Water Kefir – Direction – FAQ – Living probiotic culture – Drink

Water kefir for beginners (& others too).

Water kefir also called Tibicos a bubbly, delirious probiotic drink of fruity goodness.

As you know if you have followed me any length of time I have made water kefir, milk kefir & kombucha tea forever & even used to sell starter kits on ebay as Stichingtime. I have taught many the proper way to make these amazing beverages & to keep them alive & healthy forever.

Today I want to add the very water kefir pages I created & used to print off for my buyers.

Milk kefir grains, Water kefir crystals & a Kombucha SCOBY (mushrooms). And all of them are living cultures.


Water kefir crystals-
With water kefir cold causes semi-dormant to dormant, & warmth causes activity.

IMG_0629

Water kefir crystals

The crystals or grains as some call them are not at all what you are thinking about when you hear the word grain. They are a symbiotic mass of bacteria that reproduce themselves.

Water Kefir is a living culture, a complex symbiosis that form grains or crystals of a translucent structures. As the culture ferments using up sugar, these structures grow by reproducing.

Real water kefir from live culture is an endlessly self-propagating process.The best way to care for Kefir is to continually keep them happily working making kefir water.


Never.

Never use apple cider vinegar on or near the kefir crystals. Use Distilled white vinegar only as needed. Most of the other fermented vinegars may contain mold or yeast spores, Distilled white vinegar is a germ fighter, antibacterial, anti-fungal,& will rinse soap residue off of jars & utensils.

Never touch kefir crystals with any metal, including utensils, strainers, lids, jewelry or Pots.

Never use artificial sweeteners.

Never use honey or raw honey of any kind near crystals.


Some ways to drink kefir water:

Drink straight or add to smoothies.
Make a slushy.
My family loves water kefir mixed in kombucha tea, Or in green tea or any tea of choice.
Also great mixed with juice.
Get creative

Add dried fruits during the second fermentation & use the fruits in deserts, breads or smoothies/slushies.


How to & recipes:

Items you need:

  • Plastic strainer
  • Small plastic spoon
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber-band
  • Clear glass jars for storage & making kefir
  • Lids for jars
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Pure water
  • Fresh fruit such as a lemon
  • Dried fruit such as dates
  • Sugar.

In the recipes you can just dissolve the sugar into pure water by stirring until dissolved if you don’t want to heat the water, it’s still fine that way. But sugar does dissolve better in water kefirwarmed water, the coarseness of sugar can cause it to cut up your kefir crystals so make sure to dissolve sugar before adding the crystals. Also make sure water is not hot, room temp water is best to add your crystals to.

Never fill fermenting jars more than 3/4 full, because as the water ferments and bubbles it could overflow, You might also need to release the Co2 buildup in the jar a few times during fermentation.

You can double or triple batches as you get more crystals.

Note: make sure the cover is secure on the jar, If gnats/bugs get in they may lay eggs in the water kefir causing larvae to hatch,This will ruin the Kefir


Basic sugar water for kefir water:

  • 1 QT glass  jar
  • 1 to 3 TBS Kefir crystals
  • 1 to 2 cups pure water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Heat water slightly/simmer in a pan~Do not heat or boil the water kefir crystals!
  2. Add sugar stir until dissolved.
  3. Cool sugar-water until cool to touch & pour into the jar, only fill jars 3/4 full.
  4. Add the kefir crystals.
  5. Screw the lid to the jar.if it is metal cover opening with plastic wrap or a natural coffee filter before screwing lid on.
  6. Put in a dark cupboard or other spot out of direct sunlight.leave at room temp for 12, 24 to 48 hours ,stir 1 or 2 times each day (room temp=68 to 86 degrees). In warmer months it may be done in 12 hours, cooler months may take the 48 hours.
  7. When done strain out kefir crystals from liquid.
  8. Store the kefir water in fridge, drink as desired or do a second ferment.
  9. Restart now or just let crystals sit in fridge with sugar-water on them & restart in a few days.
  10. I will be sharing recipes for doing second ferment, but add fresh &/or dried fruits & sit at room temp for desired amount of time, add more sugar if desired

