October 10, 2013 in Water Kefir
Previously in this series:
- Water Kefir: Getting Started
- Finding Brown Strands and Keeping a Healthy Grain to Sugar Ratio
- Making Water Kefir
- Grain Multiplication and Carbonation – What to Expect
- How Changing the Type of Sugar Improved Flavor and Carbonation
Many people do not like the taste of plain water kefir after the first fermentation. I find, however, that I don’t mind it when it has been made with unrefined sucanat. It almost tastes like a caramel-flavored tangy-yeasty pop.
But, the flavoring of water kefir takes it to a whole new level. There are a ton of options when it comes to flavors – juices, whole fruits, spices, flavorings, and herbs can all be used.
Beyond the delicious soda pop-like bottle of water kefir there are also many applications for water kefir that you might not think of. So I thought we’d explore a few flavors and other uses for water kefir before we close out the water kefir series.
When you are ready to create delicious flavors, it really is as simple as using what you might have on hand. In the upcoming Water Kefir book by Cultures for Health you will find a whole slew of different flavoring recipes, but to get you started here are a few approaches.
You can add just a bit of fruit juice to your water kefir, ferment in airtight bottles, and have a flavored, fizzy drink in days.
If you don’t buy juices or don’t have a juicer, you can also just use whatever fruit you have on hand. A few apple slices, a couple of citrus segments, or some tropical fruit can all be used during the second fermentation. Dried fruit can also be used.
Spices & Herbs
Some obvious ones are ginger and cinnamon, but you can also turn your medicinal herbal teas into a fizzy water kefir beverage.
Other Uses for Water Kefir
Gelatin can be an incredible addition to a healthy diet with all of its benefits. Find a good source for gelatin, use water kefir as the base, and add different sweeteners and flavorings to create a probiotic jello your whole family will love. Find recipes in the upcoming CFH Water Kefir book.
Like milk kefir, water kefir contains an array of microorganisms from bacteria to yeast to acids. These can be used to either jump start an existing sourdough starter, especially the gluten-free ones, or can sour grains all on their own. Erin has a great recipe using water kefir to make gluten-free pancakes.
Smoothies & Popsicles
Finally, water kefir can make a great non-dairy base to both smoothies and popsicles. Use it as the liquid with your fruits and vegetables in your morning smoothie for a probiotic boost. Or, you can blend it up with some fruit and freeze into delicious, healthy popsicles that the children will love.
These are just a few more reasons I’m a fan of water kefir. Besides it being tasty, rich in probiotics, and one of the easiest cultured foods to make; it’s also flavorful and versatile.
What do you like to do with water kefir?