If you've been with me a while, you know Sr. Chief and I have a fondness for tibicos, which is synonymous with water kefir or probiotic soda. Only, it's not really soda.
But it is probiotic. It is fizzy. It does powerfully detox. And it does taste delicious. But until a few days ago, I didn't realize that if made with the right juice, it can even act as an aphrodisiac. I tell more about that HERE.
Incidentally, another reader recently informed me that she saw 'fermented water kefir' sold at a health food store for $16.00...for an 8 oz. bottle! But obviously many know it's value because they're paying for it. So, you can opt to make this the 'regular' way and save a bundle, or you can opt to make the 'Coconut Joy Juice' version, which will cost a little more, but still save scads over store-bought. The added bonus is that your home version will retain much more nutrient-density than that found in the store. And that is what we're about here after all, isn't it?
***Because this is a very special brew, it is made just a touch differently, using aphrodisiac coconut water instead of water for the first brew.***
Please understand that as with any other recipe, others may make tibicos differently, but this is the way that has succeeded for me when some of the others did not.
For 1st Ferment:
1 Wide-mouthed Half-Gal. Canning jar w/rubber seal lid (Don't use plastic lid.)
4 Tbs. tibicos grains
4 Tbs. Muscavado Sugar (Some use other sugars but this is THE one that never fails me, I'm told it's due to its high mineral content. You may want to give other unprocessed sugars a try...like coconut or maple. I have used molasses -unsulphured blackstrap- very successfully as well. Some say not to use honey because its antibacterial properties kill the good bacteria in the tibicos. Others say it's okay. I haven't tried it because I'm happy with the results I have and don't want to run the risk of destroying a batch of this excellent beverage.)
4 Cups filtered water w/out chlorine. Well water is okay and maybe even preferable as it contains minerals. **FOR 'COCONUT JOY JUICE', USE COCONUT WATER HERE INSTEAD!!**
2 swing top bottles like the one pictured.
Mix all 1st Ferment ingredients together in the jar, stir w/rubber or plastic spoon/spatula. Lid tightly. Place out of sun in a warm locale...In the winter, I use a heater vent. In the summer, I use the back deck in the shade. The oven with the light on is very good. Some who keep their homes warmer than I in winter find a high spot will do the job nicely.
Taste before tucking away, then...
Check EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
What you want: A beverage that is a tad fizzy and tastes less sweet than the 'before' taste...It will take between 1 and 4 days. The longer the ferment, the lower the sugar content. Some like it more as it sours...(not I.)
Scientific Principle: Tibicos 'grains' are not truly a grain at all, but are thusly named due to their appearance. Tibicos is actually a type of SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). [That's GOOD bacteria and GOOD yeast, mind you!] That means it's alive...healthy probiotic matter that EATS SUGAR and CONVERTS it into a detoxifying food that is good for us! So don't be too put off by the sugar included in the recipe...it's a necessity that will keep your precious tibis alive, growing, reproducing and slaving away at making the nutrient density of your food skyrocket. In fact, kefir and tibicos may have as much as 9 times the probiotic power of yogurt!
You can drink the tibicos after the first ferment, but a second ferment will give it the best flavor. It also nets a greater yield of the final, yummy product.
Bottling it after either stage will promote more fizz.
Bottling it after either stage will promote more fizz.
For 2nd Ferment:
Another wide-mouthed half-gallon jar
Plastic funnel-Preferably wide-mouthed to fit steadily in the half-gallon jar.
Plastic or Stainless Steel Strainer-small enough to fit in the funnel (regular metals don't do well w/ferments)
4 Cups Organic Juice -(Juices with a very high sugar content, like pineapple, will process faster and fizz MUCH more than others, so be careful about using it. I have lost nearly whole bottles to fizzing foam upon opening, so now, if I choose to use it -I usually do not- I do not bottle it, but leave the finished product in the lidded canning jar.)
To finish: Place funnel in the fresh canning jar. Place strainer in funnel. Pour liquid from fermentation jar into fresh jar. The strainer will catch most of the tibicos. Remove the strainer and funnel, reserving the grains as instructed below.
To the strained beverage, add the 4 Cups juice. Because today I am making a 'love potion', I have spared no expense and use creamy organic coconut juice for this step. But for everyday tibicos, organic apple or grape juice are excellent choices.
Put this jar back in the warm, dark spot where you got the first brew going.
Depending on the sugar content of the juice and the temp. of the environment, the time needed for this brew will vary. Watch EVERY DAY, just as before. You want to taste it for fizz and sweetness. If it's close, but not quite there, taste in another 12 hours rather than waiting an entire day. ('There', by the way, is whatever taste suits you. Some prefer to start off sweeter and work towards less sweetness in later batches.)
Most likely, this ferment won't take more than 2 days max, but I have had some very cold winter weeks when it took longer. If you opt for the consistency of the oven with the light on, do be sure to remove the jar before turning the oven on. For me, this would require my creating a sign and posting it at the oven knob! Still, it could give you a more definite time of about a day for each ferment.
Storing Tibicos: Save the tibicos 'grains' in another pint or quart jar by covering the grains with water and adding a teaspoon of the same sugar used for the ferment. Or you can start a new ferment using it. Before long, you will find you have more than the 4 Tbs. needed for making a single batch. You can make more, give extras to friends and teach them to make their own tibicos, or throw the grains in the garden compost, the chickens or even the wild birds. The soil will thank you for whatever they leave behind.
You may wonder about this second ferment and the sugar residing in the juice. It would make sense to think that because the grains have been removed, there's nothing there to consume and convert that sugar. But now that the tibicos has touched its 'magic' to your beverage, the 'magic' remains, microscopically continuing to eat and convert, eat and convert.
There can be a problem with this, however. Taste and alcohol content. Yes, alcohol is a small by-product of the process, with scientific recordings of .38% to as much as 2%, with most tibicos measuring in at less than a half percent. The taste will tell you because it will be more 'sour' and you probably won't want it. (But it won't hurt you if you drink it anyway.)
The best ways to avoid dealing with the issue altogether is to: not over-brew, not wait too long after final brew to actually drink it, (even kept in the fridge, it will slowly continue to culture), not brew it too fast in a too highly heated area. Finally, when it's all said and done, DO keep it in the fridge to keep further fermentation to a minimum.
There will be a bit of natural 'sludge' at the bottom of the jar. It is not harmful, but you probably won't want to drink it. We just stop pouring when we get to that part.
|...Now just where did that cute|
little couple go?
If you read my LAST POST, you know why I'm giving you this info using the natural aphrodisiac, coconut water. It's about the marriage bed. And that's all I'm sayin' 'bout that.
Whether you choose to use the 'Love Potion' version of tibicos or the 'Everyday' version, it is my sincere hope that you fall as completely in love with this healthy alternative to conventional soda as we have.