.|
|Let the mixture culture for about 48 hours. You can let it culture as little as 24 and as many as 72. The grains in the jar are feasting on the sucanat. The longer you let it culture, the less there will be sucanat present. At about 48 hours, most of the sucanat is gone. You’ll know it is working, when it looks like this. The mixture on the left has cultured for 48 hours. It’s lighter in color because most of the sugar is gone. The mixture on the right has just been made. See the difference?|
|You should also see bubbles when you take off the filter. Isn’t that just totally awesome? You made BUBBLES! I get so excited about little things.|
|When it has cultured long enough for you, drain the grains out and start a new batch. Now it’s time to work with the cultured liquid! During this whole process, all I can think about is beer. It smells fermented like dirty feet beer. It looks brown and weirdo. Yep, we’re really going places now!|
|There are tons of options for flavoring your water kefir. You can make lemonade, which is what I tried. Cooking Traditional Foods has a good tutorial on that. You just add sucanat and lemon juice to your water for flavoring. Brandy says they really like this version. Me? Uhhhh, well. Not so much. I tried. I really did. I’d get a big cup and try to drink it. I’d give myself a pep talk about how wonderful it was for me and how good I was going to feel. Then I’d try to make sure I didn’t breathe while I was drinking it and have flash backs to working at Pizza Hut when I had to wash dirty, hot beer mugs.*Shiver*|
|You can also make “soda” from your water kefir, which is what most people do. For that, you just let your drained water kefir sit on the counter in an airtight bottle for a day or two and that usually produces bubbles. I was never able to get bubbles. I tried really hard. I used this awesome bottle……but nothing. Nada. Oh well. I can blow bubbles, does that count? Pure Homemaking has a really good tutorial on how to make kefir soda with different flavors.|
|So, here is how our conversation went:
Me – So, how is it honey?
Barry – Well, not that great.
Me – Do you like it?
Barry – No, not really. Do you?
Me – No, it makes me want to gag.
Me – Honey, are you going to drink this if I make some more?
Barry – Probably not. Are you?
Me – Uhhh. Probably not.
Bye, bye water kefir. I think I’ll just stick with water. Thanks.
|This post is linked at Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, at Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, and at Real Food Wednesday on Kelly The Kitchen Kop.|
Adventures In Water Kefir!
Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!
Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.