The Bubbly Tale Of Water Kefir (太阳菇菌 – 水克非尔)- by Joyful

Water Kefir Grains, also known as Sugar Kefir Grains, Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese Water Crystals, Ginger Beer Plant or California Bees, are a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. The microbes present in Water Kefir Grains exist in a symbiotic relationship thus maintaining an incredibly stable culture. The friendly microbes feed off the sugar in the sugar water solution, producing lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink.
Water Kefir Grains facilitate the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage. Extremely easy to brew, water kefir grains can be used as a starter to create a new batch of water kefir every 36-48 hours cycle.

Water kefir is a fantastic non-dairy alternative to milk kefir and can be flavored after brewing to make a variety of delicious sodas. If you are serious about replacing those sweet carbonated soft drinks which cost you your health and money, you are surely going to love the water kefir.
What’s the benefits of Water Kefir?

PROBIOTICS and ENZYME !!

The probiotic benefits of water kefir are similar to those of milk kefir even though they share different strains of bacteria and yeast. Typically, water kefir grains have a mix of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly others.

Depending on the fruits or juices you use, the water kefir grains may pick up other beneficial yeast and bacteria which may pre-exist in the fruits. So, no two cultures shares  the same strains of microbes at any one time.

The only slight setback is, water kefir lacks the nutrients and goodness of milk which is found abundantly in the milk kefir.

Water Kefir is extremely cheap to prepare and you will save a lot from buying canned soda and most of all, probiotic supplements which will cost you heaps of money.

Basic Preparation of Water Kefir

The basic preparation method requires you to add Water Kefir Grains to a sugary solution and allow to brew 36 to 48 hours. A typical recipe might be:

  • ½ cup of Water Kefir Grains (3 soup spoons)
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar (from cane sugar)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of un-chlorinated water
  • 1-2 dried fig, halved
  • ½ lemon (discard seeds)

Methods

  • Dissolve the sugar in the water
  • Add the lemon (cut into 2 thick slices) and the figs.
  • Drop in the Water Kefir Grains and cover the jar. If the lid is tightly closed, you will get a carbonated and fizzy drink. If covered with cloth, it will be less fizzy.
  • Set the jar aside to ferment at room temperature for 36 to 48 hours, away from direct sunlight and heat
  • When ready, strain out the Water Kefir Grains
  • Discard the figs or dried fruits
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon slices into the strained water kefir
  • Store the strained water kefir in a narrow neck glass bottle with lid on and keep chilled in the fridge for 24hrs to get extra fizz
  • Give the grains a quick rinse before making the next new batch

Utensils you need

  • 2 litre glass jar with lid
  • Nylon strainer
  • Plastic or porcelain spoon
  • funnel
  • Narrow neck bottle with lid for storing the strained water kefir

Alternative Flavors

  • Dried Fruit alternatives : raisins, dried apricot, dates, cranberries, dried apples, dried pineapples, dried papaya, candied ginger etc
  • Fresh Fruits/Plants alternatives : lemon, pineapple, apples, oranges, grapefruits, berries, grape, passion fruits, lime, ginger, lemon grass, mint leaves, kaffir lime leaves etc
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Young coconut water, make an ideal isotonic drink

Note: you may add dried fruits when brewing water kefir but for fresh fruits and juices, add in during the secondary fermentation stage ie. after you strain the water kefir, add in fresh fruits or juices to the strained water kefir (without grains) and close the lid tight for another 24 hrs at room temperature.

When ready, strain out the fresh fruit pieces or blend the fruit pieces together with the water kefir for a nice textured and fizzy water kefir drink.

Enjoy.

You need the Water Kefir Grains (WKG) to brew Water Kefir. WKG is different from Milk Kefir Grains.

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If you would like to DIY Water Kefir, please write to us at kefirbaby@yahoo.com with your name and address.

We are based in Kuala Lumpur and would be happy to send you the water kefir grains if you are anywhere from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia or Philippines.

Shipping and handling charges applies. The amount collected will be channeled to fund charitable projects.

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Some external reference:

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#alternativekefir


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