My water kefir arrived in the mail (I bought some because Nance and Dragonfly take a lot about kefir/kombucha). What are some good ways to make it? Can I make it with apple juice? I'd like to keep it very simple. What sugar should I use? Do I have to use sugar?
Hi, Korion! As I understand it, the sugar that keeps the grains the healthiest is rapadura (brand name I used is Rapunzel.) If you don't have that, white or turbanado can be used but add a little blackstrap molasses (1 tsp?) for the minerals.
Your first 2 or 3 batches will be drinkable and can be used STARTING IN SMALL DOSES of about a tbsp per day to acclimate your gut to the powerful probiotic bugs. However, the flavor and fizziness of the first few batches are not yet the best and you will notice improvement as you continue to brew more batches.
I'd strongly recommend that you brew your initial batches in water plus sugar and some dried fruit (organic unsulfured) such as raisins plus a wedge of organic/scrubbed fresh lemon. Once your grains start to multiply and you have surplus grains you can try brewing directly in juice such as apple. I've read that brewing directly in juice weakens or can kill your grains so I always use juice at 25%-50% strength for the second brewing (grains already strained out.)
Here's a link to my detailed instructions.