I have had milk kefir grains for some time now, the kids love it, I like it but find it a bit too sour to drink by itself, and Tracey dislikes the taste of it. Kefir is good for you so I wanted to try water kefir. Perhaps that would be a way for the kids to get more of the kefir goodness into their diet.
Recently we obtained some water kefir grains. Water kefir is different from milk kefir, it is still very good for you though. The younger kids do not like water kefir all that much (mostly because it is a bit bubbly), Igloo loves it, I love it and Tracey thinks it is ok.
Both types of kefir contain live and beneficial probiotics. Basically they consist of "good" bacteria, yeasts and other microbes. These good microbes are eaten by you and some will colonise in your digestive tract and continue to provide you with benefits long after you have finished consuming the kefir. There are many recipes for water kefir on the internet but we have been mostly following the one that came with the grains.
Yacon contains inulin and other sugars which are not digestible by humans. Yacon is considered a prebiotic, this means that it contains things that feed the good bacteria etc in your digestive system which help to keep you healthy. Yacon tubers also taste great, it is a vegetable that is eaten like a fruit and is loved by kids. Yacon is my favourite vegetable.
Kefir & Yacon?
If water kefir contains probiotics, and yacon contains prebiotics which feed the probiotics, then it made me wonder if I could culture water kefir on yacon and leave out all of the other things. After internet searching I found many people who claimed water kefir flourished when using yacon syrup instead of sugar. Some people culture water kefir only on water and sugar, many of these people were the ones saying that the yacon syrup was great.
The only problem is that I do not have access to yacon syrup, I grow yacon plants and have access to the delicious yacon roots. I do not know how to make the syrup and I do not intend to find out, I certainly have no intention of ever buying yacon syrup! Nowhere on the internet seems to mention anything about yacon root (which I grow) being used in water kefir. There is no one saying that they have tried this and failed or succeeded, someone needs to try this and let people know if it works or not. That is why I am writing this post.
|Yacon kefir - all the bubbles are gone because I carried the jar outside to take a picture|
This is almost certainly not the best way to do this, but it is my first attempt so I will write what I did, and what I think should be done differently to make it better. At some point in the future I may write another post and say what I changed and how it worked (or did not work).
Yacon Water Kefir
1 small peeled yacon root (about the size of my thumb, perhaps a bit larger)
1 small peeled and grated yacon root (similar size to above)
1/2 cup water kefir grains
4 cups water
1) add water kefir grains and water to a jar
2) squeeze the liquid out of the grated yacon root. I put a strainer above the jar and squeezed above this so that the liquid would go in but not the solids. Discard the squeezed and grated yacon
3) add the peeled yacon to the jar of liquid
4) wait 2 days for the kefir to do its thing. I do not put a lid on the jar but you need some way to prevent insects and dust from entering
5) remove the yacon root, remove the kefir grains, drink the liquid. Pretty simple
Even before the 2 days were up I noticed a few things. Firstly, grated yacon is delicious! I think it would go well in a salad being grated like this. Secondly the kefir was bubbling a bit, this tends to indicate that the grains are working well. If the jar had a lid we may have had issues with the pressure.
What does it taste like, Would I do this again
It tastes alright, but nothing to write home about. It is similar to how water kefir tastes when it is made on sugar rather than adding any kind of fruit. The water tastes like it is bubbling, even when it is not, other than that it does not have a strong taste. I could barely taste the yacon, if I did not know that yacon was in there I would not have guessed it. Kind of like soda water.
I don't think I will do this again, or if I do I will change things around and perhaps add some limes. I love how water kefir normally turns out and found this yacon kefir to be less than exciting. I also prefer to eat yacon normally rather than to eat it after it has been kefired. The water kefir grains did not multiply as much as I had hoped. They did multiply a bit, and the grains had been in the refrigerator for a week which generally means that they wont multiply a lot, but I had high hopes. The water kefir grains have been multiplying slowly lately and I had hoped that the natural sugars in yacon would fix this, apparently we just have to wait for the weather to change.
Interestingly enough, the peeled yacon root also tasted like it was bubbling after it is removed from the completed kefir. The kids thought that eating the yacon was fun as it did not taste much like yacon, it tasted like it was bubbling.
I also found it interesting that yacon normally discolours reasonably quickly after it has been peeled, but even after two days in the kefir the peeled yacon root looked much the same as when I put it in the jar.
What I would do differently
Yacon kefir tastes ok, but not great. Adding some kind of fruit or berries or something may have made it much nicer. Adding some sort of juice or something to the finished yacon kefir certainly makes it taste great. I don't know, I may try a few different things and then write a post about them.
Where to get yacon and kefir grains
I sell yacon crowns on my for sale page over winter. I may offer water kefir grains and milk kefir grains for sale, if I do they will be listed on the for sale page too. Kefir grains sometimes reproduce slowly, other times quite fast, so you may need to contact me to see if they are available. I also sell a few other organic perennial vegetables and some organic heirloom vegetable seeds.