Japanese Water Crystals have also been referred to as Sugary Fungus, Tibicos, Ginger Beer Plant, California Bees, Water Kefir Grains, tibetan mushroom grains, snow lotus, water crystals, tibi, Kephir, Paris, Kephir, kefir fungus, kefir d'aqua,and more. Regardless if they all are the same or are as unique and different - they all typical share a similar recipe and each are healthy and beneficial. They all are small gelatinous masses of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Which yeasts and bacteria dominate will contribute to supple as well as dramatic differences. The influence of wild bacteria and yeasts as well as personal brewing preferences play an active ongoing role. For most home brewers what is important is simply taste, pleasure and a hint of health.
Japanese Water Crystal Basic Recipe
2-3 tablespoons of Water-Grains (optional
muslin bagfor keeping the grains separate)
2-3 tablespoons of
sugar (or combination of barley malt syrup, honey, etc. Anything that ferments)
Handful or nutrients. A few of many choices; raisins, figs, plums, prunes, slice of lemon, ginger, fresh herbs and spices with an eye towards health issues.
two-quart or larger jar add one quart distilled or fresh pure water, or Sparkling mineral water. Tight fitting cap to increase alcohol content and carbonation. Loose fitting for safety and less alcohol. To safely increase the carbonation and alcohol use a bottle with an airlock (available at www.HappyHerbalist.com or your local beer and wine hobby shop) or a bottle with a large balloon fitted and secured by tape over the bottle opening. In those cases use a bottle size that will be 80% full.
Alternatively; Use Fruit Juices (non-preservative Juice) fresh organic is recommended.
Apple juice, Cranberry, Grape, Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Orange, etc.
Use half water and half juice, and add half of a lemon. lime or slice of orange. (critic acid)
Ferment 1– 4 days at room temperature (75F). Use your taste to judge a satisfactory ferment. With high temperatures flavors will be harsher with more fizz and more alcohol. Cool temperatures favor the bacteria where as the yeasts favor temperatures above 65F. All ferments are
Time and Temperature dependent. Longer ferments will produce more alcohol and an inferior taste, to a point where the ferment turns to vinegar with less alcohol and better taste. See Ginger Beer Research for different ferment time and temperature.
Strain through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the fruit pieces (discard) and retrieve the Water-Kefir Grains to start the next batch.
If going away for long periods, start a fresh larger batch and leave tightly capped in the refrigerator.
Pour the beverage into bottles. If the beverage is highly carbonated and the taste is just right fill the bottle to the brim and cap. If you wish the beverage slightly sweeter add just a pinch of sugar or a sliver of fruit and leave an one inch airspace and cap. At room temperature the beverage will continue to ferment. Leave out for a day or two and then refrigerate. Additional bottling and recipes online.
Ethanol content of Kefir Water
[Article in German PMID: 8204224 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Rabl W, Liniger B, Sutter K, Sigrist T.
Institut fur Rechtsmedizin des Kantonsspitals St. Gallen.
The question of the influence of kefir on blood-alcohol-level has been asked in a legal proceeding. The questioned recipe consisted of 21 water, 6 soup-spoons of kefir granules (about 120 g), 150 g sugar, 2 figs and one lemon. The consumption took place after two days of fermentation. Experimentally we found, that one liter of this kefir product may contain up to 38 g/l ethanol after 7 to 10 days. On the second day we measured up to 16 g/l ethanol.
Note: the amount of alcohol kefir may produce is limited by the yeasts where the alcohol actually becomes toxic to the yeasts. The acetic bacterium save the yeasts from self-destruction by converting the alcohol to beneficial acids. A very nice Kefir vinegar may be produced and when seasoned with herbs and spices may be combined with a nice healthy oil for a true beneficial elixir.
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