Preparing for Hurricanes With Allergies/Real Food

Preparing for hurricanes on a real food diet can be very stressful. Anyone who has been through it knows that preparing for hurricanes, regardless of what kind of food you eat, or if you have allergies or not, is already a very stress-inducing, anxiety-ridden event. Safe food and ample medication should be at the top of the list as far as emergency preparedness.

Real Food Hurricane Prep Ideas

While preparing for Hurricane Dorian last month, a common theme I noticed was mamas asking what to get for their children on special diets. Some have allergies or severe intolerances, so just “making do” and eating anything available would be disastrous.

My son is one of them. In an already high-stress situation, the last thing I need is for him to have a bad asthma attack or anaphylactic reaction.

Hurricane Irma in 2017 promised to actively plague us for days, leaving us stuck at home with no access to medical care or emergency services. Losing power afterwards was pretty much a guarantee. I had to ensure we had enough safe foods and a good supply of medication available just in case. Our Ped was nice enough to give us steroids to use if needed.

We are thankful we were spared from Hurricane Dorian’s wrath, and feel so much sadness for the horrors the Bahamian Islands have experienced. 🙁

We do not live in a flood zone or too close to the beach, so our usual plan is to hunker down and prepare with sufficient food just in case we do actually lose power. It is best to plan for at least a week without power/tap water, but keep in mind that power could be out even longer than that!

During Hurricane Wilma my family was without light for three weeks! Back then I was such a picky eater that I pretty much lived on tuna, bread and lemon cookies. Now I plan much better.

Here are some ideas to prepare for a hurricane or other natural disaster while maintaining your real-food diet. Many of these are suitable for Paleo, GAPS, Keto and other special diets. Most are very allergy-friendly!

This list mostly focuses on things you can buy/prepare last minute, but if you think ahead of hurricane season you can definitely prepare your own of many of these things. Canning, dehydrating, and fermenting for longer-term storage are great skills that can come in handy in emergencies!

It can be helpful to have a generator, grill, gas stove, Berkey water filter, etc. In addition to losing power, the water pipes usually end up getting turned off. These things can make your life so much easier!

Lowering the temperature to the lowest setting for both fridge and freezer is helpful, as is making sure your freezer is packed to the brim (put water bottles and/or zip locks of water in to create ice and fill empty space). Have an idea of where everything is so that you only open when absolutely necessary and can take what you need out and close the fridge quickly.

Meat/protein

Canned tuna, sardines, chicken

Canned beans

Wild Zora products – Paleo & AIP-approved options (they make a variety of “soft-jerky” bars and “just add water” meals)

Jerky – There’s a large variety of Paleo, AIP, Whole30, Keto-approved Jerkys available

Eggs (some people will boil or make egg muffins ahead of time)

Yogurt

Freeze soups ahead of time (put freezer on lowest setting) – Store in serving sizes fit for your family so that you can take out of the freezer quickly and preserve coldness there for a few days.

Fruits & vegetables

Canned vegetables

Canned fruit

Baby food jars/packages

Kale chips

Fermented vegetables

Dried/dehydrated fruits and vegetables – Matt’s Munchies are a favorite here

Applesauce

Fruit bars

Fresh vegetables

Potatoes

Squash

Hard fruit such as apples, plums, oranges

Seaweed

Nuts/Spreads

Almonds/almond butter

Sunflower seeds/Sunbutter

Pumpkin seeds

Ghee

Jams/jellies

Hummus

Breads/crackers/baked goods

Almond flour crackers

Sprouted seed crackers

Sourdough crackers

Sourdough bread – slice and freeze

Millet bread

Coconut flour muffins/pancakes – make ahead and refrigerate and/or freeze

Drinks

Plain juices

Kefir

Water

Coconut water (freeze!)

Beet kvass

It is beneficial to meal plan

Anything that is not shelf stable should be used up first. This includes fresh produce, refrigerated goods, yogurt, kefir, eggs, and any baked goods made in preparation for the hurricane. Next up: potatoes, squashes and frozen items (frozen dinners, meats, broth, etc.). Finally on to the canned foods, fermented vegetables, and other packaged goods!

