Champagne season is over and we are striving to focus on healthier fare, but life is too short to give up that festive feeling. We believe every day should have these moments and our boozy friends didn’t originate to get us drunk. The historic purpose of consuming alcohol with food was to improve sanitation and boost digestion. To aid in savoir faireal. This month we are happy to focus on alternatives that do all the good without any bad side effects.
In comes coconut water kefir, our favorite champagne alternative. We’re calling it: “January Champagne.”
Coconut water kefir is the only true non-dairy form of kefir (water grains are used instead of dairy-based grains), but the health benefits are similar. It is a rich source of probiotics, boosts immunity, and has been shown to improve brain and liver health. Coconut water kefir is much lighter and more hydrating than milk or dairy kefirs, and the flavor is more complementary with food. If you drink kombucha, beer, or wine, you’ll notice similarities in the flavor profiles.
Water kefir grains feed off the sugars in coconut water; they can also be used in any kind of juice or sugar water. The kefir can be fermented using dried fruit or fruit juice, or it can be flavored after plain fermentation. Water kefir is very versatile and easy to make once the grains have been activated. Once the grains are alive, you must continue to tend to them or they will die. As with all kefir, it is important not to contaminate the grains and to make sure none of the ingredients involved come in contact with any metal.
We like to purchase our grains from Cultures for Health. They have some of the best grains and each batch comes with thorough instructions.
Once you get the hang of it, this is one of the easiest and most beneficial beverages you can add to your repertoire year round.
| INGREDIENTS |
- 4 cups coconut water (raw is best, but pasteurized coconut water will work as well)
- 1/4 cup activated water kefir grains*
| PROCESS |
*To activate grains: Dissolve 1/4 cup coconut crystals in 3–4 cups hot water. Let water cool before adding the grains. Allow to sit at room temperature for 3–4 days until the grains become translucent and plump and look lively. Strain off sugar water using a non-metal strainer.
The grains are now ready to be used immediately. Between fermentations, feed the grains with the strained sugar water mixture; this keeps them alive and thriving. The grains will multiply over time, so there will always be a fresh batch to brew.
Pour coconut water into a glass jar. Add activated grains and stir with a non-metal spatula. Cover jar to prevent contamination and allow mixture to brew at room temperature for 24–48 hours. Once kefir is fermented, pour through a plastic sieve to strain. Store kefir in a glass jar at room temperature or in the refrigerator to keep chilled. It is now ready to be flavored and served.
Makes 4 cups. Water kefir can last up to two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
To make a more effervescent kefir, ferment it in a sealed jar or container to trap the CO2 produced during the fermentation process, and if you really like it bubbly we love using our soda maker to make it extra festive!