Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Post from Jay--Mount Vesuvius (with Kefir Recipe)

Pamela is still on her blogcation while she's getting hyperbaric oxygen treatment, so I'm filling in for her.

The other night I was comfortably lying in bed when Pamela called from the kitchen, "Um, honey. I might need a teeny bit of help in here."

She hadn't screamed and I didn't hear anything crash, but I know her "I was just an innocent bystander when..." tone of voice well enough to get there quickly.

Pamela makes her own water kefir (a fizzy drink made from fermenting kefir grains). Feeling the need for a shot of probiotics before bed, she went into the kitchen to get some, even though she suspected that had she let the most recent batch ferment for a day or two too long. 

When Pamela uncorked the bottle, the kefir shot up like Mount Vesuvius. The entire contents hit the ceiling and rained down. She stood, holding the empty bottle, with caramel-colored kefir dripping off her face and hair, and casually explained her reason for calling me: "I can't reach the ceiling, and you won't let me climb on the counters." 

I grabbed some towels to sop up the sticky mess muttering, "Well, this is a blog post."

She brightened and said, "I'll get my camera!" 

"I'm kidding!"

She wiped up the floor and counter, but most of the spewed liquid was out of her reach, so she helpfully followed me around cheerfully pointing out things like, "Look! Some even got on top of the refrigerator!" and "Hey, it's even dripping down the inside of the cupboard doors!" until I shooed her away.

When I finally finished cleaning, I suggested she put a Post-It note on each new batch of water kefir with the date on it. She looked at me, puzzled, and said, "Why would I do that? I like it fizzy."

Verse of the day: "What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). By the way, the Bible recommends baptism in water, not in a kefir geyser. 

Note from Pamela: On the plus side, our kitchen ceiling hasn't been this clean and sparkly in years!

To read why Jay flatly refuses to let Pamela climb on the counters, click here.  (This is the blog's most-read post, so we know we're not the only ones who can relate.)

To read about how Pamela started fermenting, click here

Pamela's directions on how to make water kefir:

1. Obtain water kefir grains (they're different from milk kefir grains.). You can get them from a friend (like me) or order them here. If you order them, you'll have to rehydrate them for a few days. Use plastic--don't let your grains touch metal. Put your grains aside.

2. Dissolve an equal amount of sugar (preferably organic cane sugar or sucanant, do not use honey) as you have kefir grains (1/4 cup of kefir to 1/4 cup of sugar) in a couple of cups of filtered water (tap water has chlorine that will damage your grains).

This is sucanant, a raw sugar
We have well water, so we have happy kefir. It grows like dandelions in the spring. Well, a little differently, but I couldn't think of a good analogy. Multiplies like tiny, rubbery bunnies? If you don't have well water or are using distilled water, then add liquid minerals. You'll have healthier grains if you add them, and happy grains give you tons of probiotics.Which is why you're making kefir in the first place. Unless you're just trying to be hipster.

I mix the sugar in a bit of hot water to speed up the dissolving process. When the sugar is dissolved, then I add cold water (because you don't want to cook your little kefir grains).

3. Pour your sugar water into a glass jar. Add more water until you have about 4-6 cups of liquid (depending on how strong you want your kefir).

4. Make sure your water is cool (again, so you don't cook your kefir grains) and then add the kefir grains.

5. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band and let it sit in a dark, warmish (70-75 degrees) place (a pantry or cupboard is recommended. A shelf in your husband's closet is not recommended because he might accidentally knock it over. Not saying I know anything about that--just guessing.).

My water is brownish because I used tan sugar. If you use white sugar (please use unbleached), then your water should look more clear (if it's not, then you need to call a plumber because something scary is growing in your water pipes.).

6. After 3 days (no more or you'll starve your poor grains), strain out the kefir grains with a non-metal strainer (don't let your grains touch metal). Make sure your kefir juice is in a plastic or glass container (because you don't want to kill your pro-biotics).

My grains are brownish from the brown sugar. Normally they're clearish. I think mine look better with a little tan. As do I.

7. Rinse off your grains. Everyone needs a shower now and then.

Remeasure the grains so you know how much sugar to use in your new batch. They should double in number each time you use them. If you have more than you want, put the extra grains in your compost pile where they will greatly benefit your soil.

8. Make a new batch of sugar water. Add about 1/4 cup of your strained kefir juice to the new sugar water as a starter. Your probiotics will grow better in the new sugar water if they have some kefir juice to encourage them. Like new kids feel better if they have someone to play with who already knows their way around. 

9. Put your strained kefir juice in a glass or plastic jar with a plastic lid (you don't want a metal lid to accidentally touch your kefir juice and kill the probiotics.). You can drink the kefir juice just as it is. Start with a few tablespoons at first to see how your body reacts to it. It might clean out your innards a bit if you drink too much at first. I drink like a cup of it a day, but I need a lot of probiotics with my digestion issues.

Or you can add some fruit juice to your kefir juice to make it tastier. I like it in equal parts. And I only like pear or apple juice. Pineapple, orange, and pomegranate juice tasted weird to me. So did coconut water. But you might like it. If you're weird.

If you juice your own apples and pears, then strain the juice or you'll get bits of pulp floating around. That puts people off. On a plus side, you won't have to share your kefir juice. Just say, "What's that floating in the juice? Odd. Oh, well. Do you want to try some?" It works until they catch on that you're hoarding your kefir.

10. If you want fizzy kefir, then put it in a bottle with an air-tight lid. I think the blue ones are prettiest. They come in 16 oz. or 32 oz. sizes.

Let it sit in a pantry or cupboard for another day or so. Sometimes it doesn't get fizzy if your cupboard isn't warm enough. 

Warning! Don't let it sit in the cupboard for 4 days even if you think your house is really cold (unless it's really cold--our house was at 68 degrees) or it will erupt when you open it (see above story.). But that's kind of fun, so I advise you to try it at least once. 

If you need a break from making kefir, put your grains in a new jar of sugar water and put it in the refrigerator. The cold slows the fermentation process. Your grains will hibernate like bears in Yellowstone Park in the winter. Not that I've ever been to Yellowstone Park in the winter, but that's what I learned from watching Yogi Bear. He might sneak picnic baskets, but he'd never lie about hibernation.


  1. Of course, the story is hilarious - like always - no news there BUT I ❤️that you put the water kefir recipe here. Now I will always know where to find it. PS I want some kefir grains..I'm doing lots of Kombucha now, so maybe we can trade sometime. I, too, prefer the fizz (again, no surprises there).

    1. You're welcome to some of my kefir--it multiplies rapidly!

  2. I think this is a timely blog and scripture since we just had Baptism Sunday this past Sunday! It was awesome....brought tears to my eyes!!!!

    1. The kefir baptism brought tears to Jay's eyes, too. Not quite in the same way, though, I think.

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