You know how at the end of the day most of the time a beer is necessary? Maybe you aren’t like me. It’s almost a requirement at the end of my days around here, and as much as I love a truly well-crafted beer I’m kind of getting old. Beer is starting to make me feel poopy the next morning. Yes, after one. I still do it, but my body punishes me. Well, I would like to share with you something that has almost completely replaced my evening beer. Water Kefir.
Most people know about milk kefir. It’s like yogurt in taste but you drink it, and it contains billions of healthy bacteria for your intestinal flora. Water kefir has the same benefits but it’s dairy-free and you can flavor it in any way you see fit. The bombest thing about it is that it’s good for you. The second bombest thing is that it kind of has a teensy bit of alcohol due to the slight fermentation process and so when you don’t drink the beers but you drink the kefirs you get a tiny buzz, but without the morning ramifications. BOOM you’re welcome. Also, watered down this makes a super baby drink. I know I seem off my rocker since in the previous sentence I said there is alcohol in it. That’s why I said to water it down.
It’s super simple to make. The only challenge you may have is finding the kefir grains. The kefir grains survive by metabolizing sugar. You feed them every two days and they completely metabolize the sugar into what becomes this amazing probiotic beverage. It’s astounding actually. I purchased my grains HERE the first time and because, like kombucha (but WAY freaking easier believe me-when I lived in Seattle my kitchen was literally overrun by my brewing kombucha) your kefir grains will reproduce, you can give them away to everyone you know (like I did and then get mad at people for killing them when they never asked for them in the first place), or your dogs, or put them in a smoothie, or feed them to your chickens, or put them in your garden, or compost! The reason I’m harping on what to do with the extra little buggers is that you really do want to stick to the basic measurements in this recipe. I ALWAYS mess with the measurements and in certain circumstances it just doesn’t work. Hence the death of my first kefir grains. I did keep them alive for over 2 years, however.
This latest batch is from a lovely girlfriend of mine and they are so happy and big and amazing! They have doubled every two days they are so happy. Here is what they look like. (Those little brown specs are just tiny seeds from the figs I had in with them.)
So let’s get down to ‘brass tacks’ shall we?
(I always double this recipe but I always make more of everything because I have an unhealthy fear of running out of stuff. Don’t be like me. Or do, no actually DO and we’ll be friends.)
What you will need:
-several two-quart mason jars OR just some mason jars and a pitcher. Nothing can be metal of any kind except your mason jar lids. It will kill the wonderful bacteria.
–a mesh strainer (or you could get crazy and use cheesecloth or something but do invest in a strainer if you have to buy the grains anyway. WORTH IT.
-kitchen towel and rubber band
-ingredients as follows
Water Kefir (Day 1)
4c cool water (the bacteria seem to thrive with the minerals found in our water here in the NW; only use tap if you know it’s not fluoridated, or if it’s relatively clean)
1/4c organic sugar (the kefir really does metabolize the sugar so have no fear)
1/4c kefir grains
Handfull of unsulfured dried fruit (for example I use 4-5 figs, but you could use a handfull of raisins, a few prunes, apricots work great, really anything)
1/4c pre-prepared kefir OR 1/2 organic lemon
Fresh fruit of your choice for the next phase which is Day 3
Fill your container with water. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add kefir grains, dried fruit, and kefir or lemon (squeeze juice in and drop the 1/2 lemon into the mixutre) and stir gently to combine. Cover with towel and leave to sit out on the counter for two days. This timing is very important so if you start it in the morning on Monday, tend to it on Wednsday in the morning as well. Mark a note for yourself if you need to. I do that every single time.
After waiting for your kefir to metabolize the sugar you are now ready to transfer to the fridge. Strain the liquid through your mesh strainer into your ball jars and leave about an inch of room at the top. Fill with fresh fruit of your choice to where there is only 1/4 in room at the top. Close lid tightly and place in fridge for two more days. At the end of the two days in the fridge your kefir is ready to drink! I find that oranges and strawberries give me the most fizziness. I add a bit of those to most of my batches. Try every taste combination you can think of. Beet-cucumber, beet-strawberry, melon-pear, pineapple-coconut. The list is endless.
As for how to keep up your ever-growing batch of kefir you may re-use the dried fruit one time for a total of two uses. Make sure to gently rinse off your grains once in a while before starting a new batch. Do make sure to measure out your grains each time since too many grains means there won’t be enough sugar and they will start to struggle.
I make kefir every two days around here in the summer and it is heaven. People love to receive it as a gift and it’s awesome to bring to friends houses since people always want to know “WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUSNESS THAT HAS FOUND ITS WAY INTO MY MOUTH?” Oh, it’s only my friends that talk like that? Anyway you get the picture.
I really need to start doing videos of this stuff hu? Way easier. I’ll think about it.
Happy kefir-summer-hippie days to ya.