Working with a new ferment produces all kinds of insecurities, like a first-time mother learning how to breastfeed.
I call up my kefir mentors the way an uptight mother relies on the nursing hotline.
“So Tara, do you think our house will be warm enough for the kefir to ferment?”
…”Shanon, it’s me again, I just had to call you back because I forgot to boil my water to get rid of the chlorine before adding the grains. What should I do now?”
And on the phone calls go. I try to alternate between the two of them, to give them each a break. Sometimes I ask them both the same question, just for extra assurance. Now that I’m on my third batch I’ve let up a little and realize that it’s all going to work out just fine. In fact, right beside me on the counter is a jar of it, burping out a bubbly song in harmony with the gallon of kombucha from the other side of the kitchen.
We had brewed kombucha on and off for about seven years, when I decided it was finally time to take the plunge with the next probiotic on my list: water kefir. You can order kefir grains online but I think it’s best to get them fresh. That way you can call up your benefactor every couple of hours with a new question. My kefir grains have already reproduced enough for me to give some away–if you have a hankering for some, let me know!
If you are interested in learning about the process, I recommend this site, where I found lots of helpful information to supplement my hourly phone calls. You will find all kinds of reasons, online, why people go crazy for this stuff.I’m doing it for three reasons:
1. It’s fun to sit around at night and talk about how the kefir grains are doing and watch the bubbles float to the top. It’s like our own little aquarium, only instead of fish, we watch kefir grains and a floating piece of ginger.
2. My guts need all the friendly bacteria they can get. Instead of buying a bottle of pills for sixty bucks, brewing my own kefir gives me a tasty probiotic punch whenever I need it.
3. Choosing the flavouring! After the kefir grains sit in the sugar water for a few days, I strain out the grains, add flavour to the water, and bottle it up so it gets fizzy. My flavour additions, so far, have been nanking cherry juice concentrate; sweetened lemon juice; and vanilla.
There are many websites that outline more health benefits and give details about the process. This is not one of them. Instead, here are a few more pictures to make you thirsty!
If you stop in at our place, drinks are on the house!
Hey, before you go (there’s still a bit of that desperate newbie in me)–does anyone out there have other flavouring ideas or tips?