These grains are also known as Japanese water crystals or Tibetan Mushroom grains. Their origins come from the Caucasus Mountains which are in the region of the Black Sea. Water Kefir is a fluffy clear grain which multiplies quite quickly (60 – 80%) with each batch of beverage. This drink has wonderful probiotic properties and health benefits.
For each 6 tablespoons of grains use:
- 4 tablespoons organic raw sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 lemon cup into wedges
- 3 or 4 slices of raw ginger
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon raisins
BREWING VESSEL: A glass bottle with airlocks is ideal, this quantity will fill one normal size preserving jar (1 litre). If using a preserving jar or similar there should be a gap between the liquid and the top of the jar to allow for the build up of carbon dioxide.
Make sure everything you use is either glass or ceramic (no metal, stainless or plastic). The only exception is for your sieve, spoons or funnel.
- Strain and wash the water crystals thoroughly under light running water.
- Place them in your vessel with all other ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Close your vessel with a tight fitting lid so no oxygen can enter. If using a jar, stir every 12 hours and this will let the carbon dioxide out (releasing any pressure).
- Brewing is generally 48 hours. 3 – 4 days maximum in colder weather. The raisins will also be floating on the top. Scoop the raisins and your lemon etc on the top of your brew plus any excess fruit.
- Strain your grains. Bottle and seal with airtight lids. Use round bottles.
- You can leave your bottles in the pantry or on the bench out of sunlight for another couple of days. Your kefir then undergoes a secondary fermentation which will make it lovely and bubbly.
- Wash/rinse your grains well under running water for your next batch.
Water Kefir is a high detox and is a good source of vitamin B. All probiotics will help to keep the body alkaline and keep the intestines healthy.
Your brewed kefir should taste slightly sour and a little like ginger beer and be slightly bubbly. A second fermentation takes only 2 -3 days then keep in the fridge. Take care when opening as it can sometimes flow like champagne.
If you want to stop fermenting for a period store your grains in a light sugar solution in the fridge. This slows them down and you can keep them for up to a month. Then start again.
Any excess grains can be composted, fed to your chooks (they love them).
I find organic plain sugar keeps the grains very healthy. Also baking soda is very necessary for the health of your grains as our water particularly town supplies are not so mineralised.
Your brewed raisins are yummy for baking or porridge the next morning. Just wash and store them in the fridge.
You can flavour your kefir. In your brew you can add berries, pieces of ginger, pear, experiment with different fruit juices. If you are doing this it is wise to keep some fresh grains aside as your grains could become sluggish over a period of time.
If your grains are not multiplying check that you are using baking soda, and that you are not over brewing.