Lemon water kefir (this is just a basic beginner recipe)

  • 1 QT glass jar
  • 1 to 3 TBS Kefir crystals
  • 1 to 2 cups pure water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 fig 2 dates or 10 raisins (optional)
  • 1 to 2 TBS of lemon juice (fresh or from concentrate)
  1. Heat water slightly/simmer in a pan~Do not heat or boil the water kefir crystals!
  2. Add sugar stir until dissolved.
  3. Cool sugar-water until cool to touch & pour into the jar, only fill jars 3/4 full.
  4. Add the lemon juice &/or dried fruit.
  5. Add the kefir crystals.
  6. Screw the lid to the jar.if it is metal cover opening with plastic wrap or a natural coffee filter before screwing lid on.
  7. Put in a dark cupboard or other spot out of direct sunlight.leave at room temp for 12, 24 to 48 hours ,stir 1 or 2 times each day (room temp=68 to 86 degrees). In warmer months it may be done in 12 hours, cooler months may take the 48 hours.
  8. When done remove any dried fruit & strain out kefir crystals from liquid
  9. Store the kefir water in fridge, drink as desired (yummy mixed with kombucha tea), or do a second ferment.
  10. Restart now or just let crystals sit in fridge with sugar water on them & restart in a few days. (sugar water recipe above)

    water kefir crystals

    Water kefir crystals happy & healthy. picture 1 was yesterday after doing a lemon lime batch Picture 2 is today after a black strap molasas batch They take on the color of the water they are fermenting


Vanilla soda water kefir:

  • 1 QT glass jar
  • 1 to 3 TBS Kefir crystals
  • 1 to 2 cups pure water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 fig 2 dates or 10 raisins (optional))
  • 1 to 2 TBS organic vanilla extract
  1. Heat water slightly/simmer in a pan~Do not heat or boil the water kefir crystals!
  2. Add sugar stir until dissolved.
  3. Cool sugar water until cool to touch & pour into the jar, only fill jars 3/4 full.
  4. Add the vanilla &/or dried fruit.
  5. Add the kefir crystals.
  6. Screw the lid to the jar.if it is metal cover opening with plastic wrap or a natural coffee filter before screwing lid on.
  7. Put in a dark cupboard or other spot out of direct sunlight.leave at room temp for 12, 24 to 48 hours ,stir 1 or 2 times each day (room temp=68 to 86 degrees). In warmer months it may be done in 12 hours, cooler months may take the 48 hours.
  8. When done remove  any dried fruit & strain out kefir crystals from liquid
  9. Store the kefir water in fridge, drink as desired , or do a second ferment. Really good mixed with vanilla ice cream.
  10. Restart now or just let crystals sit in fridge with sugar water on them & restart in a few days. (sugar water recipe above)

What to buy needed supplies (on Amazon)


Kefir water secondary fermentation:

After removing the water kefir crystals you can put the kefir water in a jar with lid slightly screwed on (best to cover jar with plastic wrap). To this batch you can add more fruits that you want to ferment, juice etc. Leave 12, 24 to 48 hours but watch to see if you need to release the CO2 from the jar.

IMG_0654

Cherry limeade & lemonade water kefir

Ideas to use in second ferments:

  • Note kefir crystals are not used in second ferment
  • Fresh fruit lemon, grapes, raspberry, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, mangos, apricot, papaya or limes etc.
  • Figs, dates, raisins, cranberries, almost any dried fruit will work.
  • Use 1 & 1/2 cups kefir sugar water & 1/2 cup any 100% real fruit juice(do not use juice cocktails).
  •  Fresh grated ginger.
  • Be creative mix it up with flavor combos.
  • To me it is not needed but you can add more sugar in second ferment if desired.

