Coconut Kefir

I’ve been posting about the benefits of probiotic food.  I’m a strong believer in doing what we can to support healthy digestive flora.  It is a major foundational element to good health and disease prevention.

Thanks to mainstream marketing, many people think that yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that can support healthy digestive flora, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  In North America, yogurt has become a highly processed food, many of which are very high in sugar and other synthetic flavouring agents.  In the end, yogurt is pasteurized.  The high heat of pasteurization kills off much of the beneficial bacteria.

Yogurt was a fermented food.  In some parts of Europe, it is still served this way.  Unpasteurized and in it’s natural state.  However this not the case with with store bought yogurt.

So… back to fermented food.  I’ve posted about Kim Chi… and now I move on to a probiotic drink that can be made at home.

Coconut Kefir is really a name for fermented coconut water.  It is a probiotic drink that is dairy free.  I tried making it and it was really good.  In the morning, it can be used in adrenal tonic by combining 4 oz. of coconut kefir and 1 oz. 100% pure cranberry juice (the real stuff with no sugar added to it and where the only ingredient is cranberries).

Here’s how it’s made…

First thing needed… 3 Young Baby Coconuts.  These coconuts I found at Zehrs!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I am more and more impressed at what is available at the grocery stores these days.  I usually go to an Asian grocery store in St. Catharines called Dinh-Dinh to find coconuts.

Young Coconuts have a white outer shell.  These are not the coconuts that are brown on the outside.  Also… please note (!)… Coconut water in the tetra packs that are now popping up everywhere will not work in this recipe.  Unfortunately what is in the tetra packs are a completely different thing due to processing than what would be found in a real young coconut.

So… We have to open this coconut!  This next part may look intensive, but it really isn’t.  I’ve found, like any recipe, that it gets quicker and easier to prepare this drink every time I make it.  

For those who want a visual demo… see the video at the end of this post.

I use a sturdy sharp knife that is riveted.  I also keep handy a sturdy butter knife and tablespoon for later use.

I use the knife to shave off the white cap around the top of the coconut.  This reveals the brown shell of the coconut that is underneath it.

Then… the muscle work… I place the coconut in a secure spot on a cutting board.

I need to crack open the brown shell.  This is done with a few good whacks to the shell with my knife.  I come down and strike the shell with the knife at a 45 degree angle to the shell.

Note!  Make sure if you are striking the coconut with your right hand that your left hand is out of the way!  Like… tuck it behind your back!  I’m serious.  I say this so everyone knows that I do not hold the coconut with my left hand while doing this.  That would likely end up badly… especially for someone like me who tends to be clumsy!  Sorry… I couldn’t resist putting this disclaimer down! 🙂

The knife will weaken the shell and I start to see some water seep out or a little opening.

This is where I take my butter knife to move the softened pieces of shell out of the way and make a little opening.

Then I take my spoon and slide it into the little opening and press up.  This will naturally pop the top of the coconut open in a circular way.  It’s pretty neat!

The round opening makes it easy to neatly pour out the coconut water.  I often pour it into a large bowl because I tend to be a bit clumsy and I don’t want to lose any of the coconut water.  Then I transfer it to a pitcher.

Three young coconuts should yield 1 L of coconut water.  The coconut water often looks a bit pinkish.

I then scoop out the coconut meat.  From young coconuts, the meat is very soft.  I use this to make a dairy free yogurt.  Stay tuned as that will be my post for next Monday!

Making the Coconut Kefir

At the health food store, I picked up a traditional Kefir starter kit.  Kefir is usually made from dairy milk, which becomes a fermented milk drink.  The starter for Kefir is healthy bacteria and yeast that ferment the agent they are added to.  I keep the starter in the fridge to preserve the healthy microorganisms in the kit.

One packet of starter from the kit (5 grams of powder) is used in 1 L of coconut water.

First, the coconut water is brought to a boil then immediately taken off the heat and left to cool.  Once the coconut water is warm, and no longer really hot, I add a little bit of it to a cup, stir in the powder kefir starter, then dump that mixture back into the rest of the coconut water.  I give it a good stir.

Then I take glass jars that I’ve thoroughly washed in hot soapy water, and pour the coconut water into them and set them on my counter top.

The Fermentation Process

The coconut water is left on the countertop for 36 hours to allow it to ferment.  Fermentation allows the healthy mico-organisms to proliferate in the drink.

After 36 hours is up, the drink is stored in the refrigerator.

Coconut water from a real ripe coconut is sweet.  Once the drink is made, most of the sugar in the coconut water is used up by the micro-organisms in the fermentation process, however it is still slightly sweet and somewhat tangy.

This is an incredibly healthy DAIRY FREE drink, and it’s unlike any drink that can be bought at the grocery store. I’m really enjoying having at the start of my day and I know it’s helping to boost my immune system, keep my digestion strong and ward off illness.

Check in next week to find out how I make a simple and easy, DAIRY FREE, probiotic yogurt from the coconut meat.

Note:  Elaina Love recommends using a clever to open the coconut, but I’ve found using my riveted sharp chopping knife worked for me.

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