Frankly, I’ve yet to meet a fermented food I don’t like, but one of my favorite cultured foods of all time has to be water kefir. I love milk kefir and sourdough too, but they tend to require daily maintenance which this busy mama tends to botch from time to time. Kombucha is also beloved in our home, but takes so much longer to culture and because of that longer time frame, I tend to either not make enough or forget about it all together.
Which is where water kefir comes in. Delicious, light, bubbly, tangy, full of goodness… and needs attention every few days. And boy is it perfectly refreshing on these hot days.
As with any culture, it has specific food and environmental needs. It is a living organism, after all, much like a pet or a houseplant. Getting it off on the right foot will set you down a path of easy-peasy water kefir enjoyment.
When you first receive your water kefir grains they will be in a dehydrated state, packaged in these small little foil bags. They are a light brown color due to the natural, unrefined sugar they have been brewed in.
Starting water kefir is simply a matter of rehydrating the grains and activating them in a bath of sugar water. You can use unrefined sugar or plain white sugar. Water kefir grains do tend to like minerals, so if you are using white sugar you might consider adding some molasses or mineral drops to your sugar water.
Get Your Water Kefir Grains Started:
- Dissolve 4 to 6 tablespoons of sugar in 4 cups water (you will likely need to heat the water so the sugar will dissolve). Be sure to allow the water to cool to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
- Place the dehydrated kefir grains in the water and cover with a towel or coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Allow the mixture to sit for 3-4 days until the grains are plump. Do not allow the mixture to sit for longer than 5 days.
At this point, the water that you rehydrated the grains in may not be very tasty. The grains haven’t gotten into their groove yet, so you may want to toss the quart of sugar water once rehydration is completed.
The grains are now ready to start making the water kefir beverage, which we’ll delve into next time.