Ways to add minerals & keep kefir crystals happy:

The crystals like minerals, so you can add 1TBS black strap molasses or a pinch of baking soda or a few drops of plant based trace minerals do not do all of these at once & make sure to not over use them. Change it up & figure out what works best for you.

It has also been said that fresh or packaged coconut water (not milk), is to the liking of the water kefir crystals, It can be used to replace water in the recipes if so desired, but remember to add sugars.

About the way water kefir crystals reproduces?- Even though they reproduce & grow themselves &/or grow bigger, water Kefir crystals reproduces at a different rate than say kombuchas or milk kefir. The growth/multiplying can be effected by temps & what you add & how often you keep them happily making kefir water. You may notice gradually crystals are added. Or nothing then get more in spurts. Having sugar with minerals in it, black strap molasses, plant based trace minerals etc that I talked about above can help them keep reproducing.

You can not predict how they will do as far as reproducing, reproduction can happen in fluctuations. As long as you have crystals they are alive, if they disappear they died, lack of growth does not mean they are not alive.Its more important to keep them happy & healthy than worry about them multiplying.

Slow growing kefir crystals might need minerals or not be healthy.


kind of water to use.

Water should be of the highest quality & free from contaminants like chlorine or Fluoride.only Spring or good well water should be used,Filtered or RO is also fine if spring or well is not available.If buying water,get Jugs of spring water,Spring water is a great way to get minerals to the crystals.Don’t use City or County water or Jugs/bottles of “Drinking” water (they have Chlorine &/or Fluoride in them & they will kill the kefir)

IMG_0659

Water kefir

About sweeteners for your water kefir:

Sugars to use: Raw, organic, regular white, or natural sugars are all fine (refined or not) such as from your local healthfood, grocery store or CO-OPs. Brown sugar is also fine (no powdered sugars).

The kefir crystals need the sugar to live.(you can use a mixture of these sugars also)

Alt: Sucanat or Rapadura can be mixed equal parts w/any sugar.1TBS pure

Molasses can also be mixed w/normal amount of sugar(brown sugar already contains molasses).

Regular white sugar is cheap & works very well.

Organic sugars would be even better.

Sugar is used by the yeasts during fermentation, & is broken down & transformed into acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes & carbon dioxide.

For sugar intolerance use 1/2 sugar amount then every few batches use full sugar amount to keep crystals healthy.

Don’t use sugar substitutes to cut down on the sugar.The crystals need sugars to live & in the fermenting process.

Never use Splenda, Nutri-Sweet or Equal etc with kefir, these artificial sweeteners all have toxic chemicals & will kill the crystals. They also will not give the kefir what is needed to live.

Don’t use honey: Using honey instead of sugar can kill or cripple some of the healthy bacteria (honey has its own healthy bacteria that competes with kefir bacteria causing too much yeast to grow) Honey can be used in glass or secondary fermentation.

kind of Jar: Only use a clear glass.You can use any jar,such as an empty coffee jar, mayo jar, applesauce jar, pickle jar, etc.Rinse all jars with distilled white vinegar after washing before you use.


Fermentation

A longer fermentation process will reduce the sugar content & raise the alcohol content, though this recipe will not turn into “hooch”,there is not enough sugar.

The alcohol content of finished kefir water contains less than 1% (0.05%)after 48 hours.

Remember that fermented foods naturally contain a small amount of alcohol, a normal batch usually has no more than the alcohol content of a very ripe banana or homemade yogurt.


Storing the resulting kefir water-

after you have separated the kefir water & kefir crystals, keep the liquid under refrigeration if you do not plan on doing a second ferment. it will continue to ferment at room temp.

Storing in clear glass is best,But if you need to use plastic only use food grade (though I still do not recommend it).

Never store in Milk or water jugs.

You can freeze Kefir water it can last around 2 months frozen, It can be used for slushy this way.


FAQs:

Should I rinse the kefir crystals in water?- Be careful of chlorine it will kill or can cause problems with the crystals.You can also rinse them with distilled white vinegar in a bowl as needed,then strain with plastic strainer.doing this can help get the PH back in balance if it gets out of balance. Rinsing water kefir crystals with good pure water will not hurt them if you desire to do so.