Instead of eating snacks during the “hurricane wait,” as many choose to do, have a feast! Eat filling meals as often as warranted before the power goes out. If push comes to shove and things hit the fan, a full belly will be helpful.

Pack an emergency escape bag that has medicine and some of the shelf-stable allergen-friendly food available. Shelters and hospitals are not the best places for getting allergen-friendly food, unfortunately.

What allergen-friendly foods do YOU consider a necessity when preparing for hurricanes? Do you know a product that I need to add to this list? If you do, please leave a comment below!

Real Food Hurricane Prep Including For Those With Allergies or On A Special Diet

The Complete Beet Kvass Guide: Benefits, How-To, FAQ

If you’ve never heard of beet kvass before, you might be wondering what the heck it is. Or maybe you have heard of it, maybe even been told it tastes like salty beet water. If so, somebody lied to you.

But it’s probably not their fault! It saddens me that so many have had less than stellar introductions to this wonderful lacto-fermented beet drink. How can you make beet kvass taste better if you don’t even know it is possible?

Today you will learn how to make beet kvass, what beet kvass actually is, and why you should drink this thing regularly. I will also share a recipe that tastes nothing like salty beet water, that way you will make beet kvass that you actually want to drink.

Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is easily one of my family’s favorite ferments. I kid you not. I’m sharing a recipe for plain beet kvass today, but I’ll share the other variations we drink regularly soon.

What do I need to make beet kvass? Do I have to use whey?

To make beet kvass, you will need the freshest beets you can find, good quality salt, and clean water. That’s it! I love simple recipes!

I also highly recommend a fermenting jar with an airlock, such as the Pickl-It, for best results. These jars have an airlock atop a Fido jar, which is a good quality, lead-free Italian glass boasting a truly airtight seal. They allow oxygen to be pushed out of the jar rapidly, and excess CO2 gas to escape. Trapped gases can lead to undesired results such as mold development, excess histamine, off flavors and colors. It can also lead to the occasional exploding jar.

No, you do not have to use whey to make beet kvass. In fact, I highly recommend that you skip the whey in your fruit and vegetable ferments. Leave the whey in your dairy, where it belongs.

I, like many others, first learned of beet kvass in Nourishing Traditions. While I still credit the book for helping me learn about this wonderful world of traditional foods, it is not one I turn to for fermenting advice.

You’ll find that I never use whey for fermenting. For one, different foods have their various strains of bacteria they hang out with. Whey is also unnecessary, and best suited for the dairy it comes from.

I never really got into using whey for ferments because I began this fermenting journey for my son, who had multiple digestive issues and allergies, including dairy. Adding whey did not sound like a good idea for someone allergic to milk proteins, so I had to seek alternatives.

It turns out the alternative, fermenting without whey, is the best way! I also learned quickly from others that fermenting with whey often leads to sub-optimal results. No thanks!

What is Beet Kvass?

Beet kvass is a fermented beet drink. Rather than juicing the beets and directly fermenting the resulting juice, it is more of an infusion where the nutrients from the beets are extracted by the salt water brine.

You can use any type of beet to make beet kvass. I mostly use red beets, which result in a deep purple drink. You can use candy cane beets, which will result in a pink drink. You can also use golden beets, which will result in a milder, light orange drink.

Kvass is a traditional fermented drink from the Eastern Slavic region (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus). It is most commonly made with rye bread, but also made by fermenting other foods such as caraway, beets, etc.

In this region, the sour taste of fermented foods are widely loved, whether it is kvass, sauerkraut, cucumber pickles or fermented dairy.

It is actually kind of ironic that so many people worry about the safety of making fermented foods when it is one of the BEST ways to make food and water safer to consume. Proper fermentation rids food of toxic components and has a low pH that makes it virtually impossible for bad bacteria, yeasts and molds to survive. Some would argue fermenting is safer than many other means of food prep, and there are also studies that support this notion.

