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Anne Delle

The water kefir grains grow, they grow and they grow a lot”. The growth depends on the amount of calcium in the water. The more calcium, the faster they grow. Tab water in Berlin is known to be quite harsh so you could expect your water kefir to grow quickly. Antje uses filtered water. The filter makes the water softer and filters out some of the calcium so the multiplication happens slower.

To kickstart the freshly handed out grains you should use less water in the beginning, so they have a dense environment of nutrients. They just woke up from hibernation in the fridge. Similar to all living matter and surely everyone can relate, that after a long nap it takes a moment to get back in the swing of things.

Diffuse the sugar in hot water from the sink or boil it up. 2-3 tablespoons of sugar for around 1,5 litre water in total. While we wait for the water to boil Antje shows us her colorful assessment of different combinations like a light-yellow lemon infused drink to a reddish cranberry drink. She lets one of the bottles pop to show us the carbonation “it’s getting warmer in the kitchen so the fermentation process is getting faster”

The kettle pops and tells us that the water is ready. Antje then dissolves the sugar in the hot water and adds on cooler water to fill the jar up. When handling the grains “It’s the same like children, the grains should’t have anything on them that you don’t want them to touch”. The mix of fruit, grains and sugarwater is now in its own environment and for a new cosmos of microbiology to emerge, the lid needs to be closed. Now the drink with the dried fruits inside needs to ferment from 48 to 72 hours, depending on how you like the taste. The longer it ferments the more acidy it gets; it also contains more alcohol then. Store your jar in a place with no direct sunlight, but not in the fridge, where the grains would fall asleep again. Caring for the Kefir is part of the almost daily routine. Since it only takes two days to ferment and due to its delicious taste, it doesn’t last very long.

A big take away from the Kefir practice is: “You’re free to do whatever you like. Go wild”

The kefir also makes a nice mixer for drinks and can be used like tonic water. The wildest combination Antje tried was her “Christmas Edition”, that turned out to be quite unexpected:

“Once I put some cinnamon and apples in it, it’s called my winter edition. But I didn’t like it, because the cinnamon didn’t really dissolve and some bits had a lot of cinnamon, others none. I was so excited and waited three days for it (the cinnamon) and then I was so disappointed and had to wait for three days for the next batch

Timing is a strange thing, to be felt very differently, according to each occasion.

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  1. Antje Nestler

    Thanks for the great post, Anne & Maxime! I can now happily report, that my newest obsession is with dried blueberries – it also gives it a nice reddish color. I’m happy to share some grains, if someone is interested!

    Copyright: Antje Nestler
    Copyright: Antje Nestler
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