Making different flavors of water kefir is easy and fun. The first way to alter the taste of water kefir is to use different types of sugar when culturing water kefir. White sugar is commonly used and will produce a mild-tasting kefir that makes a great background for adding other flavors. Using whole sugars such as Rapadura or Sucanat produces a richer-tasting kefir although a similar flavor can be achieved by adding 1/2 teaspoon molasses to 1/4 cup white sugar per quart of water. Some people really enjoy the taste honey produces. While you can use honey to make water kefir, we caution you to keep a backup set of grains available or be prepared to replace your grains at some point. The naturally occurring organic matter in honey may compromise the yeast and bacteria in the water kefir grains. Using honey may eventually weaken the water kefir grains.
There are numerous options for adding additional flavorings to water kefir:
Water Kefir Lemonade Make water kefir and remove the kefir grains. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to each quart of water kefir. Serve cold.Click here to watch a video demonstration.
Orange Zest Water Kefir Add the kefir grains and several strips of organic orange zest (not the juice) to a standard batch of sugar water. It is important to use an organic orange to avoid exposing the kefir grains to pesticides. Allow the water kefir grains to culture 24 to 48 hours. Remove and discard the orange zest. Remove the kefir grains and serve the kefir cold.
Cream Soda Water Kefir Make water kefir and remove the kefir grains. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons quality vanilla extract per quart of water kefir.
Blueberry-Pomegranate Water Kefir Make water kefir and remove the kefir grains. Add 1/2 cup blueberry-pomegranate juice per quart of water kefir. Serve cold. Variation: Use cherry juice or your favorite juice flavor.
Raspberry Juice Water Kefir Add kefir grains to 1 to 2 quarts of organic raspberry juice. Allow the juice to culture for 24 to 48 hours. Please note: a longer fermentation period will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar in the juice. Please use good judgment if serving kefired juice to children.
Fruit-flavored Water Kefir Make water kefir and remove the kefir grains. Add fresh or dried fruit to the water kefir. If using fresh fruit, change the fruit out every 24 hours; dried fruit can be changed out as infrequently as once a week. Allow the fruit and kefir to sit for 1 to 7 days. Remove and discard the fruit. Please note: water kefir can be cultured and flavored it at the same time by having both fruit and kefir grains sitting in the sugar water. If using this method be sure to use low acidic fruits (i.e., avoid pineapple, orange, etc.) and confine either the kefir grains or the fruit in a small cloth bag to avoid the disintegrating fruit becoming mixed with the kefir grains. Be sure to keep the cloth bag submerged in the liquid to avoid attracting mold!
Grape Juice Water Kefir Add kefir grains to 1 to 2 quarts of organic grape juice. Allow the juice to culture for 24 to 48 hours. Please note: a longer fermentation period will yield a higher alcohol content due to the amount of sugar in the juice. Please use good judgment if serving kefired juice to children. Variation: Use organic apple juice.
Water Kefir “Soda” Make water kefir and remove the kefir grains. Combine 4 parts water kefir and 1 part fruit juice in a truly airtight bottle such as a Grolsch-style flip-cap bottle or an old wine bottle with a new cork. Allow the mixture to sit for several days at room temperature before refrigerating. Adding the juice continues to feed the live yeast and bacteria in the water kefir (even though the kefir grains themselves have been removed). This process creates gas and normally some level of carbonation. Use caution when opening the bottle! Variation: Use water kefir made with fruit juice and bottle as directed above.
Coconut Water Kefir Add the kefir grains to 1 to 2 quarts coconut water. Allow the mixture to culture for 24 to 48 hours before removing the kefir grains.
Herbal Infusion Water Kefir Mix one part finished water kefir (kefir grains removed) with one part herbal infusion (e.g., nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf, etc.). Herbal infusions can be made by combining a handful of fresh or dried herbs with one quart boiling water. Allow the herb and water mixture to sit for 6+ hours. Be sure the herbal infusion is completely cooled prior to mixing it with the finished water kefir.
Water Kefir Smoothie Use water kefir as the liquid base in your favorite smoothie recipe.
Please note: Be sure to check containers carefully for cracks before bottling, as cracks can weaken the integrity of the bottle. We also recommend "burping" the bottles periodically to release excess pressure.