There are so many tutorials online for culturing water kefir at home. You really can have so much fun creating still versions, or a fizzy drink with limitless flavour options.
We are sharing the basics here with everyone today. The instructions may seem complicated at first, but once you have the hang of it – it’s really VERY easy.
To activate Water Kefir starter kit for initial usage:
1. Into the container (Glass bottle with lid) mix together 500ml at 25 degrees C of un-chlorinated soft water with 50g of either Treacle Sugar, or Organic Cane Sugar. Stir until all the Sugar has dissolved. Do not use White Sugar.
2. Add all the Water Kefir grains to the slightly heated sugar water.
3. Stir the mixture well with the wooden stirrer provided. Cover the bottle with a cheesecloth or paper towel secured by a rubber band.
4. Place in a warm spot, 22 to 25 degrees C for 24 hours.
5. Strain out the Water Kefir grains using the cotton sieve cloth supplied (Do not use a metal spoon or metal sieve) and place on a fresh batch of Sugar water solution. (Discard this sugar water solution)
6. Repeat steps 2-4 every 24 hours until the grains are activated. Activation may take 5 -10 days. Your grains are activated and are culturing successfully. Once you notice that the sugar solution smells a bit yeasty and the taste is flat and less sweet as the initial solution.
Once your grains are activated you are ready to make water Kefir!
1. Transfer the Water Kefir grains into the Glass Bottle and add 500ml of sugar solution.
2. Place in a warm spot at 20 -25 degrees C to culture for 24 hours.
3. Drain the grains and keep on the side for your next batch which you will cover with a cup full of the sugar solution again to repeat the process daily.
If you enjoy a still version – your Kefir is ready to drink and enjoy. You can flavour it with fruit or herbs, but only once the grains have been removed. Kefir grains take on flavour easily, and you will be using the grains over and over, so it really is best not to flavour them – but rather the Kefir drink you produce.
2nd Fermentation ( To make a fizzy version)
Once you have made a still version, move on to step 1 to make a fizzy Kefir drink.
1. Cover the bottle with the lid tightly so that an airlock is achieved.
2. Place in a warm spot at 20 – 25 Degrees C to culture for 24hours.
3. After 12 hours we recommend, “burping” the glass bottle with lid to release excess pressure.
4. The finished Fizzy water is now ready to do the following with:
Add flavoring to the fizzy kefir water or add fruit, such as cranberries, lemon juice or berry juice concentrate or ginger, refrigerate and consume.
The sky is the limit when it comes to flavoring options. Make sure that your grains are removed before you start to experiment so as not to contaminate your water Kefir grains. We keep repeating this, but it is vital.
Also – don’t worry about the sugar content of your solution. Kefir grains “eat” the sugars in the solution to culture – so what you will be left with is a drink with very little sugar content.
Water Kefir grains do not increase in size like milk kefir grains do – so don’t expect them to “grow”. As long as you can smell that tangy, yeasty smell – and the sweetness of the solution becomes less and less – your grains are happy.
Also very important if you are doing a second fermentation is to make sure that you “burp” the lid at least twice in a 24 hour period – otherwise you run the risk of your jar exploding.
Follow us @kefirfoods_sa on Instagram or our Facebook page HERE for tips, recipes, and flavour options. A little hint – Kefir makes THE most amazing, probiotic rich ginger beer, if you’re a fan.