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Aquakefir, an easy to make refreshing probiotic drink
Aquakefir: it’s easy, healthy, cheap and very tasty.
Here’s a recipe for home-made aquakefir.
Aquakefir is a drink with a fresh lemony taste that is obtained by fermenting sugar in water, in the presence of dried fruits, a couple of lemon slices and, most importantly, aquakefir cultures.
These cultures are in fact micro-organisms, a symbiosis between yeasts and benign bacteria. Their bodies look like white, semi-transparant irregular little clusters, a bit similar in shape to cauliflower heads.
For 1 litre of aquakefir you need:
- 1 litre of tap water
- 70 gr of light or dark raw cane sugar (avoid refined white sugar alltogether, whole cane sugar contains useful minerals)
- 70 gr of aquakefir cultures
- Some dried fruits of your choice, like apricots, figs, raisins or prunes …
- A couple of slices of lemon
- An empty bottle of one litre with a screwable lid
If you use recycled bottles of 750 ml like the standard organic juice bottles commonly used in the stores, you will reduce the quantity of water to 750 ml and the corresponding quantity of sugar and cultures to 50 gr each.
Choose organic dried fruit, in any case sulphur free. Use organic fresh lemons, too.
First step: the fermentation
Add the sugar to the water, screw the lid on the bottle and shake in order to dissolve the sugar completely.
Measure the right amount of cultures and put them into the bottle. Next, add the cut up dried fruits and the pieces of lemon. Press the lemon slices lightly between your fingers to liberate the juice.
Put the lid loosely on the bottle and do not screw it tight. The fermentation creates bubbles of CO2, that need to be able to escape from the bottle, unless it could theoretically explode due to built up pressure.
Leave the bottle at room temperature for 24 up to 48 hours.
After a couple of hours, the process of fermentation starts. Bubbles float to the surface, the sugar level lowers (it’s the “fuel” for the growth of the cultures) and the micro organisms flourish and grow.
Harvesting the drink after 24 hours will result in a drink with slightly laxative properties.
Harvest after 48h for best results.
Separate the drink from the cultures and fruit rests by means of a strainer.
Second step: adding extra taste with fresh fruits (optional)
Want more of a fruity taste?
Cut up some fresh fruits of your own choice and put them in the bottle with finished aquakefir. Leave the bottle for extra 24 hours at room temperature. Then, filter through a strainer to separate the fruit rests from the liquid.
Be creative with the choice of the fruit. Fresh cherries, strawberries, citrus fruit or fresh prunes or umeboshi prunes all yield very good results.
Aquakefir can be kept for about 10 days in the refrigerator.
Maintaining your cultures
Important:These wonderful creatures are totally allergic to metals. So use kitchen ustensiles in plastic, wood, glass or ceramics to manipulate or filter them.
Use a fine meshed nylon strainer . Refrain from using a metal strainer or metal spoons.
You can repeat this whole fermentation cycle as many times as you want. The excess cultures you can give away to people who are in search of them, or you can just discard them.
And if you want to have a break, you can keep your cultures well alive in the refrigerator in a glass jar in water with a dash of sugar added for survival. This way, your cultures will remain in good shape for up to three weeks. After three weeks, discard the water, wash the cultures under running tap water, change the water and off you go for three next weeks.
Always wash your kitchen gear and your cultures under running water after each use. Refrain from using aggressive household detergents.
Certain sources state that this drink contains vitamine B12. That seems perfectly well possible, as other micro-organisms are capable of producing vitamine B12. But I haven’t yet seen any scientific confirmation of it. In any case, if it is true, that’s very good news for all vegans and vegetarians!