When certain flavours hit your tongue it can be like you’ve jumped into a strobing time machine, and hit the ‘backwards’ button. Do you remember cream soda? It was a weekly fixture, alongside dandelion and burdock, in my mum’s shopping basket when I was younger. Time strode on, and I’d long forgotten about it’s creamy, sweet effervescence.
My regular readers will know I’ve been kicking up my health regime a few notches lately. Fermented foods and green juices are now imbibed daily. As are probiotic drinks. Kombucha (fermented tea) & water kefir. They are delightfully fizzy. In a good way. No tin filled, 16 spoons of sugar and umpteen calories here. The fizz comes from bacteria and cultures, doing the biz on sugar. Think natures PacMan!
Kefir is a cultured ‘grain’ that feeds on sugars. These bacteria are the good guys. They make ‘happy’ and yippee yahoo, in your gut.
It is fun and simple to make. I have gotten kind of attached to my kefir. The cultures are called grains. I guess because of a passing, gritty resemblance.
The sugar is eaten by them and not you! Making Kefir is good for diabetics. They have an ecosystem of enzymes and nutrients that are so good for you. The taste is dry, a little like mild lager (if I remember correctly…). Some call it an acquired taste. You can add flavours (fresh ginger juice, fruit etc). The bi-product of the kefir’s feast on the sugar is carbonation (natural=ok). You can see the little darlings jostling around in their sweet, watery banquet. The bubbles rush to the top. I’ve left them to their own devices for far too long a couple of times and been showered in fizz.
Use an empty glass spring water bottle to decant a heaped tablespoon or so of the kefir. Shake in some sugar (I use coconut palm sugar…it hints of caramel) about 1 tablespoon. Use a funnel to top up the bottle with spring, or filtered water. Twist on the cap and leave for roughly 8-16 hours (depending on room temperature…they like it warm..don’t we all!). If you are impatient and you try it before it is ready, the taste of sugar will be evident. Be patient.
1.pour out the bottle through a non-metal (they don’t like metal) strainer, into a jug or if you are careful, straight into a clean bottle. I pour the kefir from the jug into a funnel that is sitting in a clean bottle. Set aside to flavour.
2.Use the funnel to put the grains into a clean bottle and begin process again.
At this point I usually grate some ginger root and squeeze the juice straight into the bottle. It gives a satisfying kick to the back of your throat. You can’t help but gulp it down and then omit a satiated.. ‘ahhh’.
Last week I grabbed a bottle that was sitting on the side from beating together a batch of raw cupcakes. Mindlessly, I shook a few hearty dabs into the kefir. The bubbles frothed and shh’d as they filled a glass. Suddenly, I was 13 again and home from school, sitting at the phone table (yes…we used to have a table specially for the phone to sit on, in the days before cells/mobiles and phones came attached) talking to a friend I’d just said goodbye to from the bus, whilst phone clamped between shoulder and ear, juggling a glass and a bottle, moaning about how my ‘crush’ didn’t notice me or our make-up was confiscated..AGAIN! and slugging cream soda into my tumbler. It tasted very close to the ‘real’ thing. But HEALTHY! Ah, the memories. But now, present day, with so much more goodness (though being single is topic of the day again).
Barons Vanilla Essence
It is made from vanilla essence and water..nothing else. It is far better without alcohol, glycerin or sugar etc.
Kefir is fun to make and full of ‘good’ bacteria. What flavour shall I try and recreate next? Cherry essence would be like Dr. Pepper. I’ll let you know. Or, you let me know if you’ve made a favourite concoction.
A UK stockist of the water kefir. This is where I bought my grains from in America USA Stockist
For heaps more info on the reported benefits visit here. It is a useful site about health and has lots of info about kefir.