I love fermented drinks and my latest favorite is from water kefir grains. My only prior experience with kefir was some form of dairy kefir drink at Whole Foods which really upset my stomach so I was a little nervous to take this on. I was lucky enough to get some grains from a friend and she showed me the way. The finished drink reminds me of coconut water, very refreshing. Unlike kombucha, here I have not come up with a bad flavor combination. The keifer is a little more neutral in flavor as it grows in sugar water. I've also added them to already flavored sugar water but I didn't like that as much as it gets a little complicated. If there's any residue it can attach to the grains and I prefer to keep mine neutral. I did one with figs and swear I'm still digging little fig seeds out of the grains!
Here's my basic routine with water kefir grains:
iOnce the kefir drink is ready then I add the flavor. The simplest way to flavor is by adding juice or fruit. For adding juice I put in a glass jar and fill about 3/4 full of kefir and 1/4 with juice. I don't measure, just use this as a guideline. I store in the fridge and the longer it sits the stronger the flavor becomes.
Other easy ways is to flavor is to add whole pieces of fruit or 1/2 of a juiced lime or lemon. Grapefruit is another great flavor with the kefir. Depending on the size I add either 1/2 or 1/4 of the juiced fruit to each jar of keifer. I've added blackberries, cherries, oranges and herbs right to the jar for flavor as well. The fruit will loose it's color the longer it sits and the kefir will become stronger in flavor.
If I'm out of fruit I have added vanilla extract with great success. The formula I have read is 3 tsp to 2 quarts but I haven't measured. I add the kefer to the jar I will drink out of and give a little pour of vanilla. If I want to kick the vanilla up a bit I have added maraschino cherries and that is one of my favorites.
The jars I use to store the finished product and drink from are recycled kombucha, tea, or juice jars. Mason jars work as well. For my fermentation vessels I use glass carafes from thrift stores. I strain the grains out into a glass measuring cup then fill the jars individually with a funnel.
I love making cute things in jars! This one I came across in Mary Janes Farm magazine looked like fun.
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits and I have no complaints about brandy! These are very strong, and are great additions to drinks or an unexpected garnish.
They make a great gift, if you can handle giving them up!
Fancy Brandied Cherries, Mary Janes Farm
2 pounds sweet, blemish free, cherries, washed
4 cups high quality brandy
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract (or half vanilla and half almond for a twist)
1. Combine sugar and brandy in medium saucepan over low heat. Cook just until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. (Mixture will be only slightly lukewarm, don't overheat; you want to retain alcohol content of
brandy.) Cool and stir in almond extract.
2. Wash two quart canning jars (a dishwasher on the heated dry cycle works nicely.) Carefully place washed cherries, one by one, into the jars and cover completely with brandy (if not completely covered, they'll spoil.)
Carefully agitate the jar to settle the fruit. Put a lid on each jar and refrigerate.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".
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