Fermentation also increases valuable nutrients, makes them easier for our bodies to absorb and assimilate, and extends the life of foods, which was crucial for getting by between harvests before many of the modern luxuries we have now.

Kvass is considered an elixir, a nourishing medicinal tonic, suitable for many ailments and overall health and well-being.

Why use beets instead of rye?

When we first started on our gut healing journey, we cut out all grains. This includes rye. I considered trying rejuvelac and probably still have the wheat berries hiding somewhere.

I ultimately decided we would forego even fermented grains, such as rye kvass and sourdough, for at least 6 months as it can take some time for the body to repair itself from any damage one might have experienced due to grains. The recipes for making rye kvass also use sugar and tests have shown it can include up to 1% alcohol.

Further research on beets convinced me to try multiple fermented beet recipes, including beet kvass. We did also try raw beets, but they are not as easy to digest as fermented beets are. Nor do they taste as good…

This study highlights the benefits of beet supplementation as:

  • increasing nitric oxide (NO), which can help cardiovascular health by:
    • preventing and treating hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • regulating immune function
    • supporting platelet adhesion/blood clotting
  • reducing inflammation
    • chronic inflammation leads to obesity, cancer, liver and heart disease
    • sufficient supplementation of beetroot may work better than synthetic anti-inflammatory medicines such as Ibuprofen
  • offering some protection from the toxic effects of chemotherapy
  • combating oxidative stress, including from external causes such as radiation
  • improving cognitive function, and potentially positively affecting those with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease

While further research is warranted to determine potential treatments with beets/beet components, there is overwhelming evidence that regular beet consumption has health-promoting effects.

The Benefits of Beet Kvass

Health Benefits of Beet Kvass

The benefits of beet kvass are plenty. One of the main reasons I decided to try beet kvass again after having yucky results the first couple times was to put an end to my son’s SIBO symptoms and poor sleep.

With the aid of beet kvass and a variety of other fermented foods, we were able to banish all of these negative symptoms and more: painful stomach cramps, alternating diarrhea and constipation, weight loss, abdominal distention, foul “rotten egg” smelling gas (even when he was egg-free!), and malabsorption.

I considered beet kvass an important ferment to detoxify and nourish for the following reasons:

  • It is ready to use much quicker than sauerkraut (which I ferment anaerobically for 3 months or more)
  • It does not have an overwhelming taste, so it is palatable for little ones and adults alike (it’s easier to get ferments in if they taste good or if the flavor can easily be altered)
  • A little bit packs a big punch (it is full of antioxidants and a multitude of vitamins and minerals)

Here are the main benefits of beet kvass, and why you should strongly consider adding it to your family’s diet:

It is full of probiotics
If you’re not already familiar with the many benefits of probiotics and fermented foods, click here to learn more. In a nutshell, probiotics are friendly bacteria that help our bodies function properly. They are tasked with creating and assimilating important vitamins and substances. They can help with a wide variety of digestive issues, which in turn can positively affect skin, hormones, mental state, etc.

It is a great source of vitamin C
I’d be shocked if you haven’t heard of the benefits of vitamin C. It is a vitamin found in many fruits and vegetables and one of the stars in fermented foods. Your body requires more vitamin C than normal during times of stress, like when you are fighting an infection. The vitamin C content in sauerkraut is praised for helping sea voyagers avoid scurvy (read this interesting article for more info on that!).

Adequate vitamin C consumption is important for:

  • tissue repair/wound healing
  • neurotransmitter production (think dopamine and serotonin, which are important for mood, digestion, and sleep)
  • your immune system
  • iron absorption
  • healthy teeth

You can read more about the importance and benefits of vitamin C by clicking here.

It is a good source of hydrochloric acid (HCl), beneficial for digestion
When my son had raw beets (even if blended in a smoothie) or beet juice, it would color his poop red. Sometimes his pee would even have a light pink tint! These are tell-tale signs of low stomach acid, which can signify poor digestion and absorption. Fermented beets aid digestion so you can assimilate nutrients properly. You won’t have to worry about things coming out the same way they went in.

