I’ve been asked about water kefir, so I thought I’d write a post about it.
A lot of people have heard of milk kefir, but I confess I had never heard of either until a few months ago.
So what is kefir and what do you do with it?
Image via Wikipedia
Water Kefir, also known as Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese water crystals or California Bees is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Actually, it doesn’t taste of anything much on its own and looks like a load of little white granules, but by making a Water Kefir drink, it becomes a delicious sweet, sometimes fizzy, probiotic drink, packed with nutrients. Sounds yummier now, eh?
If you want to know more about the substance itself, have a look here.
If you want to know what to do with it, keep reading:
To make Water Kefir:
Take a Mason or Kilner jar and clean it thoroughly (I like to sterilize mine too, just to be on the safe side)
Spoon 2 teaspoons of Kefir grains into the jar and fill with clean water (filtered or spring if you can get it.)
Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, or a substitute*
Mix it up and close the jar. Leave for a few days, “feeding” the kefir some more sugar each day.
The more you “feed” the grains (don’t overdo it – a teaspoonful a day is enough!) the stronger it gets. After several days it can become fizzy, which is a nice alternative to carbonated drinks. It will even become very mildly alcoholic, eventually, but don’t get too excited, 2% is about as strong as you’ll manage!
This is not an exact science. Taste the water to determine whether you want to drink it. It should not be overly sweet. It can take time to make it just how you like it, but you can enjoy drinking all the experiments.
To drink, simply drain all the water out into a sieve or muslin and use the grains again.
They will multiply and before you know it, you’ll have several jars on the go and you’ll be begging friends to take them off you! You can eat excess grains if you prefer!
*Sugar. Obviously, not everyone wants to use refined sugar, even though it is the kefir “eating” it and not you, but some alternatives are:
fruit (just throw some dried fruit it – they love it!)
maple syrup (more expensive, but definitely worth it!)
less refined brown sugar (turns the grains brown, but doesn’t harm them)
I have heard that you can also culture the kefir in fruit juice.
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