Milk kefir is becoming a common sight on grocery store shelves and a popular probiotic drink. However, those with a strong intolerance to dairy may have to forego milk kefir. The good news is there are reduced dairy and dairy-free kefir options.
Water kefir is a completely dairy-free kefir product. It is a delightful beverage that can be flavored and carbonated. It is a great fermented alternative to soda pop.
Making water kefir is very similar to making dairy kefir, but instead of culturing milk, water kefir grains culture sugar water or fruit juice. Finished water kefir is quite versatile because It can be flavored in a variety of ways.
Coconut Milk Kefir
Coconut milk kefir, a popular alternative to dairy milk kefir, is a tangy coconut-flavored cultured milk. It can be cultured with very little or no dairy exposure.
Coconut milk kefir can be cultured using milk kefir grains, kefir starter culture, or finished water kefir that has been cultured using water kefir grains.
NOTE: If culturing coconut milk using milk kefir grains, it is important that you return them to dairy milk periodically, in order to revitalize them and keep the kefir grains healthy.
Coconut Water Kefir
Coconut water is popular as a natural electrolyte drink. Coconut water kefir is a delicious cultured option for those who wish to avoid all traces of dairy but still want a probiotic drink.
Fresh coconut water from young coconuts or pasteurized coconut water found in health food stores can be cultured.
There are two culture options for making coconut water kefir: water kefir grains or kefir starter culture. Using water kefir grains would ensure that there is no trace of dairy as there may be when using milk kefir grains or kefir culture starter.
NOTE: If using water kefir grains, it is important that the grains are activated using sugar water. Once the grains are making good water kefir, they are ready to use with coconut water. Alternate batches of coconut water and sugar water, in order to keep the water kefir grains healthy.