Water Kefir Basic Recipe:
- 1 quart water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp water kefir culture
- dried fruit- a couple pieces/small scoop
- Fill jar with room temperature or cool water (leave some room at top for expansion)
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Add water kefir culture.
- Add dried fruit.
- Put the lid on.
- Store in a dark, dry area like a cupboard for 24-48 hours. (Water Kefir ferments best at 71 degrees, but anywhere from 65 – 82 degrees will still yield good results.)
**After this first ferment your dried fruit should be floating and you should notice some carbonation in your half-finished Water Kefir.**
- Using your mesh strainer, strain the fruit and water kefir culture from the liquid, catching the liquid in your second quart sized mason jar. Discard fruit.
- Keep the liquid you have just strained (it’s half-finished water kefir) in the second mason jar.
- Add a few pieces fresh or frozen fruit or ¼ cup fruit juice to this jar to flavor your Water Kefir. (Fresh fruit like pineapples and strawberries are delicious. Ginger, lemon, pears, plum, and lime are favorites as well! Try additive free fruit juice for a quick way to flavor!)
- Put the lid on.
- Store in cupboard for another 24-48 hours.
START ALL OVER AGAIN! **When you strain water kefir cultures from the first to the second ferment, you must ALSO begin a new first ferment with the water kefir cultures you have strained.**
Finished water kefir should be fizzy, and only slightly sweet with a bit of a sour kick.
Funnel the finished product into a tightly sealed bottle and enjoy your Water Kefir cold from the refrigerator!
If the sugar flavor is very prominent then your Water Kefir needs to ferment longer! Don’t be afraid to taste it at various stages, and adjust your fermentation times. You may drink your Water Kefir right away, or refrigerate.
At all times, here is what your water kefir process will look like:
1 jar on its first ferment | 1 jar on its second ferment | 1 finished bottle of Water Kefir
It is best to drink the refrigerated water kefir that you have brewed within two weeks.
You may want to take a break from brewing, and sometimes your water kefir culture likes to rest.
Up to 2 weeks: Store your water kefir culture in a sugar water mixture or in their own water kefir liquid in the refrigerator. After a few weeks, replace the sugar water.
Long term: Water Kefir cultures can be dehydrated or frozen in liquid.
Water Kefir Flavoring Recipes
Tips for Brewing Water Kefir
When You First Get Your Water Kefir Cultures
Begin your first ferment as soon as possible – your water kefir cultures are living and should get into some sugar water right away! (But don’t fret if you forgot your water kefir cultures on the counter for a few hours or overnight; they are pretty hardy and can stand up to a bit of neglect.) If you do not intend to begin brewing right away, store your water kefir cultures in a glass jar with sugar and a pinch of minerals. Half a mason jar with clean water (see WATER section below) and a few tablespoons of sugar will suffice if you are storing them for a few days. See the STORAGE tab if you intend to store them for longer.
Water kefir grains brew best between 68 and 78 degrees. Try placing your jar on top of your dryer or above the dishwasher or refrigerator if your home stays cool. Find the coolest spot in the home if your temperatures are very warm.
Storage/Taking a Break
Water kefir cultures need a weekend off sometimes too! Give your water kefir cultures an occasional break by putting them in fresh sugar water using the same water to sugar ration that you use for the first ferment. Place the jar of water kefir culture in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When you are ready to use them again, strain them out of the sugar water. It may take a few fermentation cycles for your water kefir culture to ferment as they did before, as they need to “wake” from hibernation. Be patient and give them some extra minerals in the first ferment.
Avoid chlorinated water – it will eventually kill your water kefir culture! Use bottled mineral water, spring water, or home water filtration systems. You may use reverse osmosis or distilled, but you MUST add in minerals to each batch, as these types of waters do not inherently have minerals in them, and the water kefir cultures need minerals to thrive. We have found bottled spring water makes them the most happy!
Organic cane sugar seems to work best, but feel free to experiment with rapadura, demerera and other unrefined sugars. Do not use honey!
The purpose of the dried fruit is to add extra minerals and enhance the depth of flavor in the finished water kefir. Make sure the fruit is unsulphured! This means no “sulphur dioxide” or other nasty preservatives have been added to keep the fruit fresh or make it a bright color. Most fruits in the conventional supermarket are sulphured – look for “unsulphured” listed on the package. Check your local health food store for unsulphured fruit, and buy in bulk if possible. This particular strain of water kefir culture loves figs! Try adding one fig to the first ferment.
Provide extra minerals to your water kefir cultures by adding one of the following to the first ferment:
- Pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt.
- About 5 drops of a concentrated mineral supplement such as Concentrace.
- 1 teaspoon molasses per quart to the first ferment once a week.
- half of a boiled egg shell
*We do not recommend baking soda, as many online sources might suggest. We have found this strain of water kefir culture does not respond to it and even goes rancid when exposed to it.
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