You can get creative with all kinds of fruit, herbs and spices when infusing your kefir. Photo / Eleanor Ozich

Sparkling Kefir Infused With Mandarin, Mint & Turmeric

This fruity, fizzy drink makes a lovely alternative to alcohol

I’ve recently become obsessed with water kefir, and in particular, this infusion of mandarin, mint and turmeric. Because it’s naturally fermented, this fruity drink has just enough bubbles and brightness to make it truly refreshing. In this recipe, I have used mandarin, mint and turmeric in the second ferment, however, you can get creative with all kinds of fruit, herbs and spices. I also enjoy fresh raspberries, basil and vanilla pods, or orange zest and cinnamon quills. The key is to add only a touch of flavor here, start with less, and then go from there. The possibilities are endless!

Serves 4

1 litre glass jar
Cheesecloth or muslin
Rubber bands or twine
A wooden stirring utensil
Fine mesh sieve
Air-tight glass bottles with flip top lids
¼ cup kefir grains* see note below
¼ cup regular sugar
4 cups filtered water or coconut water
¼ of a lemon

Extra infusions
Sliced rind of one mandarin
A thumb of turmeric, finely sliced
A handful of fresh mint

*Ask around to find someone who is brewing water kefir at home. I’m sure they’ll be happy to gift you some grains as they only continue to multiply with each brew. Alternatively, dehydrated grains can be used purchased online from health food shops. Follow instructions on how to activate them properly before you start.

1. In your glass jar, add the sugar with ½ cup of hot water. Stir using a wooden utensil, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining 3 ½ cups water, and allow to cool until room temperature.

2. Add the water kefir grains and wedge of lemon, then cover with a round piece of muslin or cheesecloth. Secure with a rubber band or twine.

3. Place the jar in a warm place to culture for 2 days during the warmer months, and up to 4 days during winter.

4. Once the water kefir is ready, pour through a fine mesh stainless steel sieve, reserving your kefir grains for the next batch. Your water kefir is now ready to be infused for the second ferment.

5. Pour the water kefir into a glass bottle, add the additional infusions, and place in the fridge for 24 hours. This chills the kefir, and creates a lightly fizzy drink.

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New Zealand Herald

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