It is lower in sugar than beet juice
In addition to preserving the shelf life of foods, fermentation also breaks food down, making them lower in sugar and easier to digest. Many people who need gut healing find that they have a low tolerance for sweet things, even natural fruits and vegetables.

Beets are one of the vegetables that can cause issues for someone struggling with low sugar tolerance and/or candida overgrowth. Fermenting beets solved this problem for us, and can probably help you too if that’s a struggle for you.

Cup of Beet Kvass
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Beet Kvass Recipe

This recipe is for a 2L jar of beet kvass. If using a larger jar, still fill the jar 1/3 of the way with beets and make the appropriate amount of brine (approx 4 cups water and 20g salt per additional liter/quart).
Course: Beverage, Ferment
Keyword: Beet Kvass
Servings: 14 servings
Author: nourishingtime.com

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beets (peeled)
  • 7 cups brine (approximately)

Brine (5g salt per cup of water)

  • 35 grams salt
  • 7 cups water

Instructions

  • Peel your beets and fill the jar 1/3 full
  • In a pitcher, make your brine
  • Fill the fermenting jar to the shoulder with brine (leave about 1-1.5 inches of space, and make more brine if necessary)
  • Close the jar and allow to ferment for 2 weeks at room temperature
  • Swirl the jar daily to discourage yeast formation on top of your kvass
  • Leave in the fridge to ferment further for 2 weeks
  • Strain out beets and bottle in swing-top jars
  • Discard beets or shred into salads. Do not re-use for another batch of kvass. They are mostly devoid of nutrients, but can provide fiber, flavor and some probiotics in salads/smoothies.
Beet Kvass Tips  and Tricks

Tips & Tricks for Successful Beet Kvass Fermentation

Use the freshest beets you can find

Fermentation is widely used to preserve a harvest, this starts with fresh foods. It should not be an afterthought to make use of veggies that are beginning to spoil. Fresh beets should be hard to the touch. If the skin is beginning to soften, it is not the best idea to make your beet kvass with it.

Peel the skin off your beets

Most people say to leave the skin on for fermentation, but I find that this greatly affects the chances of having a successful ferment, and can also affect flavor. I am not one to skim off mold or kahm yeast, so I like my ferments to turn out well because otherwise they get tossed. The appropriate bacteria is available all throughout the vegetable, so you do not need the skin.

Use an airlock

Airlocks on a truly anaerobic vessel locks out oxygen, which is unwanted during fermentation. Oxygen increases your chances of toxic yeasts and molds growing on your ferment. An airlock also allows the gases that form during fermentation to escape without having to “burp” a jar, which allows oxygen to flood into the ferment. CO2 build-up can be blamed for jars exploding during fermentatiion, so allowing it to escape as it is formed is very beneficial. You can read more about why I ferment anaerobically here.

Wash your jar directly before fermenting

Yes, even if you’re sure your jar is clean.

Most people have their jars already clean and dry and just pick them up and go straight to the fermenting step. This is generally OK. I’m not saying we need to fear the wild bacteria and yeasts, however when we are fermenting we want to nurture specific strains. And those strains are particular to the foods that we are fermenting.

I have found that for some ferments, washing the jar directly before use greatly decreases the possibility of having negative results, like kahm yeast for example. Beet kvass is definitely one of those ferments, and I like to take every precaution I can to ensure successful results. In fact, since I started doing these things I’m sharing, I’ve never had a batch of beet kvass go bad!

You can wash the jar, rinse very well, and use wet (do a final rinse with filtered water if you are concerned about tap water residue, which I personally don’t worry about).

Swirl your jar daily (or even more, if you remember to)

Beet kvass is what I call a “finicky” ferment. It is one of the easiest to make, yet one of the ferments people complain about having bad results with most often. Since I started swirling my jar of beet kvass daily, I have not had a batch go bad. Friends that I’ve told to do this trick have also had great results (and some of them do not even use an airlock!). If I happen to walk past the jar of beet kvass more often during the day, I’ll swirl it more often. It won’t harm your ferment!

