I finally did it!
I have heard about kefir for a few years and last year I purchased my first kefir through a local store and then compared it to the Amasai Kefir from Beyond Organic. See my Amasai review here.
The bottom line is, Amasai beats the other brands HANDS DOWN, but I finally decided to make my own. After researching, talking to people who were making it and deciding which type of kefir grains to purchase (water or milk), I ended up ordering through Amazon from a company called Keysands. Here is a link to the Keysands kefir live cultures
Keysands Live Organic Water Kefir Grains (Crystals, Tibicos)
I highly recommend them! They have 5 stars on their reviews! That is a fantastic rating!
So back to the point. My live water kefir grains arrived in great condition – just 3 days after they were shipped and I immediately put them to work in some well water with honey, dried fruit and an egg shell. The next batch we switched to raw sugar, which the grains loved. Now every 48 hours we have kefir to drink and I start a new batch, plus we have extra to experiment with. It is 2 weeks later and my single quart jar has now multipied times 7 and turned into this:
From left to right: cinnamon sugar kefir with raisins, milk kefir, prune juice kefir, sorghum kefir, molasses kefir, honey kefir, honey kefir
The solution that has worked the best is raw sugar kefir, but I ran out of raw sugar, so I did a temporary solution using honey. We have also done grape juice kefir.
Here are my notes on each one:
Honey Kefir is 2 tablespoons of honey in 1 quart of water with 4 tablespoons of kefir grains – this one works fairly well short-term, but the grains prefer sugar. Since honey is antibacterial, it will break down the kefir grains over time.
Raw Sugar Kefir is 4 tablespoons of raw sugar in 1 quart of water with 4 tablespoons of kefir grains – our grains thrived on this. This is where all of the multiplication took place.
Grape Juice Kefir is 1/2 to 1 cup of grape juice(we used organic), 4 tablespoons of kefir grains and the rest of the quart jar filled up with water. This is our favorite! It tastes like grape seltzer!
Milk Kefir is 1 quart of milk (we used raw goat milk) with 4 tablespoons of water kefir grains. My grains also love this one. It turns into thick kefir in 6-12 hours. We used it this morning in our pancakes and they were delicious.
Prune Juice Kefir is 1/2 to 1 cup of prune juice (we used organic), 4 tablespoons of kefir grains and the rest of the quart jar filled up with water. This is not one of my favorites. I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and some honey and it is tolerable. I was hoping to get a Dr Pepper like flavor, but it’s needs work.
The cinnamon sugar, molasses and sorghum kefirs are not yet ready to try, so I will have to report on those another time.
The reason I started with water kefir is because first of all, if I mess up, all I am wasting is water and a little sugar. Second of all, I wasn’t sure if I would like milk kefir. Plus I had read that water kefir grains can be used to make milk kefir, which I have discovered to be true.
I am sooo excited about our new adventure and highly recommend that you order yours at the link above.
How to make kefir
When you order, it will come with instructions, but in a nutshell, here is how you make kefir:
First of all, always use glass jars or bottles and plastic spoons and strainers for kefir making. You never want to use metal and I don’t recommend wood.
- place 4 tablespoons of kefir crystals/grains in a quart jar
- add your liquid to fill the jar 3/4 full (if this is your first time using these crystals, there are other special instructions)
- stir and dissolve 4 tablespoons of raw sugar in 1/4 cup of water and add to the jar. If you do not have well water or high mineral water, add an organic, clean egg shell and an organic, washed slice of lemon. Do NOT use city water that has chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals.
- Cover with breathable cloth or the lid and ring of the mason jar, but not screwed tight. You don’t want to allow germs or bugs in, but you do need to allow the fermenting gases to escape or the jar will explode. (ask me how I know!)
- Let it sit for 24-48 hours. They say it doesn’t always bubble, but mine has bubbles rising to the surface when it is happy. You will know it’s done when most of the sweetness is gone, meaning the kefir grains have eaten the sugar.
At this point, strain the liquid to catch the kefir grains and start over with them, or leave them in the liquid and refrigerate to slow down the process. Don’t leave them too long in the refrigerator, they like to be warm. The strained liquid can be used immediately or you can bottle and refrigerate to get a more fizzy drink. However, you will need to leave room in the jar and then burp the jar often to prevent the gas from building up and exploding the jar. You can also use special jars designed for this or use a bottle with a cork or with a deflated balloon on it. As the gases escape, they will blow up the balloon and the jar or bottle won’t explode =)
Here are the different stages we are discovering:
- a flat slightly sweet yeasty flavored drink
- a seltzer type soda or maybe like the sparkling cider or grape juice
- a very light version of a sweet wine or champagne, depending on your ratio of juice to water for the liquid
- if you let it go too long it will turn to vinegar
Why make kefir?
1. It has even more good bacteria than yogurt, which your body needs to maintain a healthy immune system.
2. If you take care of it, it will last forever, so it is just a one time investment.