Water kefir, also known as tibicos, is a grain-based bacterial culture that can be prepared in water to create a drink rich in probiotics, with a sweet taste similar to soda but without the unhealthy sugars. Water kefir is thus healthy for many of the same reasons as yogurt (feeds the immune system, encourages a balanced digestive system, low-fat source of nutrients) but in a drinkable form. Preparing water kefir takes several days to ferment the bacteria before it is ready to be consumed.
Fill a 2-liter glass jar with water until the water reaches between two-thirds and three-quarters of the way up the jar.
Fill a cup between half and two-thirds full with hot water. Slowly pour sugar into the water, stirring as you go, to dissolve the sugar. Add a teaspoon of black-strap molasses if you like the richer taste or if using anything other than pure cane sugar (such as brown sugar).
Pour the sugar-water into your 2-liter jar of water. Add the other ingredients: water kefir grains, figs or sultanas/raisins and a thick slice of lemon. Stir the contents, then seal tightly and leave for 24 hours at room temperature.
Open the jar after 24 hours and stir the brew, then re-seal for another 24 hours.
Strain the kefir by pouring through a sieve or strainer into your second jar. Seal the jar and refrigerate for one to three days to chill.
Nick Grimes was first published in 1998. Since then his work has appeared in the New Zealand Listener, Evening Post, City Voice, Turbine, Flicks.co.nz, and Gamesradar. He has a master's degree in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand.