KEFIR, MICROBES

As published in EcoParent Magazine.

Kefir drinks are tart and refreshing and this type made with coconut water tastes like a soft drink. Kefir is a microbial-rich, cultured food. It contains trillions of probiotics excellent for restoring the ecology of the digestive tract. This recipe has the added benefits that come with coconut water: many minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes and much less sugar than is found in most fresh fruit juices, though it tastes naturally so sweet.

Kefir is started by kefir grains: communities of beneficial yeast and bacteria bound in a gelatinous mass. Traditionally, these grains have been used to culture dairy milk, but you can use the grains or a starter powder for any liquid: water, coconut milk, fruit or vegetable juice, or any non-dairy milk like almond, rice or hemp. See below for how to continue cycling the grains!

INGREDIENT

 1 package kefir starter powder or 1 Tbsp water kefir grains

 750 ml coconut water (bottled, canned, tetra packs or fresh young coconut)

 1 tsp sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
 1 L glass jar (like a mason jar) with a plastic lid* is best

* fermentation acids react with metal ? if you don?t have a plastic lid, don?t shake jar.

INSTRUCTIONS

? In a small pot, heat the coconut water on the lowest heat until it reaches 92 F.

? Fill your jar with coconut water, and stir in powder or rinsed grains and sweetener with a wooden spoon or by securing the lid tightly and shaking.

? Leave at room temperature (72-75 F) for 24-72 hours. In warmer months, you can keep this on your countertop. In winter, you may want to put on top of your fridge.

? You know it is done when it is soured (it will be tart and tangy, slightly sweet) and when the fermentation is complete, the water will be milky white/cloudy with some bubbles on top.

? When you open the lid, loosen slowly to allow the formed gases to escape.

? For extra flavour, add grated fresh ginger (do on day one and strain at the end), crushed fruit, cranberry juice, vanilla, lemon or lime.

? Place it in the refrigerator. Keep for one week.

 

*** PLEASE NOTE ***

If using water kefir grains: Once the grains ferment the liquid by incorporating their microbes into the final product, strain out the grains before drinking the beverage. These can then be added to the next batch of liquid, continuing the process indefinitely.

If using a store-bought kefir culture powder: Once you have your first batch of kefir made, you can reserve 1/4 cup (before you refrigerate it for storage) and start your next batch immediately. You can get about 4-7 batches from this original kefir batch before you need to use a new packet of kefir starter powder.

You can ask for the kefir grains or powder at your local health food store, or you may need to order on-line. I have used www. wildernessfamilynaturals.com and www.culturesforhealth.com with great results.

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