Yahoo! You are here. And perhaps you did as you were told and followed our instructions on your vial. Well done. These are like functional sea monkeys. Your very own, quite demanding pets,that will provide you with not only a probiotic powerhouse, a delicious carbonated drink, a very cool mixer and even better - something amazing to talk about and think about. At worst - it can become a nagging pain, reminding you that you have work to do, something to feed........
You know what your water kefir grains are? A SCOBY - a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast - a polysaccharide matrix of bacteria and yeast that keep each other alive and happy as long as they are fed and live in the right conditions.
FIRST (If you haven't already):
Empty your vial of water kefir grains into a jar of 3 - 4 cups of water (preferably living water - filtered or rain) and add about a quarter of a cup of organic raw sugar to it and stir gently. Pop a lid on your jar and leave it for 4 days to a week to rehydrate and wake up. They should be all plump and alive looking even bounce in your hand after this time.
Now.... to make your GORGEOUS WATER KEFIR - dissolve a quarter a cup of raw sugar into a one litre jar of water. (other sweeteners can be used but let's start off safe and simple with your new grains... after a while your water kefir grains (also known as Tibicos) will grow and repopulate and you'll have plenty to spare so you'll be safe with experimenting then).
Add the now rehydrated grains, a slice or two of lemon with the peel on, a slice of ginger and a piece of dried fruit like a date or fig, (organic and oil free is best) - you could use a handful of sultanas, inca berries or cranberries, for example too. Keep in mind that this is the first ferment, so we are really just feeding the grains - the flavour can come in the second ferment, so keeping it simple won't reflect on your end flavour necessarily. The grains want the minerals and sugars from the dried fruits and prefer not to compete with other bacterias or enzymes found in fresh fruit. Leave those for the second ferment when you've strained out the grains.
The grains need minerals too. Add a quarter of a tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses and a pinch of bicarb or salt. Sometimes if your water is very low in calcium the grains will want that - a little piece of boiled clean eggshell or oyster shell works well for that. If your grains start to become slimy then stop all of this pronto. Plus - you don't need to do this every time - just now and then perhaps every 3rd or 4th rotation.
Pop on a lid, and leave for about 48 hours. Try and use a round jar rather than a square one as they tend to get pretty weak in the corners. And KNOW this! Your water kefir can become very powerful - enough to break jars - explode them even. You don't want to leave them for longer than this 2 days. The SCOBY will eat and carbonate on it's sugars - if you can't be back after 48 hours, cover with a cloth and rubber band rather than a lid; you may not get the carbonation you are after but you will probably get it in the 2nd ferment anyway. If you leave it too long it will become too sour.
ALSO - don't be too particular with your sterilising - we want clean jars but no heavy bleaches that may leave any residue that would kill your bacteria. Boiling water is enough for sterilising in this case.
After the first fermentation comes SECOND FERMENTATION or 2f - strain your grains - and bottle the water kefir. This is the fun part -now you can flavour it - add a handful of berries, a slice of lemon, mint, basil, chillies! anything - this is the funnest part. When you are happy with your flavour combo, seal your lid, and leave in room temp. for another 24 hours. Again, use a good quality round bottle. This is when it should get all fizzy - and also when you don't want to leave it out for too long lest you have an explosion. The more sugar involved the more alcohol you'll produce so things like apple juice will certainly make it stronger.... After 12-24 hours, refrigerate - then DRINK UP. Email us, send us an insta or post on our page - we'd love to share in your new passion. S. x