Tibicos, also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature asbébées, African bees, ale nuts, Australian bees, balm of Gilead, beer seeds, beer plant, bees, ginger beer plant, ginger bees, Japanese beer seeds and vinegar bees, are a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharidebiofilm matrix created by the bacteria… The microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol, and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink. (Wikipedia).
I’ve been experimenting making water kefir for the last few months. It’s such an easy way to consume probiotics, and as well as that, I like the taste. It’s a nice refreshing drink that you can flavour anyway you like. Here’s what I do:
In a clean glass jar add:
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/4 teaspoon molasses
- 1 rounded tablespoon white sugar
- 1 organic dry fig (or any dried fruit)
- slice of unwaxed lemon
- pinch of bicarb soda
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of water kefir crystals
Next, cover the jar with a clean hanky and rubber band, then cover the whole jar with a tea towel to keep the light out.
Leave it for about 48 hours before straining the crystals out of the liquid.
I’ll usually add a bit of fruit juice, some chopped ginger and sugar, some vanilla extract or some frozen berries to the liquid before I bottle it. Then leave the bottle out on the bench to ferment a second time before refrigerating before drinking.
I reuse the water kefir crystals again and again, which gives me a never-ending supply of bubbly, tangy, sweet beverages.