Fermentation is all the rage. Kombucha, Jun and now Kefir! Read on to learn how to make your own Coconut Kefir.
This post comes to us from Meredith Baird!
Nature’s little miracle elixir. Once you get into the fermentation game, it’s hard to get out.
Admittedly, fermentation can be intimidating. Cultures. Yeast. Controlled bacteria. Funky smells. The whole thing can seem daunting when you start out but, in reality, it’s actually quite simple. Tricky, yes. Difficult, no.
Water kefir is one of the best places to start. It’s easy to make and, if the results go wrong, it’s a much less time-consuming or sour fix than if you are dealing with raw dairy, coconut cream or other food-based products.
What is water kefir?
Water kefir, like kombucha or jun, is first cultured by introducing a culture (kefir grains) into sugar water. The culture contains a symbiotic portion of yeasts and bacteria that metabolize the sugar, creating a multitude of beneficial amino acids, probiotics, microorganisms, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Kefir increases the beneficial bacteria in our systems by providing a healthy dose of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Fermented foods can improve skin conditions and digestion and increase immunity against bacterial and viral infections. Acne, eczema, yeast overgrowth, digestive distress and any number of ailments can all point to the need to adding more ferments into your diet. Fermentation is awesome!
To start your batch of water kefir, you need to first order or purchase grains. Kefir grains come as dry little nuggets, activated by using a mix of sugar water. Once the grains come alive they will multiply and, if properly cared for and fed, they will produce fresh batches of kefir indefinitely. Well worth the investment. My favorite source for grains is Cultures for Health.
Coconut water kefir is the only true non-dairy form of kefir (because water grains are used instead of dairy-based grains), but the health benefits are similar. Water kefir is lighter and much less intense than milk or dairy kefir. If you drink kombucha, beer or wine, you’ll notice similarities in the flavor profiles.
Water kefir grains feed off of the sugars in coconut water; they can also be used in any kind of juice or sugar water mixture.
4 cups coconut water (raw is best, but pasteurized coconut water will work as well)
1/4 cup activated water kefir grains*
*To activate grains: Dissolve 1/4 cup coconut crystals in 3–4 cups hot water. Let water cool before adding the grains.
Allow to sit at room temperature for 3–4 days until the grains become translucent and plump and look lively. Strain off sugar water using a non-metal strainer. The grains are now ready to be used immediately. Between fermentations, feed the grains with the strained sugar water mixture; this keeps them alive and thriving. The grains will multiply over time, so there will always be a fresh batch to brew.
Pour coconut water into a glass jar. Add activated grains and stir with a non-metal spatula. Cover jar to prevent contamination and allow mixture to brew at room temperature for 24–48 hours. Once kefir is fermented, pour through a plastic sieve to strain. Store kefir in a glass jar at room temperature or in the refrigerator to keep chilled. It is now ready to be flavored and served.
Makes 4 cups. Water kefir can last up to two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
To make a more effervescent kefir, ferment it in a sealed jar or container to trap the CO2 produced during the fermentation process.
Extra bubbly kefir is delicious, and my favorite way to serve it!
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