Friday Food – Coconut Kefir

Do you like a little fizz? Carbonated beverages are so NOT Good for You. But I found a coconut kefir I liked – I splurged on vacation for this Good for You fizzy drink – so I decided I’d give it a shot to make it myself. I can’t afford to buy those things often – and even though the ingredients were “good”, I knew they weren’t all necessary in a homemade version.

The fizz isn’t the main reason for drinking kefir though (and they aren’t as bubbly as soda pop). Kefir is Good for You because it is loaded with probiotics that help build gut health. Many (most) Americans have destroyed, or at least significantly weakened their gut flora by diet and anti-biotics. Eating and drinking fermented foods with Live cultures is a good way to help restore them. This Coconut Kefir is one of the best tasting ways, IMO, (as is raw goat milk yogurt).

I used a kefir starter packet (because that’s what I had access to. I hope to get some kefir grains sometime when I can find them, to give them a try). [Update 2016: I have now been using water kefir grains for a few years. Will post an update on my Good For You-Naturally! blog.] Anyhow, you just add the kefir starter to fresh (or I’ve heard canned works too – but I want fresh) coconut water (from a young Thai coconut, not the old “mature” brown ones). And let it sit. How “Freedom & Simplicity” can you get?!

 

Good for You-Naturally!™ “Pop”

  • 1 packet kefir starter (a little over 1 Tbl. in my packet)
  • 4 cups fresh coconut water ( to the 1 packet for the brand I used. Check your brand for correct proportions.)
Yes, just 2 ingredients. A couple optionals are below.

Open Young Thai Coconuts and drain water into glass container. You should get between 1 and 1.5 c. of water per coconut. So you’ll need 3-4 coconuts to get a quart of water. (You may want to empty the coconut water into a larger container and then pour into your Mason jar or whatever you are using to ferment in.) (Find a youtube video to show you how to open it. I cut the husk off the top, then give it a good whack – or a few – with a sharp heavy knife, and pry the top open.) Scoop the Coconut meat out and use in your Green Smoothie, or freeze in an airtight bag to use in a recipe later.

Stir kefir starter into coconut water in a glass jar – with a NON metal spoon. (The experts say to heat to 92° first. Room temp works just fine for me.) [Or just put your grains in. You’ll need 2 Tbl. water kefir grains per 2-4 cups coconut water.] Leave some head room. Cover – but don’t screw a lid on. This gets fizzy/bubbly, and could potentially blow. Let set, on the kitchen counter is fine, for 24-48 hours, until milky/cloudy and bubbly. (The experts say 70°-78°.) (It may take longer. I’ve heard 4-6 days for canned coconut water.) I don’t stop just when I see bubbles starting, but wait until the top is pretty foamy looking. It will get more tangy the longer it ferments.

At this point you can drink it or screw the lid on it and put in fridge or add fruit and ferment it longer. In the refrigerator it should last a few weeks. But I never have it that long.

You can drink it straight, or add fresh fruit to it – strawberries (3-4 per serving), or lemon ( a few slices – or juice of,) or whatever fresh or dried fruit you’d like. I like strawberries blended with the coconut kefir in the blender. If you want it sweeter, you can add a truly natural sweetener, like couple drops of SweetLeaf stevia extract (or real, green stevia leaf powder,) in it before drinking.

You can also do a double ferment, by adding about 1/4 c. fruit, and letting it sit on the counter (covered) another day or 2 – even more bubbly. Strain or blend before drinking. When refrigerated, the fizz may be reduced  if left in the fridge very long. But the probiotics are still in there, alive but not as actively growing.

Before adding fruit, refrigerating, or drinking it all! – remove 1/4 cup to start a new batch. [If using grains, you just strain out the grains and add the grains to new coconut water.] Add about 4 c. fresh coconut water to the 1/4 cup “starter” kefir [or grains], stir and follow as before. The packet starters are suppose to give 6-7 or more batches before they fizzle out. I’m going to need more starter (or find grains) AND buy more coconuts real soon. I may have to try to make water kefir in the meantime.

[To keep your grains healthy and growing well, every week or so refresh them by culturing in filtered/spring water with 1/4 cup coconut sap sugar instead of fresh coconut water. I warm the water to dissolve the coconut sugar, then cool before adding the kefir grains.]

Do you make kefir? What about any other fermented/probiotic drinks or foods? Comment below.

 

Learn to make another Good for You-Naturally!™ cultured/probiotic food in our Freedom & Simplicity™ Guide to Yogurt Making.

 

 

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