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.
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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.