Water Kefir, Starting My Dehydrated Grains!
So I recently received some dehydrated water kefir grains in the mail from a trade on Facebook for some of my 300 year old sourdough starter. Fermenting folk tend to be quite generous and trade and share often if you’re looking to get started…
If you liked my post about Milk Kefir than you will also like this! Water Kefir (WK) is a carbonated probiotic beverage that is quite simple to use and tasty! Many people compare it to soda and use it to get away from that unhealthy beverage. I have done water kefir in the past from already hydrated grains I got from my mom (but I lost them in a box during the move and killed them…oops!). This time I had to learn about rehydrating the grains and getting them active again. It ended up being quite simple…
I started small and added the dehydrated WK grains with one cup spring water (never tap water as the chlorine can kill the good probiotics), and one tablespoon sucanat (organic cane sugar is fine also) to a pint mason jar and loosely covered. 24 hours later the grains had swelled up just as they should and were looking quite happy!
I poured out the liquid and strained the grains in a non-metallic fine mesh strainer. I did this over again and after 24 hours I saw some bubbles starting indicating the culture was becoming active! But when I tasted it it was still too sweet and the flavor of sucanat was a little strong for my personal taste so I used organic cane sugar instead and added some extra food for the now active culture. I added a slice of organic lemon, a few slices of organic ginger and a little slice of dried apricot (many dried fruits can be used). I also doubled the water and sugar so I was now doing a pint!
My goal is to slowly activate the grains to be doing a quart a day. This time it came out delicious and drinkable!!! I was so excited! So I decided to strain it and let it ferment a second time (left at room temp another 24 hrs) for more bubbles. I then increased a third time to three cups and three tablespoons and used dates as my dried fruit. After 24 hours this time the dates were a bit disintegrated… It was hard to strain out the grains because bits of dates were mixed in, I did my best and started over with no fruit so I could cleanse the dates better the next day. That was better and by now the bubbles were coming faster! I took my second ferment and added coconut water to it and put it in an airtight bottle over night on counter and the next day it popped and fizzed when I opened it! It was so good! Everyone wanted to drink it all on me! It tasted like ginger ale or cream soda!
So we are up to a quart now and experimenting more with fruit and juice in the second ferments instead of adding in first ferment. We are hooked! The almost three-year old says “bubble kefir” a lot now because he always wants it! The teen girl will drink the whole bottle if I let her and Ryan and his dad want to make cocktails with it! I can’t keep up with the demand! But if it continues to do well the grains will multiply and I can make more than a quart a day! Definitely a family beverage worth making!