I believe this works because it distributes the lactic-acid bacteria growing throughout the jar to quickly kill any yeast/mold trying to grow on the surface of the ferment.

Do not re-use the spent beets to make more batches

I can understand wanting to be thrifty and eliminating food waste. However, once you’ve fermented the beets to make beet kvass, they are very low in nutrients. I would not use them for future ferments despite popular opinion. The sugars and nutrients in fresh beets provide fuel for proper fermentation. Using the spent beet chunks in salads, smoothies, or to bulk up gravies, etc. would be a better idea. Use the freshest beets you can find each time you are making a new batch of beet kvass.

Do start a new batch once you’ve used up half of your beet kvass

This is a great fermented beverage to keep on hand at all times. Since it takes several weeks to be ready, I like to start a new batch once I’m about half way through the current batch. That way, as soon as I’m done with the current batch, the new batch is just about ready.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does beet kvass last in the fridge?

Once fermentation is complete, beet kvass will stay good for a long time. We generally use ours up within a month or two, and keep making new batches on rotation so we have more ready as soon as the current batch is done.

Can I use a starter or use some of the beet kvass from a previous batch?

A starter culture is not necessary when making beet kvass. If you choose to use one, it should be a veggie starter culture instead of brine from an already completed ferment. For that reason, I do not use a previous batch to start the current batch of beet kvass. It can help deter spoilage, but it is also “cheating” in a sense and doesn’t allow the ferment to develop through all its stages properly.

I have SIBO, ulcerative colitis, Chron’s, irritable bowel disease, etc. Should I drink beet kvass?

Yes, definitely! Fermented beverages are very easy on the digestive system and don’t require much “work” on your body’s part due to low fiber content. Additionally, beet kvass is full of important vitamins and minerals you might be deficient in. It is easy to digest and has enzymes and probiotics to help fight harmful bacteria and yeasts that contribute to your digestive issues. Beet kvass also contains an abundance of antioxidants that help support your immune system.

How much beet kvass should I drink?

That will greatly depend on what other fermented foods you are having. Consuming 4oz once or twice a day is a great goal. We prefer to drink right before bed, and sometimes upon waking or 10-15 mins before dinner. There have been times we crave more and drink a whole glass, but for the most part we try to include a variety of fermented foods and beverages throughout the day.

There’s white stuff on top of my beet kvass. Can I skim it off and drink it?

I do not personally believe it is safe to skim mold off of a ferment and go on to consume it. Mold travels throughout, even if you cannot see it. Mold also creates toxins. It may be kahm if it is thin with bubbly patches. Mold generally results in thicker patches that look furry. Either way it will affect the taste of your ferment, and mold definitely affects the health. In cases of mold, I would definitely toss. I also toss if kahm yeast forms but kahm is generally thought to be safe and many choose to skim it off and consume as normal.

My beet kvass turned brown, is it OK?

This generally means that it has been exposed to too much oxygen and an oxidation reaction is occurring. This is not ideal and nutrients are lost during the process.

What do you think about beet kvass? Do you love it or hate it and why?

Coconut Water Kefir: Probiotic Electrolyte Drink

Coconut water kefir is a healthy, refreshing, probiotic electrolyte fizzy drink, when made properly. It is a potent digestive aid that can help fight candida and curb sugar cravings.

It all starts with the coconuts.

When making coconut water kefir, you will want to get healthy, fresh, young green coconuts for best results. If you cannot source fresh young green coconuts, you can use coconut water that has been frozen instead of processed. I personally have not found any processed coconut water that I like to make coconut water kefir with.

Why use fresh coconut water?

One of the reasons I love using fresh coconut water is the freshness and taste. Most packaged coconut water brands do not taste like real coconut water. They also sometimes have off-smells, a hint of moldy taste or weird coloring (yellow, too cloudy, pink)….

I grew up in Jamaica getting coconuts straight from the tree, so it’s hard for me to get used to coconut water that doesn’t taste absolutely delicious. Big companies cannot take the time to check and taste each individual coconut they open, and this can lead to inconsistencies in quality of the final product.

