Chunky fruit pieces, fruit juices, botanical and so much more, the possibilities for second ferment are endless. Familiarize yourself with the first cycle, how to ferment water kefir, then you are all set to proceed to second ferment, if you desire.
What is second fermentation.
Generally in the first ferment we recommend to keep things pure and simple (sugar + water) to preserve the integrity of the water kefir grains. Finished water kefir in this first cycle is flat and has a mildly sweet, fermented taste and is good to drink as it is. Second ferment is when we introduce a flavor + a small amount of sugar (typically from fruits) + cap it tightly for 24 to 48 hrs to create a carbonated, delicious beverage, reminiscent of soft drinks, but healthier.! If you are wondering why additional sugar is necessary - Yeast in the finished water eats up the newly added sugar and converts them into carbon dioxide (aka fizz) which the sealed container will force trap in the liquid - Liquid gold!
The beauty of making water kefir at home is if you are watching your sugar intake, in the second ferment use fruits that's lower in sugar content (E.g., blueberries, raspberries, lemon, etc), or botanical (E.g., Herbs and spices) it will still be be a delightful probiotic rich beverage.
STEP 1: Add desired second ferment ingredients - crushed fruits, juices, etc into your choice glass bottle.
Suggestions (for 1L);
Fruit juice: 150ml
Chunks of Fruits: 1/2 cup
Herbs and spices: 1 - 2 teaspoon
STEP 2: Pour finished water kefir into glass bottle. Leave 1 inch head space at the top of the bottle. Seal and allow to second ferment a day or two.
STEP 3: When you feel your water kefir is sufficiently flavored, strain out the added second ferment ingredients, refrigerate and enjoy.
Q: Why do i need to "burp" the bottle?
Good question. As the yeast eats the sugar in your kombucha or water kefir during second ferment, gas is produced and pressure within the bottle can build to dangerous level if left for too long, especially if you are using fruits high in sugar content. We do encourage to burp daily (hold bottle cap down firmly and slowly open cap to release some pressure and re-seal.)
Q: Can you recommend a good second ferment bottle?
Avoid square shaped, decorative flip top glass bottle, like IKEA.
Good to use;
- Round Flip top bottles
- Recycled store bought kombucha / water kefir bottles
Q: How long can you store kefir?
Homemade water kefir is raw, unpasteurized and continues to ferment even in cold storage. They do not go bad but will get increasingly sour and increase in alcohol %. It is best enjoyed within a week or two.