Water kefir grains can be used to ferment all sorts of sweet liquids (honey, juice coconut water). Here is how to make water kefir without sugar.
Here are a few things to know about experimenting with water kefir grains:
- Either use excess grains or refresh you grains in a sugar-water solution after every non-sugar ferment to keep your grains healthy.
- Water kefir made without sucrose (sugar) won’t be as fizzy.
- Always follow the basic fermenting rules for water kefir to keep your grains healthy.
Water Kefir Without Sugar:
Water kefir is happiest in a sucrose water solution. This can be made from white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup or coconut palm sugar. However, here are some sugar free options that can be used to make water kefir:
- Honey: Heat 1/4 cup of filtered water, and 1/4 cup of honey on the stove, and bring to a boil to pasteurize the honey (to avoid potentially contaminating the water kefir grains.) Mix the honey water with and additional 3 3/4 cups of filtered water and cool to room temperature. Mix with 3 tbsp of water kefir grains.
- Coconut Water: Mix 2 tbsp of water kefir grains with 4 cups of coconut water and ferment on the counter for 24-48 hours.
- Juice: Mix 2 tbsp of grains with 4 cups of clear juice (grape, apple, blueberry) and ferment for 24-48 hours. The fructose will result in a slightly alcoholic beverage, so it’s not recommended for children. Don’t use acidic juices (orange, pineapple, etc) as they are harmful for water kefir grains.
- Other First Ferment Additions: In general it is best to flavour water kefir during the second ferment. Adding fruits or other herbs and spices to the first ferment may damage the water kefir grains. However, whole organic lemons, organic raisins (without oil) or organic figs can be added to the first ferment without hurting the grains.