Young Green Coconut

Another reason to use fresh coconuts if possible is that you will have more control over cleanliness. Raw packaged juices, including coconut water, have unfortunately been contaminated with food-borne pathogens such as salmonella in the past.

Once you chop open the coconut and pour out the water, it should be translucent. It should almost be as clear as water. Strain to remove any pieces of coconut shell, then follow the recipe instructions below. Click here to skip to the recipe, or continue reading for all the wonderful benefits of coconut water, and the potential implications for fermented coconut water.

How do I know if my coconut water is good quality?

Your coconut water doesn’t have to be organic, but sustainably-grown is preferable. If you are extracting the liquid from a fresh young green coconut, it should be mostly clear, and should have a pleasant smell and taste, like sweetened water.

Fresh coconut water generally does not have an overwhelming coconut taste like coconut milk does. The degree of sweetness will vary from coconut to coconut. As the coconut matures it will develop a richer, more coconutty taste and the water will get more cloudy.

It should not have any off-colors or hints of moldy taste or smell. If you detect mold, it is best to discard. Choose local coconuts if you can source them.

What are the benefits of coconut water?

  • It is very hydrating and readily accepted by most people (including picky children!) despite being low-sugar and low-calorie. Multiple studies support the use of young coconut water for rehydration:
    • during bouts of cholera/severe gastroenteritis (see here)
    • for the whole body after exercise (see here & here)
      • Also note the first study found intestinal discomfort in participants using packaged coconut water and the second study found that fresh coconut water was the most tolerable liquid, and people were able to drink more.
  • Potassium, chloride, and glucose are key nutrients in coconut water, making it useful for promoting hydration. There’s 1456 mg of potassium per liter of coconut water, which is 31% of the recommended daily allowance. The equivalent portion of pedialyte contains 2040mg of potassium, for reference.
  • It is a natural laxative, but low in sucrose so does not promote diarrhea.
  • This study found that young coconut water is a potent anti-inflammatory aid, and mature coconut water is a moderate aid. The study measures the anti-inflammatory effects of young coconut water, mature coconut water, and ibuprofen on rats to reduce edema. The young coconut water performed better than ibuprofen!
  • Coconut can decrease blood pressure significantly. This study demonstrated that drinking 2L of coconut water per day, without altering regular diet in any other way, decreases blood pressure. 71% of study participants had a significant decrease in mean systolic blood pressure and 29% had a mean decrease in diastolic blood pressure. This is promising for those who suffer from hypertension!
  • Coconut water may be a great aid against calcium oxalate and kidney stone formation. In this study by the UC Irvine Department of Urology, coconut water consumption increased urinary citrate excretion significantly, moreso than grapefruit juice, lemon juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and lemonade. The renal tubule reabsorbs much of the citrate in the latter beverages. This is not the case with coconut water. The high alkali content of coconut water means it is potentially the best beverage choice for those suffering from hypocitraturia (low urinary citrate excretion) and may help decrease urinary stone risk.
  • Contains cytokinins, which are beneficial for fighting aging, cancer and blood clots

What are the benefits of fermented coconut water?

  • Fermentation reduces sugar content and improves nutrient profiles
  • Lactic-acid fermentation adds beneficial bacteria and yeasts to the beverage. It adds probiotic strains L. casei and L. brevis and many others, which have been shown to inhibit growth of harmful bacteria (source) and improve digestion
  • Lacto-fermented coconut water helps with digestive issues, including upset tummies, diarrhea and constipation
  • It boosts the immune system and aids in cleansing your liver (so does this smoothie recipe)
  • It is dairy-free so a great way for those with dairy intolerance or allergies to consume kefir without the residual cane sugar from regular water kefir.
  • Coconut water kefir fights candida overgrowth and helps stop sugar cravings
  • Fermenting coconut water increases vitamin B12, calcium, and sodium levels, and retains levels of micro-nutrients (source)
    • Vitamin B12 is mostly obtained from animal products, and fermented coconut water kefir may be a good source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians and vegans.

