water kefir by Catherine Arnold Nutrition

Water kefir is cheap to make and is an amazing tonic for your gut, delivering a high dose of good bacteria in the form of a delicious drink. These bacteria help to optimise gut health and also support a healthy immune system.

My children love this drink and its a great way to help support their gut health. Although it contains sugar, the bacteria consume this during the fermentation process.

Ingredients:

Handful of water kefir grains (buy them here: www.happykombucha.co.uk)

70g sugar – I use organic unrefined cane sugar – but normal sugar is ok too. See below for more on what sugars you can and can’t use.

1 litre filtered water

Handful of organic raisins

2 slices of fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

Get a litre mason jar clean and ready for use.

Pour half a cup of boiling water onto the sugar to melt it, stir until completely dissolved. Then either wait for it to cool down or add it to the rest of the filtered water and pour into the mason jar.

Once the liquid in the mason jar is cool, add your water kefir grains, lemon juice, ginger slices and raisins.

Close the lid of the mason jar and leave it to ferment on the side for 48 – 72 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar will be fermented and so the less sweet it will taste, but also the more potent it will be. Try it after 48 hours initially while you get used to the taste! Then build up to a longer ferment.

You can always taste a bit of the kefir (using a non metalic spoon to scoop some out) and see if its femented enough for you. Once its ready, scoop out the raisins/ginger which will have floated to the top. Then, using a non metalic sieve over a jug, pour the contents of the mason jar into it. The kefir grains will be retained in the sieve – pick out any rogue raisins/ginger, then tip the grains back into the mason jar. Pour the sieved water kefir into a glass bottle with a lid and put in the fridge.

Then you start all over again, preparing your sugar solution and adding it to the grains (once cooled down). The grains will multiply if they are happy – which means you can either split them and have more than one ferment on the go at any one time, or you can give some to your friends and family (put in some sugar solution in a jam jar) to spread the gut love!

Start off with a small glass of water kefir every morning and build up to ½ pint per day for general health benefits. Take more if you don’t notice any improvements.

pear kefir by Catherine Arnold Nutrition

Second Fermentation: Pear Kefir

When you get into the swing of it all, you could try making a second ferment. This is where you do a first ferment and strain the liquid as directed above, but instead of putting it into a normal glass bottle, you put it in another wide necked mason jar (without the grains) and add some fruit to add a further fermentation process fuelled by the bacteria in the liquid. This works really well with: organic raspberries, organic blackberries also orange, pomegranate – really the list could be endless so you can experiment and see what happens. Remember to seal the lid to keep in the gas and make it nice and fizzy. Once you have done the second ferment for about 24 hours, then I would strain out the fruit and then bottle as normal and keep in the fridge.

NB: A note on sugar, do not use the following: coconut sugar, honey, agave, stevia, xyltiol, molasses – it won’t work and also it could damage or kill the grains.

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