Sunday, May 28, 2017

water kefir

I took a fermentation class a few weeks ago and she gave us water kefir grains.  They're not the same as milk kefir and they're supposed to make a carbonated beverage that can be mixed with juice.  Or, as one site said, can be like a light lemonade.  That appeals to me, as we're pulling into a hot summer.

First ferment:

Warm up 1 quart water with 1/4 c. sugar to dissolve sugar.

Drain grains and put into quart jar.  When the sugar water is room temperature, add it to the jar.  Cover with cheesecloth, thin cloth towel, or coffee filter and rubber band it.

Leave it on the counter 24-48 hours.  The grains want to be refed every 48 hours.

Second ferment:  
Strain.  (Save kefir grains for another first ferment.)

Put the strained kefir water into a bottle, like the old Grolsch bottles with the flip top lids.  She suggested 2/3 water kefir and 1/3 flavoring such as fresh juice, whole fruit, crystallized ginger, mint).  I think I want to try it with cucumber pieces and watermelon juice.

Close it and keep it on the counter for 24-48 hours.  Then put in fridge if storing for longer.  Be very careful opening it as the pressure can build.

Longer-term storage:
for the first ferment, just put into the fridge for up to two months or so.  Some molasses will help revive the grains.     

I have now made it with strawberries, cherries, lime-cucumber, watermelon, and calamondin.  All good.

In the heat here I've been warned to do a second ferment in flip-top bottles for no longer than 12 hours.  So ... I'm putting the in the shower for a 24 hour ferment and no explosions yet (knock on wood).  The 12 hour secondary ferment made it slightly effervescent (drinking lime-cucumber now); when fermented longer (with strawberries) it was so bubbly it exploded a third of it all over my kitchen when I opened it and it tasted like a carbonated soda.  But better. 

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