Ginger Water Kefir
March 5, 2009, 1:50 am
Filed under: Fermentation, Food

My recent experiments with water kefir have been mixed.  Of the first two batches, the one with dried apricots did quite well– a little thin-tasting, but nice and tart and a little carbonated– while the one with dried cranberries turned muddier and muddier (the rapadura I used lending itself quite nicely to that) with an unpleasant thickness to it, and the grains became quite murky and mushy.  Note to self: no more dried cranberries.  I put those grains in sugar water in the fridge to rest for about 24 hours, and they actually made a very tasty drink out of the sugar water.

In the meantime, I put the other batch of grains into another batch of sugar water with the same apricots.  This batch fermented to tartness very quickly, without much depth of flavor.  Note to self: don’t reuse dried fruit.

I read that water kefir grains seem to love ginger best, and we love ginger beer best, so yesterday, I decided to try making ginger water kefir according to Dom’s recipe.  We couldn’t find fresh young ginger, so I used what we had, but otherwise followed the recipe to a T, even adding the blackstrap molasses despite the fact that I was using rapadura as the sugar (because that line of the instructions got hidden at the top of a following page of my printout).  Baking soda, check.  Eggshell, check.  Spring water, check.  Dried Turkish fig, check.

Ginger Water Kefir: Batch #1

I mixed it all up, put a lid on it, and came back to stir it after about 24 hours, then stirred it again later this evening and tried some, only to discover that just about all the sweetness was already gone!  Drat.  So… what to do?  I bottled it, in four beer bottles, and I’m keeping an eye on those caps.

I mixed up another batch right away, but first I checked on the grains.

Little Baggies of Water Kefir Grains

Both batches were looking OK, the mushy ones that had been in with the cranberries a little less so but still not as pristine-looking as the others–

Water Kefir Grains: Batch #1

Water Kefir Grains: Batch #2

— so I took them out of the tea bag and rinsed them in a piece of cheesecloth under running filtered water to get rid of some of the mush.  I realize that a lot of that mush may have been new young grains, but they didn’t strike me as very healthy new young grains, so down the drain they went with the water.  I was surprised by how nice they turned out after their bath, shave and a haircut.  Almost exactly like the other bag of grains.

Rinsed Water Kefir Grains

So in they went together in the new batch of ginger, which varies from the first in that I left out the molasses and decided to put the grated ginger straight into the liquid rather than bothering with the arduous, dirty-dish-making process of juicing it with sugar.

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