Our balcony gets greener and greener. We were able to harvest a large bunch of radish and of course many herbs yesterday. However, the best thing to do, is to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine in your own little urban garden. Or an ice-cold lemonade. A few weeks ago, we tried water kefir for the first time. We have been interested in fermentation and its effect for a while now. During our search for a way to make yoghurt out of coconut milk, we stumbled across kefir. We both only knew it as a milk drink but didn’t know how to make it or how it tastes. We informed us about it and were very excited to order our first water kefir culture. After our first sip of our self-made lemonade, all doubts about this little weird looking fellow disappeared. It might sound a little strange but like with a Hermann (a dough that is divided and „fed“ over and over again) or a sourdough, you feel like taking care of a little pet. Water kefir, also known as Japanese Crystals is prepared with water, and fed with sugar, lemon slices and dried fruit. It is so excited about the sugar and processes it directly. The outcome are for example lactobacilli and carbon dioxide which make the drink kind of sour. The lemonade is not even super delicious but also good for us due to microorganisms. The longer you let it ferment, the more the taste and sugar content changes. There are so many ways to experiment and we tried a lot. We’d like to present our three favorite variations in order to show you what’s possible. However, you definitely need to try something yourself. Feed the cultures with everything that comes to your mind. Different dried or fresh fruit, tea, herbs and spices…
While browsing the internet, we found a wonderful homepage about Kefir and Kombucha www.wellness-drinks.de where you can find a lot of information, a large variety of basic recipes, care instructions and you can even order the cultures there with certificate and growth guarantee. Enjoy spring with sparkling kefir lemonade!
Fill the water into a 1,5 l jar.
For the Elderflower Lemonade dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the lemon slices and lemon juice with the dates, elderflowers and kefir crystals.
For the Ginger Root Beer dissolve the sugar and the molasses in the water. Cut the ginger into slices and add it with the lemon slices and lemon juice, plums, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick to the kefir crystals.
Cook the tea for Rhubarb Lemonade with Green Tea and leave it to cool with the tea bag in a 1.5 l jar and dissolve the sugar in it. Cut the rhubarb into slices and add it with the lemon slice, figs and kefir crystals.
Cover the jar and allow to let out the rising carbon dioxide. Place it in a warm spot. You can make a first try after 24 hours and taste how far the lemonade ripened. The longer you let it ferment, the more sour and bitter it gets. We end the fermentation process after 1,5-2 days. Remove the fruits, spices, dried fruits and lemon slices and pour the lemonade through a sieve. Leave the water kefir in the sieve and rinse it with cold water. You can now choose to make a new lemonade or just keep the kefir with water, sugar and maybe a lemon slice, covered in the fridge for a few days. It is important to always pay attention to hygiene when it comes to kefir. Jars, bottles and all other utensils need to be washed with hot water. You may never let the kefir get into contact with any metal. Therefore, always use plastic or glass for spoons, sieves and jars. Keep the kefir drink in the refrigerator. That’s the way it tastes the best.