Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Water kefir - fruit flavoured

About a month ago I encountered a few problems with my water kefir grains. They'd been chugging along nicely, doing their thing, when all of a sudden the liquid became thick and the grains slimy. Oh no.......I've killed them!

Jan, the lovely lady who gave me the grains had also experienced similar problems. After a bit of net surfing I came to the conclusion that the little blighters had a mineral deficiency. Previously I used organic raw sugar, 1/4 of a organic lemon and a tablespoon of organic sultanas with the grains and water for the ferment. It was time to go back to basics, no more lemon, reintroduce half rapadura sugar (it's full of minerals) as well as adding 1/8 of a teaspoon of bi-carb to the water (more minerals if you are not using spring water). Thankfully the grains sprang back to life and began bubbling again.

Now if I want lemon flavour in the kefir I simply add the juice of half a lemon after I bottle the fermented liquid. Another method that I have been trying is a secondary ferment with crushed fruit or fruit juice. I make the kefir in the usual way, strain off the grains then add approximately 3/4 cup of pureed sieved fruit to 1L of kefir. Seal the bottle airtight and allow to ferment for another 12 - 24 hours on the kitchen bench. The longer you leave it the more effervescent it becomes and slightly more alcoholic too......hiccup! I've not let it ferment any longer than 20 hours as I'm a little worried that the bottle might blow as it gets very fizzy.

Mango flavoured water kefir - thank goodness for frozen mango from last season

After about 20 hours fermentation

If you try this don't be expecting it to taste like soft drink, it has a mild slightly fermented fruity flavour, I find it very refreshing. I'm eager to try some grape juice but I'll have to wait till they come in season, any fruit with a high sugar content would be suitable. I've also seen kefir made with freshly crushed apple juice instead of water. From my understanding you only consume small amounts of the apple kefir and you need to halt the fermentation before it tastes like apple cider vinegar.

Berry flavoured water kefir

After 20 hours fermentation

A word of caution, if you intend fermenting grains in juice or other liquid always use excess grains in case the fermentation kills off you kefir.

A few weeks ago I did a swap with the lovely Narelle at Just Like My Nan Made. Narelle was eager to obtain some kefir grains and as I always have excess I was more than happy to help out. In return Narelle sent me two chokos...yay and a bar of her handmade soap. Thanks again Narelle, I hope those babies are working for you.

Little chokos and handmade soap

Cheers Lisa


Rose said...

This is so interesting, it's like sourdough in a way, isn't it.

nellymary said...

Thanks Lisa...I'm looking after the kefir grains...they are doing well....I don't ferment the milk ones every day I was making more than we could consume....but I'm getting a nice Ginger kefir at the moment...and then I will try some of your fruit recipes too....thanks again ....enjoy your huge bounty of choko's next season.

nellymary said...

I forgot to ask how you get such a lovely colour...although I haven't tried bright coloured fruits yet...all I get is a brown drink...this is from the unrefined cane sugar...(black sugar, is on the label)....also you add your fruit pulp to a cheesecloth bag? When I used a took me ages to separate the kefir grains from the fig seeds, but it's all fun in the I am using grated ginger...everything but the kefir grains goes into the little cloth bag much

Lisa said...

Yes Rose, it is similar to sourdough. I have numerous things fermenting on my kitchen bench, it all gets a bit time consuming feeding and caring for the babies.

Hi Narelle, I don't make milk kefir everyday either. Once I get a new blender I'll make it more frequently to use in my daily smoothie.

Regarding the colour of the water kefir, it's due to using organic raw sugar, which is lighter in colour than rapadura or black sugar. The fruit puree will have an effect on colour as well.

I don't put the fruit pulp in a bag. It goes in the already strained fermented liquid. I guess you could then strain that through muslin after it's second ferment if you don't like fruity bits in your drink. I don't tend to worry about it. Your ginger kefir sounds good, I might have to give ginger a go again.

Sue xx said...

those drinks look delicious, Lisa...I can't wait 'til it warms up a bit here...I've started a sourdough and while it's not gone off it's nowhere near as vigorous as it should be.

Love from Sue