newsflash! hippychick has now added water kefir to the hippychick home brewing universe.
this in keeping with my probiotic healthy for you beverage bent. in fact, i started my very first batch just yesterday thanks to a good friend's gift of a jar of healthy water kefir grains.
yes and no. they are not grains in the way of wheat and/or rice. they look a bit more like itty globules. they are jelly-ish when fully hydrated but they grown and multiply in a grain like shape.
take a look at the jar on the left. those bits setting on the bottom of the jar are the water kefir grains. they work the culture/probiotic magic in water similar to the way milk kefir grains transform milk to a sparkly probiotic beverage, similar to the process a kombucha mother promotes in a sweet tea mixture. the grains, like a mother are a living symbotic culture/colony of yeast and bacteria.
note: the jar on the right is basic black tea. i will add 3/4 cup of sugar to this tea once it's fully brewed. i will use it to refresh my continuous brew kombucha once the sugar is dissolved, easy enough done simply by give the sugar in the tea a good stir.
what is water kefir?
water kefir is made from kefir grains, also known as sugar grains, tibicos, tibi, or japanese water crystals. the grains make up a cultures of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast, held together in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. the symbiotic relationship of the microbes produces a stable growing culture. The microbes feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide, yielding a fermented carbonated beverage. The alcohol content is usually very minimal, less than .1 %.
probiotics are good for you. they are good for your gut. they help your digestive system and they help you to better absorb beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
how long does it take to make?
well that depends upon your taste. 24 hours - 48 hours - 72 hours if you're adventurous. most folk harvest every 24 - 48 hours.
i'm still reading and learning bits about water kefir myself so i'm going to turn you on to several of the sites i've been looking at.
i would love to hear from folks who already brew or have experience brewing water kefir. please feel free to share your adventure.
water kefir links -
dom's kefir faq site - a bevvy of information about kefir and other great ferments!
the nourished kitchen - water kefir, a quick tutorial
(red)ifing reality - what is water kefir and how to make it
delores sanches-penalver - water kefir - a great and helpful pdf
i am sure you can find bits about water kefir on youtube and such. i found the above a very helpful introduction.