January 05

Oh My Kefir!

You may or may not have read from my profile that I don’t eat dairy. It doesn’t agree with me. I had tried eating cow’s yogurt close too and past the expiry date, but I just couldn’t tolerate it. That lead me to do some of my own research on kefir.

I had seen a post on facebook, and wondered what all the hype was about, so I spent way too long researching and reading all about it as I wanted to eat more probiotics given I couldn’t eat cow’s yogurt. I also brought, tried and made non-dairy yogurts and sauerkraut, but I’ve mastered my own versions of non-dairy yogurts and sauerkraut that I will blog about another day.

I ended up buying some dehydrated water kefir grains from The Natural Therapy Shop .  I have to admit I was a little apprehensive still on the effectiveness of kefir.  Anyway, I thought I would give it a go and brought the Water Kefir Grain Starter Kit which is made by Cultures for Health.  The kit comes with the water kefir grains, trace minerals, plastic strainer and a booklet that guides you through making water kefir.

I have been making kefir ever since I brought the kit. The grains have grown and I’ve given tablespoons of these little jelly like gems away to friends.

I love kefir SO MUCH and drink a little glass or two or three each day. I use a little glass to stop myself from guzzling down the whole bottle! I love the bubbles! I love it plain! I love it flavoured! I love it on a plane! Ops, no, I don’t! I drink it in a glass while standing in my kitchen. Bella loves my flavoured water kefir and also drinks a little glass every day. It also makes a great base for smoothies instead of water or coconut water.

A few facts about water kefir before I go into my flavour variations: they are gluten free; they are dairy free; easy to brew; lasts indefinitely if you ‘care’ for them; do not use any metals when handling them; use a plastic strainer; use a plastic funnel; use a reusable plastic spoon; use glass containers for brewing; use glass bottles for storage and 2nd fermenting; for a bubbly/fizzy kefir you need to 2nd ferment and use a bottle with a stopper / pop top / flip top / Grolsch-like top. I buy them from Ikea, Kmart or kitchenware shops. I prefer the darker bottles, as I find they generate more bubbles/fizz.

For more information on water kefir I subscribed to the newsletter by Cultures for Health – I find it a wealth of information.

Water Kefir – 1st Batch

This is recipe is from page 4 of the booklet you get when you buy a Cultures for Health Water Kefir Grain Starter Kit.
Author: Cultures for Health

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup white or unrefined sugar (I use organic raw sugar)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups filtered water (room temperature or cool/cold)

Method

  1. Place ¼ cup into a 1 litre jar (I use a Korken glass jar with lid from Ikea)
  2. Add the boiling water
  3. Add remaining filtered water
  4. Stir with a plastic spoon
  5. Leave to cool completely
  6. Add in the water kefir grains and secure lid (if you don’t have a lid use a tea towel and elastic band)
  7. Leave for 24 to 48 hours to culture – note – do not leave any longer than 72 hours otherwise your grains will be unhappy and may not survive as sugar is their source of food and survival.
  8. After 24 to 48 hours of culturing, use a plastic strainer and a plastic funnel to strain the water kefir grains pouring the liquid into a bottle with a stopper lid.
  9. Put the water kefir grains into a new batch of sugar water (hence the cycle repeats again and again).

Notes

You can burp the bottles each day to avoid build up. I don’t burp my bottles, but I open them carefully with my face away from the top of the bottle over the sink. I put a downward pressure on the bottle lid when opening it. They make a loud pop. Cultures for Health recommend that you can cover the lid with a towel or open outside. If you want your kefir cold you can keep it in the fridge after the 2nd ferment before you serve.

Now that we have some plain kefir, we can either use it (ie drink it straight away – Bella drinks it at this stage) or choice to do a 2nd ferment. For me, I always 2nd ferment as I like the flavour (it’s less sweet) and I go ga-ga over the bubbles. I call my unflavoured kefir whether or not it’s been 2nd fermented:

OMK! Oh My Kefir!

As mentioned, you can drink it plain or use it as a base for fruit smoothies. I also use it in homemade jellies and ice blocks. But, our absolute favourite way to consume water kefir is to flavour it in the 2nd ferment process, so without further ado here are our flavour variations that we have created:

Water Kefir – 2nd Batch flavours

 

Kefir Sutherland

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • Batch of Kefir Water
  • Knob of fresh ginger cut in chunks
  • Knob of fresh tumeric cut in chunks
  • ¼ cup organic pure lemon juice (I buy the Lakewood Organic brand which is cold pressed not from concentrate)

Method

  1. Using the plastic funnel add the pure lemon juice, ginger and tumeric
  2. Seal bottle
  3. Allow to sit for 24 to 48 hours

Notes

Allowing the 2nd ferment to sit longer will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar also in the juice. Use your own judgement when serving and especially with children.

 

Kefir Berry

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • Batch of Kefir Water
  • ¼ cup organic pure cranberry juice (I buy the Lakewood Organic brand which is cold pressed not from concentrate)

Method

  1. Using the plastic funnel add the pure cranberry juice
  2. Seal bottle
  3. Allow to sit for 24 to 48 hours

Notes

Allowing the 2nd ferment to sit longer will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar also in the juice. Use your own judgement when serving and especially with children.

 

Kefir Zing Zing

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • Batch of Kefir Water
  • ¼ cup organic pure lemon juice (I buy the Lakewood Organic brand which is cold pressed not from concentrate)

Method

  1. Using the plastic funnel add the pure lemon juice, ginger and tumeric
  2. Seal bottle
  3. Allow to sit for 24 to 48 hour

Notes

Allowing the 2nd ferment to sit longer will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar also in the juice. Use your own judgement when serving and especially with children.

 

Kefir-nade

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie

Ingredients

  • Batch of Kefir Water
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I buy Chef’s Choice alcohol free pure vanilla extract)

Method

  1. Using the plastic funnel add the pure vanilla extract
  2. Seal bottle
  3. Allow to sit for 24 to 48 hours

Notes

Allowing the 2nd ferment to sit longer will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar also in the juice. Use your own judgement when serving and especially with children.

Til my next recipe, enjoy xoxo

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