Here is the latest addition to my fermented product offerings. I’m still experimenting with certain variations. So take the recipes here as a launching pad. Should you require water kefir crystals/grains to get started please get in touch here. I just received an e-mail from Darlene in the Sacramento, CA area offering to ship live water kefir grains. Anyone on her continent I’m happy to put you in touch for a supply. She will send them all over America.
A quick word about sugar based ferments (Water Kefir and Kombucha) – not approved by anyone but common sense. As good as these beverages are in boosting our intestinal happiness and gut flora, they are based on the fermentation of sugar and create not only a rich pro-biotic tonic. The liquid will also contain sugars and a small amount of alcohol. Dealing with certain dis-eases like cancer, sugar and alcohol are two of the least things you want to consume. Cancer cells feed on sugar!!!
I am not a dietitian or badge-wearing nutritionist, use your discerning mind and understanding here. And by all means listen to well-informed people like this one: Jerry Brunetti! Other easy fermented foods without the use of sugar are Sauerkraut, raw milk yoghurt (get in touch for raw milk sources in Auckland, NZ!), milk kefir, cabbage rejuvelac, brined pickles etc.
Attend my ‘Fermented Foods’ workshops or pay Sandor Ellix Katz a visit and buy his book ‘Wild Fermentation’!
So here we go:
- 9 T kefir crystals
- 4 T of golden raw organic sugar
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 dried fig or two dried organic apricots
- 1 sea shell
- Enough cold drinking water to fill the jar
- Place all ingredients in a 1.5 liter glass jar. Leave on the bench for 24 hours.
- Strain off the fermented water kefir into bottles and leave on the bench for another 24 hours to mature. Serve chilled.
- Replace the lemon halves with fresh ones. After 2-3 days/cycles replace the fig/apricots. Add new sugar and water for the next cycle.
Here is another recipe from my fellow ‘fermentationista’ Lee:
“Water Kefir the Lee-way
- 1 cup boiled water (to dissolve the sugar, molasses and baking soda)
- 1/2 C organic sugar
- 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
Mix together to dissolve.
- 5 cups cold water (we’re on tank water)
- 1/2 C water kefir grains
- Slice of lemon (I remove the peel because I can’t find organic lemons yet)
- 100 grms (or to taste) fresh ginger sliced.
I left it ferment for about 2.5 days before bottling it and the grains have now doubled!
I must admit that it’s not my original recipe. I did make adjustments.
It originally said a couple of dried figs but I’m not keen on dried fruit. Also a piece of eggshell, which I omitted because it is for minerals but we’re on tank water so I thought that should be enough.
LOL, also it said 1/3 – 1/2 Cups sugar but I’ve done 1/2 each time. It really does seem to be a good recipe for growing them.”
End of Quote.
Feel free to experiment further. Lee’s cultures definitely proliferate quicker. I had a phase when I added exhausted vanilla beans from vanilla essence bottles to the mix, and dried pineapple slices and replace the sugar with my home-made quince and guava syrup (see pictures!) The resulting flavour was marvelous yet the little crystals did not thrive.
A last word to the packaging. This is where the heading of this post originates from. It seems to be necessary to refrigerate the finished product. I’m normally using bail-top bottles for water kefir. They usually allow you 3 seconds to pour the drink before the liquid starts foaming up and rushes out the bottle neck. We lately had several bottles which had rested at room temperature for longer than a day. These did not allow ANY time to pour the liquid. Once we flipped the lid, the surrounding area – us included – was dripping wet with water kefir. Very Funny! 😉
So be careful when opening your bottles or do not close them tightly in the first place. The remaining sugar is still being transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. A safe way of handling the problem can be old fashioned corks from emptied wine bottles. They will blow off when the pressure in the bottle increases. Still no guarantee against water kefir showers 😉
Good Luck and have FUN!!!
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I’d love to make some water kefir – do you know of any shops in Auckland that sell the grains? Mail order is a little difficult for me 🙂 Thanks
The best source would be Ooooby. Lots of swaps and trades on the Weston A Price group there. Best of success! Rene 🙂
I’m curious about the seashell. What is that reason to add that? I have been making water kefir for a few months and can attest to broken blown up bottles. I have never heard of using the shell or adding the fruit while you first ferment.
Can you explain that to me please? Thanks!
Hi Jana, in my understanding, the shell is there to supply minerals to the culture. It literally disappears over a few weeks. This probably is along the lines of adding organic molasses from time to time. As long as your grains grow and multiply I wouldn’t worry about anything. I found adding the sea shell and molasses from time to time gave my grains a boost of vibrancy.
The dried fruit is adding flavour, specifically if you use dried pineapple.
Have fun experimenting!
I know about second fermenting, but with the grains? I read that they don’t do well if there is juice or fruit in with the actual grains. I usually strain mine out, then add Cinnamon sticks to it in a new bottle. I haven’t found anything else that give it fizz but the sticks. My grains have grown, and I don’t like the taste of just the kefir water itself so I mix it with my kombucha or seltzer water.
You don’t have grain die off from fermenting the fruit with the grains? I stay away from most dried fruit due to the sulfides on them. (I have asthma). Thanks for the reply. Oh and what kind of shell do you use? I live in the mountains!!
Hi Jana, yes, I only use certified organic dried fruit. In the recipe you can see it is not much anyway. The fizz will usually develop over a few days unless you heat/pasteurize the drink, which would defeat the purpose of a live pro-biotic drink!
No idea about the kinds of shells, I guess scallop shells will do or any other kind, as long as they are clean when they go into the fermentation. They will disappear over time, so hands-off any precious collector’s items! 😉