Ginger-Orange Water Kefir
Lemons and I don’t get along. At all. Not even a little bit. I suppose we can tolerate being in the same room, and I do use lemon essential oil in some of my cleaning products. But that’s it!
A sensitivity to citrus is more common than a lot of people might think. That is why it is one of the eliminated food groups when doing a non-AIP elimination diet. Thankfully, in my case, I’ve only shown a sensitivity to lemons and not oranges or grapefruit. I’ve been to chicken to test limes yet. In my mind, they are closely associated with lemons and I just don’t want to go there!
Unfortunately, there is nothing quite like a fresh glass of cold lemonade on a hot summer day. Grapefruit makes a passable substitute, but it’s just not the same.
After first trimester exhaustion knocked me for a loop last summer (I can’t believe it’s been a year already!), Scott took over a lot around the house while I slept and baked Little Miss. This included water kefir production! And I’m thankful he did!
I had never bothered with a second ferment with my water kefir. I liked it fine after the first ferment, my time and effort was better spent elsewhere, and the second ferment is thought to be where the minuscule amounts of alcohol in water kefir are created. But this also meant that I never got any of the fizziness that so many appreciate in their water kefir.
Scott still misses his sodas (I refuse to have cans of toxic in the house!) even though he knows how bad they are. Sparkling water helps, but that gets pricey in a hurry. Water kefir is dirt cheap, so easy, and is good for you! It just requires some patience. And so my lovely husband was finally motivated to embark on the water kefir second ferment!
His efforts were not in vain. They resulted in this fantastic, refreshing, gut-healing beverage that is the closest thing to real lemonade that I have tasted in a while. We will be enjoying this quite a bit over a very hot summer here in Calgary!
It really is very easy, but it does take a little more time. Here’s our step-by-step:
- Prepare water kefir according to the instructions in this post, using unsulfured fruit as your mineral source (anything else has too strong a taste and affects your finished product). This will take more time during cooler weather, less time in the summer.
- Wash and dry well the bottles you plan to use. Ensure that they can tolerate a significant amount of pressure, otherwise you risk an explosion! For your first time, I recommend using an empty plastic water bottle. This way you will get a feel for how long it will take the second ferment depending on the weather and your kitchen conditions. The ferment is done when the bottle is hard when you try to squeeze it. I don’t recommend using plastic bottles long term due to concerns about chemicals leaching into your kefir. Once you have a feel for it, you can transition to glass bottles. We reuse empty 750mL glass San Pellegrino bottles since we know that they are designed to withstand the pressure of a carbonated beverage. You can also use canning jars (I find these harder to vent) or the old flip-top style beer/soda bottles.
- Chop up some pieces of ginger root and organic orange peel. I recommend organic orange peel to avoid chemicals found on the peels of conventionally-grown oranges. We usually use 3-5 slices of ginger and half the peel of one orange per bottle, but feel free to customize to suit your taste. Place ginger and orange peel in the bottles.
- Pour the first ferment kefir into the bottles, being sure to leave some head space. Tighten cap securely and place bottles in a warm, dark place. We usually leave them on the counter in the corner with the fridge.
- Check and vent bottles daily. If you twist the cap open just enough to get that hissing sound, it will maintain pressure but prevent an explosion. Your second ferment should be done in 1-2 days, depending on the ambient environment.
- Once the kefir has reach desired fizziness, place the bottles in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process and enjoy at your leisure!