Water Kefir Grains are by far one of the easiest (and most fun) cultures I have ever encountered. It’s the healthiest “soda” out there, complete with pop and fizz! You can flavor it as well during that second ferment for the pop and fizz, so let’s start by waking up these babies!
Gather up your supplies:
I’ve always used the creamier colored organic cane sugar (evaporated cane juice crystals), so experiment with your cane sugars as the type will influence the taste of the finished water kefir. Do not use beet sugar, sugar alcohols (i.e. xylitol), honey, stevia, etc. JUST USE CANE SUGAR for your grains’ optimal health. You’ll likely get failed results or sick/dead grains in the end, and we don’t want that.
First you’ll warm up water for dissolving the sugar. I find that ¾ to 1 cup of water is plenty. Put your sugar in the jar, followed by the hot water. Mix well!
Then add cold water to bring down the entire jar of water’s temperature to 68-85ºF. Never add grains when it’s over 85ºF. If you don’t use cold water, you’ll have to wait much longer for the jar of water to cool. Here’s what your Water Kefir Grains will look like straight out of the NWFerments package.
They will lighten over time if you use white sugar or creamy colored cane juice crystals/sugar, but they will stay the same or darken if you use rapadura cane sugar. A blend works awesomely.
Plop those babies in the water and give it a little stir to ensure they soak up the sugar water.
Cover with a breathable cover and set it in your kitchen where it’s room temp. You’ll see my stick-on thermometer reads about 82º, which is perfect. That temp will go down over the next few hours as it balances out with the room temp. Two days is all you need.
After two days, strain the rehydrating liquid off. You’ll want to toss the liquid as it will likely taste gross. The grains did not ferment anything, or ferment well, they just soaked up the sugar water. Your next batch will be good.
The grains have already lightened up!
Repeat the procedure of heating a small amount of water to dissolve the sugar. Add cold water. Check the temperature. Plop the grains in. Cover and wait 2 days. Then again strain!
Now this time don’t toss your liquid. It should taste slightly sweet and fermented, but should not taste like straight sugar water that you just mixed up…like before adding a Kool-Aid flavor packet, for example.
You can now refrigerate the finished water kefir, or consume it right away. You can also do a second ferment with fruit or juice for the pop and fizz! Remember that you can’t attain carbonation unless you do the step of making it airtight with “food” (juice/fruit) for 1-3 days. Stay tuned for that blog post!
If you would like the ease of having a kit, you can find it here! Water Kefir Grains Kit
You know the rest….