Recipe | KEFIR: Make your own probiotic drink!
Water kefir is a delicious probiotic-rich fermented beverage that promotes a healthy digestive system and makes your skin glow. Unlike kombucha, water kefir is caffeine-free and doesn’t require as much patience. Simply add your active water kefir grains to sweetened water and you’ll be sipping on your very own homebrew within a couple of days.
To make kefir, you'll need water kefir grains. Water kefir grains are not really grains at all - it’s a SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Once your grains are healthy and you’ve made a few batches you can experiment by adding them to fresh coconut water from a young thai coconut or fresh pressed sugar cane juice.
You will need:
A sterilized glass vessel like a mason jar or a preloved pickle jar.
A small plastic or stainless steel strainer - aluminum can damage the grains
Spring Water - You can use filtered water but over time your water kefir grains will weaken. Try alternating spring and filtered if spring water isn’t readily available.
A whole sugar like succanant or raw cane juice crystals (the SCOBY loves the extra minerals). Use ¼ cup of sugar to 1 quart (4 cups) of water.
Active water kefir grains - if you bought dehydrated or deactivated grains make sure you follow the directions for rehydrating and reactivating the grains before you start!
Flavour - You can add fresh ginger and turmeric roots and dried fruit such as goji berry, apricots or figs to the primary fermentation. You'll also need fruit juice to flavour your finished brew or to add for secondary fermentation.
Boil the spring water and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Pour into your sterilized glass vessel add ¼ cup of active water kefir grains. Cover with a clean tight weave cloth or coffee filter and secure with an elastic. Keep in a warm dark place - the top of your refrigerator works perfectly.
Allow the mixture to ferment for 24 to 48 hours - taste after 24 hours to see how you like it. Strain out the water kefir grains using a strainer and pour your freshly brewed water kefir into a new container. If you want to enjoy your brew immediately, add a small amount of flavouring agent like fruit juice. Add your used kefir grains to a new batch of sugar water - if you want to make more, leave it out to ferment again. If you want to wait to brew again, they will sleep comfortably in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
If you want to try to make a bubbly drink, you’ll need to add an extra couple of days to the process. After you strain out the water kefir grains, pour the liquid into an airtight bottle (or a few depending on how much liquid you made). Add some fruit juice and other flavouring agents such as fresh sliced ginger but be sure to leave some room at the top of the bottle. Close the bottle and carefully turn it upside down to incorporate the kefir water with the juice - do not shake! Return this bottle to it’s warm dark place for 24 hours and then check on it. Burp the bottle daily - just open up the top. This releases excess pressure caused by secondary fermentation. The length of time for secondary fermentation will depend on what type of fruit juice is used and personal taste preferences. Taste every time you burp the bottle to determine when the process is over, around 24 to 72 hours.
Start making water kefir at home and your water kefir grains will multiply with every brew, making it easy to share with friends and other fermentation enthusiasts.
Guest contributor, Charlotte DeCruz (Probiotic master!)
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