There are a thousand and one  recipes on the internet for water kefir. Most of them are pretty similar. I think I just might have tried them all. At its most basic- water kefir is the kefir grains, sugar, and water. Brewed like that- it’s slightly carbonated, just barely sweet, and pretty bland and unappealing. You can take those grains though, and add a vast combination of juices, fruits, extract, and flavorings to create a wonderfully carbonated just slightly sweet VERY refreshing drink. I’m enjoying some right now.

There are basically 3 ways I prefir to make water kefir.  They range in strength of flavor, and cost to make. I mostly tend to make the least expensive option- cause my family can put it away-faster than I can make it 😀

1. Apple Cider Kefir

This taste very similar to a hard cider- without the alcohol. It’s wonderfully strong and full of apple flavor. Since it’s brewed in straight apple juice- it’s also the most expensive. This is hands down, my husbands favorite kefir recipe.

Ingredients:

1 gallon organic apple juice. No preservatives! (I buy the not from concentrate apple juice at our local health store. YUM!)

3-4 Tbs water kefir grains (or milk kefir grains that have been transitioned to use as water kefir)

Combine both ingredients in a large jar. Place a lid on. On my normal water kefir I use a tight fighting lid. My big jars don’t have a tight-fitting lid- so I just use what it came with, and it works fine. Let sit for 48 hours. Strain the kefir out, and bottle. I use the swing top bottles, because we like the carbonation. If you want carbonation- after bottling let it sit out for another day or two- then place in the fridge and enjoy!

2. Fruit flavored kefir

Ingredients

3-4 Tbs kefir grains

1 1/2 – 2 quarts filtered or spring water

4 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp ground up egg shells (I use the shells from hard-boiled eggs. Once they are dried I blend into a powder using a small spice grinder or coffee grinder. I then store in a jar until needed)

Combine all ingredients in 1 gallon jar, or 2 quart mason jars. Cover tightly and allow to sit out for 24-48 hours. Strain kefir grains. Before bottling, fill the bottle 1/4 of the way full with your choice of juice.  Add the kefir water prevously made, and fill the bottle. Allow to sit out for another day or two to build carbonation. Place in fridge and enjoy. Grape juice kefir is a great one to start with. It’s going to appeal most to those used soda pop. I had a friend tell me it tasted like a non alcoholic sangria. Other favorite flavors at our house are peach, and pineapple. It’s important to use good organic juices for these. This is where your flavor comes from. I’ve read that orange juice doesn’t do so well do to the pulp. Haven’t tried it myself to know for sure though. One helpful hint- when I am experimenting with new flavors, I pour kefir water into a pitcher, and start adding juice (keeping in mind the percentages, so i can match it again in the future if it’s a winner) Then I taste and adjust. If I end up with a flavor I don’t care for (we didn’t like grapefruit kefir) just add grape juice. It’s such a strong flavor- it gets it back on track and taste great!

3. Ginger Lemon Kefir

This is the batch I make the most of. It’s wonderfully light, and dances on your tongue. Plus – it’s really inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

3-4 Tbs kefir grains

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 quarts filtered or spring water

4 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp ground up egg shells (I use the shells from hard-boiled eggs. Once they are dried I blend into a powder using a small spice grinder or coffee grinder. I then store in a jar until needed)

1/2 organic lemon or lime (peel if it’s not organic)

2 tsp ginger juice

1-2 dried figs

I typically make this it two quart jars. Just split the ingredients between the two jars. Place the kefir and sugar in the jars. Squeeze the lemon or lime a little into the jar, and then drop it in also. For simplicity, I juice about 1/3-1/2 a cup of ginger juice at a time, and then keep it in the fridge. I go through it pretty quick. If you don’t have a juicer, or don’t want to juice the ginger, you can peel it and slice it and add that to the jars. It’s the way I originally did it- but I got tired of picking the ginger out, and trying to separate it from the kefir grains. The figs are optional. They can be a little pricy, so I jump back and forth between added them and not. They add an additional depth of flavor. Add the ginger, and figs. Sprinkle the egg shells over everything. The eggshells add minerals and calcium to the hungry little kefir grains. Once everything is in the jar,  fill them about 3/4 of the way full. Place a tight lid on, give them a good shake, and put to the side. 24-48 hours later strain and bottle. Again, for extra carbonation (although it’s good straight from the mason jar too) leave out for an extra day. I think the taste is somewhere between a less sweet 7up and gingerale.

Kefir, kombucha and lacto ferments are all living works of art. The are influenced greatly by time and temperature. When you are first playing with any of these, taste often at different stages. It wont be long until you will develop an understanding and figure out at what stage your family enjoys them best.

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