I've been brewing water kefir off and on for a little over a year thanks to my good friend, Jess, and Ruth at Just Another Day In Paradise recently hooked me up with some fresh grains after I'd taken a break. These were grains she'd been tending for several months which I originally gave to her! Brewing kefir is a great way to keep up a friendship!
So this is how I do it...
I first add one cup of white sugar to a gallon pickle jar.
Then I fill the jar almost all the way with cold filtered water.
Next I add 1/4 cup water kefir grains to the jar.
Water kefir gets its wonderfully refreshing flavor from lemon and ginger. I usually halve a whole organic lemon and peel a chunk of ginger, which I keep already cut up in the freezer. The ginger peels easily from the freezer under warm water. I usually use the lemon and ginger for two batches of kefir. So on the first batch I only halve the lemon and throw in the ginger whole. On the second batch I cut the lemon halves in half again, and cut the ginger in half as well. It's o.k. to add a new lemon and ginger chunk each time, but I just try to save a few cents where I can. You may also need to add half a cleaned egg shell, or a pinch of sea salt, or quarter teaspoon of baking soda to stimulate the growth of your grains. Some people also add unsulphured sultanas, or golden raisins. I've heard of some people adding unsulphured dates. I suggest you do a little internet research on growing healthy kefir grains to find out more.
I add the lemon and ginger to the water and mix it up to dissolve the sugar.
After the kefir brews for about 48 hours (you can tell it's getting done because the water turns cloudy like Fresca Soda and there are bubbles rising and you can even take a little taste to test the sweetness--finished kefir isn't really that sweet because the sugar gets metabolized by the kefir grains) you just strain it all into a storage container.
I use a PUR refrigerator water filter with a tap that I got at Goodwill for $2.99. The kids gulp this down! It's close enough to soda as far as bubbles go to make an acceptable substitute, and it's so refreshing when it's cold! You can flavor it further with fruit juices if you like--just let the juices ferment on the counter another 24 hours before drinking, but my kids like it just fine straight up and don't usually want to wait another day to try something new.
(See all the other jars of yummy homemade dressings and ferments in my unusually tidy refrigerator! That little jar underneath with the red and yellow lid contains a happy little family of kefir grains that need to be adopted! Let me know if you're interested.)
From a Living Kitchen!