Another of my favorite probiotic treats is homemade, dairy-free Coconut Water Kefir—a naturally fermented beverage made from young coconuts. Beneficial probiotics feed on the sugar in the water and leave a slightly fizzy, sour, champagne-like elixir that you can add to your healing arsenal. Oftentimes, I make a batch of Coconut Kefir Yogurt at the same time since I’m opening coconuts and have all the ingredients that I need for both.
Coconut Kefir Elixir and Coconut Kefir Yogurt are basically “food tools” that help maintain a healthy inner ecosystem which keeps immune systems and digestion strong. There are many important benefits of coconut kefir including relief from disease as well as sugar cravings. Shiny hair, clear skin, bright eyes and a flat abdomen are a few more bennies.
While you can make Coconut Water Kefir with kefir grains (and I have many times) or starter packs, I find that you can get a more consistent result, with much less work and expense, by using a simple quality probiotic capsule or two.
According to Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology, a half cup of the Coconut Water Kefir with meals greatly helps digestion. You can add ginger, stevia, lemon, and/or lime if desired. A half cup at bedtime will help establish a healthy inner ecosystem. Studies from Europe show that when you are lying still during sleep, the microflora reproduce faster. In the morning, combine a half cup of the Coconut Water Kefir with unsweetened cranberry or black currant juice, as a great wake-up tonic.
If you are lactose intolerant or interested in eliminating dairy from your diet, keep your inner ecosystem thriving without the dairy yogurt and enjoy Coconut Water Kefir and Coconut Kefir Yogurt instead.
Makes: approx. 3 cups | Preparation Time: 20mins to prepare and 1-2 days to ferment
Sterilized glass bowls
Large saucepan (glass ideal) optional
Candy thermometer (optional)
Strainer (preferably plastic)
Sterilized silicone or wood spoon/scraper
Cleaver or large knife
Glass jar or bottle
1-2 quality probiotic capsules (I use Megaflora found in the refrigerated section at my health food store. Use probiotics that are found in the cooler for optimal life.)
3 young coconuts (how to open them) for 1-1/2 cups fresh coconut water
A few tips:
It is super important that you sterilize all materials that will be coming into contact with the kefir. You don’t want to grown bad bacteria, just the good stuff, so boil, or wash all materials in very hot water, including your hands.
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Metal has been known to react with the kefir in a way that yields unhealthful elements in your final product. Stainless steel is the most inert metal, but it still does react. To heat your water, use a glass saucepan, or place a glass bowl in a large saucepan filled with water. If all of this seems too much, know that I have made plenty of batches of Coconut Water Kefir successfully without heating my water at all. I just let coconut water sit on the counter for an hour or two and add probiotics when it reaches room temperature.
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Glass jars and storage bottles are preferable to plastic since the kefir actually eats away at plastic. If the kefir eats the plastic, you end up eating plastic. Limited contact is fine, but prolonged is discouraged.
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It’s very important that you use fresh coconut water from young coconuts. Store bought varieties do not work since they are pasteurized.
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Let’s Get Started:
Open your coconuts, strain the water and set aside. It is recommended on a few sites to heat the coconut water to a temperature of 92°F but I have made plenty of batches of Coconut Water Kefir successfully without heating my water at all. I just allow the water to sit on the counter until it reaches room temp. I never add probiotics to refrigerated water since it will drastically slow or stunt the fermentation process.
If you would like to heat the water, do so in a glass saucepan, or in a glass bowl placed within a saucepan filled with water. Watch the temperature carefully and remove from heat once it reaches 92°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just test by dippping your finger into the water. it will feel neutral in temperature—neither hot or cold.
Transfer your coconut water to a glass jar, pitcher or container. Open up a probiotic capsule and add to water.
Using a non-metal spoon, stir in the probiotics.
Cover jar with cheesecloth and a rubberband.
Place in the pantry, or on the counter, in a dark spot for 24-48 hours and let it ferment. Your kefir is ready when the water turns from relatively clear to cloudy white. See the photo below, right. The water on the right is not fermented, while the water on the left is finished Coconut Water Kefir.
You can also taste test it. After 24-30 hours, pour some in a glass (do not taste directly from the bottle). It should taste sour, with no sweetness left, like “coconut beer” as some friends have claimed. Some batches are fizzier than others, but all are beneficial. If it still tastes a bit sweet, place it back in the pantry for the remaining recommended fermentation time.
Store in the refrigerator once fermentation is complete. Enjoy!
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