It is easy to make your own coconut water kefir. It is less expensive, and tastes way better than store-bought. Homemade coconut water kefir also doesn’t require the use of additional additives such as sugar, grains, and beans.

How do I source water kefir grains and fresh young green coconuts?

Get your coconut water kefir grains here. They will come hydrated and ready to go. Even so, I recommend making 1 or 2 batches of regular water kefir first to ensure that your grains are in tip top shape. You want to take every measure possible to ensure your batch of coconut water kefir is successful, especially if you find coconut water expensive and/or hard to source.

You can often find green coconuts at Caribbean stores, Asian markets, farmers markets, and even Whole Foods. The green part of the shell may be shaved off and some stores wrap with plastic. Azure Standard is another source for fresh coconuts.

Many Jamaican restaurants sell fresh or frozen coconut water that has not been processed. You can purchase raw, unpasteurized coconut water online here (frozen), or here (in the summer months).

I have also read reviews that this coconut water, available on Amazon and at certain health food stores, tastes like real coconut water. I have not tried it myself, though.

Here’s the recipe, followed by some frequently asked questions.

Coco Water Kefir
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Coconut Water Kefir Recipe

An easy recipe to make recipe for homemade fermented coconut water kefir using water kefir grains. Fermented coconut water is great for electrolytes and probiotics.
Prep Time5 hrs
Ferment Up To1 d
Course: Beverage
Keyword: Kefir
Servings: 4 people
Author: nourishingtime.com

Ingredients

  • 1 quart fresh coconut water (or frozen)
  • 2-4 tbsp water kefir grains (active)

Instructions

  • Wash and rinse a 1 quart jar very well.
  • Add water kefir grains.
  • Add coconut water to shoulder of jar.
  • Close jar.
  • Allow to ferment until water is cloudy instead of translucent. When you move the bottle you should see bubbles within. This will generally take 16-24 hours.
  • Strain and bottle.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy cold.

Notes

How many tablespoons of water kefir grains should I use? That will depend on your grains and your home’s temperature. Use the amount that you would usually use for creating sugar water kefir. I use 2 tbsp per quart and my coconut water kefir is ready in 12 hours. My home temperature is usually 75-78 degree range (F). In a colder home, 4tbsp may work better. Ideally you want your coconut water to be ready by the 24 hour mark.
Bottling: You can bottle in 4 8oz swing-top jars (which I LOVE as they create the best fizz!) or mason jars (4 cup-sized jars 2 pint-sized jars).
Once in the fridge: Coconut water kefir will continue fermenting. It is best to consume within 2 weeks for best flavor and lowest alcohol content.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can I use coconut water instead of pedialyte?

The three main ingredients in pedialyte are potassium, chloride and sugar. It is highly recommended as a re-hydration agent for “mild to moderate dehydration.” If your child is experiencing more severe dehydration, it may be time to see a doctor. Pedialyte provides electrolytes, but does not help fight the bad bugs.

Using coconut water preemptively works wonders. However, it is not a 1:1 replacement for the minerals found in pedialyte. Coconut water has good potassium content, but only contains about 300mg of sodium chloride per liter. To match pedialyte’s contents, it would take the addition of approximately 1/4 tsp of salt.

Coconut water has an appropriate amount of sugar. Per 100L, coconut water contains around 2.7g glucose and 2.4g fructose, compared to 2.5g dextrose (glucose) in pedialyte. Additionally, it does not contain large amounts of sucrose, which can worsen diarrhea. (source)

That being said, I personally do not use pedialyte. Even if I wanted to (which I don’t!), the additives would make my son sicker. I try to prevent a risk of dehydration first, through the use of salted broth (made with kombu) and a variety of specific fermented beverages that help fight the disease as well.

Can I do a second ferment or add juice?

Yes, you can do a second ferment. Just use approximately 7oz coconut water kefir with 1 oz juice of your choice (I like pomegranate, pineapple, and cherry). You can do the second ferment in the fridge (leave for an additional day) or leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours. You can also add a splash of juice for flavor right before serving.

