Odds and Ends: A Water Kefir Experiment

Odds and Ends: A Water Kefir Experiment

Water kefir…something I haven’t known about until a friend asked if I was familiar with it because she was going to give me some. While unfamiliar to me, this was a chance to learn something new, so I said yes to a water kefir experiment!

All I needed to bring to her place was a jar to put the water kefir grains in. In fairness, I knew of milk kefir, but the extent of my knowledge about fermented food and drinks is along the lines of kimchi, achara, Yakult, buttermilk, sauerkraut, chicha morada, yogurt, and of course, bread, beer and cheese.

So off I went to pick up the grains. Here’s a picture of the grains that I received from her.

Her instructions were pretty easy to follow. Ingredients-wise, I only needed three items:

  1. water kefir grains
  2. muscovado sugar
  3. distilled water

Equipment-wise, I needed a nylon mesh strainer and a jar, plus a thin cloth or napkin to cover the mouth of the jar. 

That’s all. Can you believe that?

Ratio: 1 part kefir grains, 3 parts sugar water
Sugar water: 1 tbsp muscovado per 1 cup filtered water

Since the grains were already inside the jar, I prepared the sugar water in a measuring cup, poured it inside the jar and covered it with paper towel. This was the first batch I made. It looked dark due to the muscovado sugar. I let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

The following evening, it looks lighter in color, so I assume the grains busily gobbled up the muscovado sugar overnight. I was all too ready to collect the liquid and prepare another batch.

I strained the first batch, then transferred the grains to a clean jar.

At that point, the finished water was ready to drink, so we taste-tested a small amount and refrigerated the rest for next-day drinking. Then I went back to tending the water kefir grains in my clean jar. It was time to feed it! I poured a new batch of sugar water, covered it and let it work its magic!

The following day, we drank the refrigerated water kefir from the first batch, which had a very slight fizz to it.

What I learned so far:
  1. Use wooden or plastic spoon when working with the water kefir grains. They seem to be sensitive little creatures.
  2. It’s best to use a nylon mesh strainer, but so far, I’ve been using a stainless steel strainer to separate the grains from the finished water. I still need to buy a nylon one.
  3. At the start, I added honey before drinking. I thought it would taste vinegary, but it turns out it wasn’t. Now I drink a cup of it everyday as it is.
  4. The grains eat the sugar to produce beneficial probiotics! Nature indeed is a wonder.

Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made of water kefir grains with strains of bacteria and yeasts that provides many health benefits, but thankfully, it’s also dairy-free!

As for the grains, it’s like a gift that keeps on giving. One small batch will give you an unlimited supply and endless fun. Once they’ve multiplied, I’m planning to pass some grains on to friends who are interested in trying water kefir themselves. Cheers!

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