How to make healthy fizzy drinks

So a few months ago, a woman in Kansas City found my kefir blog post and asked if I would share some of my milk kefir grains.  And, if I was interested, she said, I could have some of her water kefir grains.  I eagerly took up her offer.

This is what your first fermentation will look like.
This is what your first fermentation will look like.

Water kefir is my new favorite thing in the kitchen.  But it doesn’t work quite the same way as milk kefir.  So here’s a guide to water-kefir-making:

Mix together about 1/4 cup of sugar and a quart of water.  You can add a teaspoon of molasses if you want–the grains love molasses.  Once it’s all dissolved add about 1/2 cup of kefir grains in the mixture and cover the top with a cloth or paper towel.

Let this mixture ferment for 24 to 72 hours–the longer you let it ferment the more sour it will get–it’s your call.  Keep it at room temperature while it ferments.

After the first fermentation, I strained the grains and poured the liquid into jars.
After the first fermentation, I strained the grains and poured the liquid into jars.

When it’s done fermenting you will strain out the little kefir grain babies and put them in a freshly made sugar water mixture (just like the one explained above).  Then put the remaining fermented liquid in bottles or jars to get ready for the second fermentation.

I've added some stuff.
I’ve added some stuff.

Add fruit or fruit juice to the jar/bottle and then cap the bottle.  The kefir will continue to ferment and it will get bubbly!  Let the bottles sit at room temperature for about 2 days.  Don’t let them sit much longer than that or pressure will build and they can explode when you open them.

Finished product.

Basically, you can add anything with sugar for the second fermentation.  I’ve had success with apple juice and coconut water.  I’ve also tried fermenting pears, raspberries, blackberries, lemons, strawberries, apples, peaches, and grapes (or any mixture of the above).  Some fruits work better than others–apples, for example, don’t turn out the best.  But this is the part where you get to experiment–add whatever sounds good to you and see how it turns out.  (Above I’ve added apple juice, peeled grapes, and lemons with a little cranberry juice.)

When you are done with your second fermentation, put your bottles in the fridge, and enjoy at your leisure.  And please be careful when you open it.

*If you live in the Kansas City area and would like milk or water kefir grains, let me know!  I’m happy to send them to a loving home.

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