Does it have to be fizzy?

It will naturally become fizzy as the yeasts and bacteria eat the sugars and create carbon dioxide, but you can shorten the ferment or mix with water/more unfermented coconut water for a less fizzy product, while still benefiting from the probiotics.

Do I have to close the jar? I’m used to making kefir with an open jar.

I use a closed jar (with an airlock) for all my ferments. This includes water kefir, milk kefir, and sourdough. When any kefir is made aerobically, there are unwanted wild yeasts and bacteria introduced into the culture that lead to off flavors and sometimes textures as well. It also encourages the growth of kahm yeast, mold and excess histamine. My son is deathly allergic to ingesting mold so I do not take any chances there, at all. In addition, although kahm is considered “safe for consumption,” I do not like the look, taste or texture it imparts and dump anything that gets kahm.

I ferment anaerobically as I like my ferments to be pure, taste great, and have vibrant color.

My favorite fermentation vessel is the Pickl-It. I’ve used several others and always come back to this one. I’ve been fermenting for 8 years now and after millions of batches of ferments my love is unconditional. Buy small jars or call and order lids only to save money.

You can get the Fido jars inexpensively at places like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall’s, and Sur La Table. I have a huge collection of 1/2L-5L jars I’ve collected from these stores. Pickl-It does not have an affiliate program that I’m aware of, and anything you purchase from them does not benefit me financially. I just truly love their products (and the creator, Kathleen, was sent from Heaven!).

How long can coconut water kefir be stored, once ready?

You can store your coconut water kefir for about 2 weeks in the fridge. You can also freeze in ice cube trays then store in a freezer ziploc bag or freezer-safe glass jar for longer storage. The probiotics will wake up once defrosted.

Can I ferment coconut water with water kefir grains continuously?

I have not fermented more than 2 batches of coconut water kefir in a row. It is lower in sugars than cane sugar, so in-between I make regular batches of water kefir and add a little bit of molasses to ensure the grains stay in tip-top shape. If you have extra grains, then you can try and see how it goes. I like to keep extra grains frozen just in case I kill my water kefir grains somehow (which I’ve done more than once).

Can I make coconut water kefir with prepared water kefir?

Yes, you can use already prepared water kefir to ferment your coconut water kefir in lieu of using water kefir grains. Use 2oz water kefir per 6oz coconut water for your second ferment.

Can I use milk kefir grains to make coconut water kefir?

I have used milk kefir grains to make coconut milk kefir. I have not used it to make coconut water kefir. If you have extra milk kefir grains and don’t mind risking a failed experiment, it wouldn’t hurt to try. My personal thought process is that water kefir grains are more likely to make a fizzy product.

Can I use probiotic capsules to ferment coconut water?

You probably can, but I wouldn’t. Kefir grains have the test of time on their side and contain probiotic strains that do a pretty good of inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and yeasts. I prefer to stick with them. If you do not have water kefir grains yet, you can buy great grains from Florida Sun Kefir on Amazon.

Once you have your grains, they last forever with proper treatment (mostly feeding them sugar regularly). Your grains will also grow and you can share them with your friend and freeze some as a back-up. I much prefer freezing extra grains to dehydrating them, as they come back to life easier and quicker.

Can I drink fermented coconut water if I am diabetic?

This is a decision you will have to make on your own or with your doctor.

There are preliminary studies such as this one that show mature coconut water may be beneficial for treatment of diabetes and hyperglycemia by reducing blood glucose levels. You can use mature coconut water for this recipe, just be careful that it is very fresh. The older the coconut gets, the more prone it is to mold.

In addition, fermentation reduces the sugar content in the coconut water. My maternal grandma is a Type II Diabetic and has had great results switching to fermented foods, including fermented coconut water and homemade yogurt. While consuming these things, as well as eating a more healthful diet, her daily blood sugar level test results have improved significantly.

Do you have a question I didn’t cover or a tip for making delicious naturally fermented coconut water kefir? If so, please do leave a comment below!