What should I avoid having near the kefir crystals that can kill or cause problems?-Don’t touch the crystals with any form of metal, Don’t have near or in the same room with: harsh chemicals/cleaners,bug sprays,or where a lot of grease is cooked. No smoking, No chlorine water.

A alternatives to harsh cleaners is distilled white vinegar, It kills 99% of germs/bacteria & will not harm the crystals.

Can I eat the water kefir crystals?:
They are perfectly fine to consume if so desired, You can eat them for more probiotic benefits.

How do I store the crystals when I am not using? Just sit them in the fridge in a jar & keep covered with sugar water, Change out the water every 4 or 5 days. Only store with this method for a 2 to 3 weeks.

Can I freeze Kefir crystals? I do not recommend freezing. If you do freeze them wash real good & dry off, Put in a ziplock bag then seal & freeze.will last up to 2 months in freezer. They can be dehydrated, I have never personally dehydrated them but have re-hydrated some other dehydrated.

Slime,scum,clumps &/or strings
Normal batches of kefir water can have a scum/slime that forms on the top or floats in the kefir water or even forms on the bottom,this is all fine, just remove with a spoon or

IMG_0658

Water kefir crystals that took on color of cherry juice

pick/rinse out (don’t save it).

All of your batches,or none of you batches may have this slime,or maybe only some of your batches will have it,Its OK. I personally rarely see it, but have had batches that develop it.

Note: Juice can be added to the batches, but the crystals will take on the color of the juice. It may also be difficult to remove all of the fruit coloring, don’t use full strength juice,for a 2 cup batch you can do 1/2 cup juice to 1& 1/2 cups water.(Only use pure %100 juices).


Water kefir needs Sucrose & fructose:

Water Kefir crystals needs both SUCROSE & FRUCTOSE to live.

The white stuff we know as sugar is sucrose.
Fructose is a monosaccharide,or single sugar, that has the same chemical formula as glucose but a different molecular structure.
Sometimes called fruit sugar, fructose is found in fruit & other plants.

Fructose & other sugars are carbohydrates, an important source of energy for the body.

Sucrose is actually two simpler sugars stuck together: fructose & glucose. In recipes, a little bit of acid (for example, some lemon juice or cream of tartar) will cause sucrose to break down into these two components.


Water Kefir crystals info.

If you revived your water kefir through the mail in a baggie un-pack as soon as possible.

IMG_0629

Water kefir crystals

Read over all the direction & info provided here, have all supplies before starting.

If you are not going to make the Kefir water within 24 hrs, just take the bag & put it into the fridge. If it will be longer than 1 day before you are going to prepare the kefir, leave in fridge in a baggie or put it in a clear glass jar & sit safely in the fridge.

Keep covered with fresh sugar water (directions above).


Info I found online on about kefirs years ago.
What is Water Kefir?

Water kefir is produced using water, sugar, dried fruits & water kefir crystals. The kefir crystals are also called Japanese crystals among other names. They can range in size of “grains of rock salt” to the size of a” LG grape”(most stay to the mid size)& are of a transparent clear/white color to hues of colors depending on how they were last used. Similar to the milk kefir grains/culture, the water kefir crystals is also a symbiosis between precious acid bacteria & yeast fungi.

The Water Kefir crystals/culture:

Water Kefir crystals are a living culture, a complex symbiosis that form grains or crystals cloudy to clear but translucent structures. As the culture ferments using up sugar, these structures grow or multiply. Real water kefir from live culture is an endlessly self-propagating process.
Water Kefir & Health:

Inside the water kefir crystals there is a symbiosis between bacteria & yeast-cells. In essence this is a life time partnership of wasserkefir Lactobacillus brevis, wasserkefir Streptococcus lactis & wasserkefir Saccharomyces cerevisae. However, since this is an anaculture, there may be additional kinds of good bacteria & yeast. —————–

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