Water Kefir: 2nd Ferment

Welcome back! If you're new, check out Water Kefir: Part 1 before continuing here.
 
At this point, you should have plain, finished water kefir with the grains strained out and possibly working on a new batch of kefir. You can either drink the plain water kefir just as it is, or you can flavor it during a second ferment.
 
The flavor possibilites are literally endless when it comes to water kefir. The most popular flavors include fresh fruit, dried fruit, or fruit juice. For my first batch, I made Cherry Vanilla Kefir. For a half-gallon of water kefir, I added one tablespoon of vanilla extract and 20 dried cherries.
 

Ferment at room temperature for 1 to 7 days. If you are using fresh fruit, you need to take the fruit out and replace it every day. Dried fruit and fruit juice can be kept in for as long as you want it to ferment. I usually let my second ferments go for another 3 days.


Be aware that when you open your ferment, it may be very fizzy, just like soda! And like soda, once it is open, it will go "flat" after a while. For this reason, some people like to do their second ferments in individual serving containers; after they have fermented at room temperature they are moved to the refrigerator. When the containers are opened to drink, they have that fizz, as well as the dried fruit or whatever was used in it. I just do my second ferment in one large container (2L Fido jar), strain the dried fruit out after 3 days, and store in mason jars in the fridge. I do lose the fizz, which is not a big deal to me. I'm just going for good flavor!


Flavor tips:
use 1/2 cup fruit juice to 1/2 gallon of water kefir
use 1/4 cup dried fruit to 1/2 gallon of water kefir
use 1/2 lemon and/or 1 small lime to 1/2 gallon of water kefir to make lemonade/limeade
use 1 part herbal tea (cooled) to 1 part water kefir to make an herbal infusion

These are just a few ideas and can be adjusted to suit your tastes. Don't be afraid to experiment to find flavors and combinations that you and your family love!

Printable: Water Kefir, 2nd Ferment

15 comments:

  1. Just to make sure I understand correctly, the second ferment is just for the flavor and does not have the kefir grain in it. Is that correct? So, I would ferment using the kefir grains, strain the grains after a couple of days, add the flavor and let the flavor ferment for a couple of days?

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    1. Yes, second ferment is after the grains have been removed.

      You want to keep your grains in a food source, if you leave them in the fermenting water too long, you will end up starving them. So you do your initial ferment with the grains, strain them out and refeed them.

      The resulting fermented water can now be used straight or flavored and let sit out for another fermentation. The second fermentation is where you add flavors (you want to keep flavors away from the grains in case anything you add might cause harm to the grains) and let it sit for longer. This will also create fizz (CO2).

      If you have a bottle that seals tight enough, you will get a fizzy soda pop like drink. If you do use tight sealing bottles you also want to make sure you have the proper bottles, using bottles not meant for high pressure can lead to bottle explosions, so use the right stuff and burp it often to get a feel for when it needs to be refrigerated.

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  2. Oh my gosh, I am sold! Must buy water kefir grains ASAP!!!

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  3. Your directions are the best I have found. It helps clarify things. I am wondering a couple of things though. You mention to change out fresh fruit everyday (vs. dried). Is it better to use lemon juice rather than fresh lemon slices? We love dried cranberry/lemon kefir. I used fresh slices, but left them in for 3 days on the counter. It is very fizzy, but tastes fine. I also has some sediment, it that ok? Also, when putting in the fridge after the fermentation period on the counter is it ok to leave the fruit in the jar or should it be strained? Will it keep adding flavor? I am finding I have better luck with dried vs. fresh fruit. I tried frozen cherries, but didn't realize until reading your blog they should be changed every day as I am guessing they should have been treated as fresh! I also left fresh blackberries in for three days with apple juice/cinnamon stick kefir, boy did that fizz all over the place...I ended up throwing it out as it ended up smelling weird.

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    1. I'm sorry I missed your comment until now.

      I usually use dried fruit as well - it's just easier.

      Fermented foods always have "sediment." This is a good sign! It means there are living bacteria in there.

      I always strain my fruit/herbs out before putting it in the fridge. Again, just easier. Not sure the flavor would be helped any by leaving it in.

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  4. Great info, do you know the difference between using a "ginger bug", which I've seen some people mention, and your method? Do they produce similar results, or are they totally different processes?

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    1. Water kefir uses grains to ferment the water. A ginger bug uses ginger and sugar to ferment the water. They're used very differently.

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  5. Ok, I would love to learn more on how to do water kefir. How do you do it in mason jars? Would you possibly consider doing a step by step how to video to show us? Also what does water kefir taste like? Can I actually get it to taste like different flavors of coke, such as Dr, Pepper, Coke, or Sprite?

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    1. It works the same way in mason jars.

      I don't do many videos because they're often no one around to record them! ;)

      Water kefir tastes pretty plain. You need to flavor it heavily with fresh or dried fruit, or herbs, etc. I don't know of any way to make it taste like soda. It's similar to soda only in that it's a fizzy drink.

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    2. ok so I would put the jar lids on them for the fermenting and not a paper towel like I do for our milk kefir?

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  6. Thank you for all the great recipe ideas for water kefir! I've read a lot about it, having failed at making milk kefir, but now I'm really looking forward to ordering my water kefir grains and getting started. My guilty secret is that I seem to be addicted to the fizz in carbonated drinks, well that and the caffeine, so I'm sincerely hoping this will help me get unhealthy energy drinks out of my life for good. I'm really glad you mentioned doing the second ferment in individual jars to keep the fizz, as that's absolutely what I'll want to do. Thanks so, so much!

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  7. No wonder I was getting very cloudy and very very fizzy soda! I was adding the fruit juice (2-3 tbls) per bottle, the adding the "mother" water over the top to fill to the fill line on the bottle. I didn't know (and had not read anywhere) that the 1/2 cup of fruit juice went into the strained mother, let sit, THEN bottle and fridge.

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  8. I have a question about the alcohol content. I am 8 weeks pregnant and have read conflicting articles about whether it's safe for pregnancy...my understanding is that the longer it ferments, the more alcohol it contains. Well if you do the second ferment doesn't that add even more alcohol? I have been fermenting my kefir water for 48 hours each time so that there is less sugar content but not much alcohol. Should I not even attempt to add flavoring with the second ferment?

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    1. It MAY contain trace amounts of alcohol, its not going to be an issue. When I was prego my doctor said I could have wine in moderation this kefir wouldn't come close to that at all.

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