Farm Ferments: Simple Strawberry (And Grapefruit) Water Kefir

Strawberry! Citrus! Doldrums begone!

Making water kefir is a daily routine for me: I’m either starting a first ferment or second ferment each day. Keeping the grains happy means feeding them properly and regularly, and happy grains make wonderfully effervescent kefir!

When I went to start a second ferment yesterday, I had half a grapefruit left over from a previous batch. Since I only needed another half for the other jar of water kefir, I decided not cut into another whole one, and began looking around for other options. As a winemaker, I pretty much always have frozen fruit in the freezer, so I tossed a few pieces of frozen strawberry into the jar.

With water kefir (as with wine), the greater the surface area of fruit exposed to the liquid during a second ferment, the more intense the flavor. Since the strawberries were frozen, smashing them was off the table, but they were already sliced, so a reasonable amount of berry was exposed to the kefir.

The next day, the berries were pale, as though most of the color had leached out. That’s exactly what I had hoped for: the water kefir had drawn out the strawberries’ essence, leaving the fruit spent. But would that translate to good flavor in a half gallon jar of finished kefir?

Why yes, it would – and did. After straining out the fruit, the finished water kefir second ferment was lightly fruity and a lovely blush hue. Does it get much easier than that? I’m not convinced that it does.

Ta da!

For the grapefruit second ferment, I reamed half a grapefruit and added the juice and pulp to the kefir. To punch up the flavor, I added chopped rind (no pith) to the jar. After 24 hours, it’s positively bursting with juicy citrus flavor – a welcome pick-me-up on a wet, cold, and gloomy day!

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