Spring is one of my favorite times of the year! Everything is in bloom, the weather is warming up, the days are longer and winter is finally over. Spring is the season of renewal and the best time to start eating foods which are lighter and more cleansing. One of my springtime rituals is to create new flavors of fermented foods to help cleanse, reboot and support my digestive health. I’ve been having so much fun fermenting a bunch of different vegetables, fruits, nut milks, seed milks and coconut water! I had to share my latest recipe for vanilla coconut water kefir with all of you because it’s so delicious and really simple to make!
I had gut issues in the past and I know just how bad they made me feel and I don’t want any of you to have to experience that pain if I can help you support your digestive wellness. Coconut water kefir is a fermented beverage that is rich in beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial for digestive and immune system health. Coconut water kefir is one of my favorite fermented beverages because it tastes so refreshing and light. This kefir is perfect for anyone who can’t enjoy milk kefirs. If you’re experiencing low energy, blood sugar issues, excess weight, sugar cravings, and digestive issues, coconut water kefir will help support your digestive system so your body can get healthy.
I also enjoy making both raw milk kefir and water kefir. I make nut and seed milks using pecan, walnut, brazil nuts, coconut meat, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds and use them as the base for making different types of kefir. When I took the Alcat test and found out I couldn’t have dairy for 6 months, I consumed a lot of coconut water and nut and seed milk kefirs and they really helped me feel so much better!
Vanilla coconut water kefir is easy to make especially if you have access to young Thai coconuts. These coconuts have a white outer shell. You can find these coconuts at Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts, and also many Asian Markets. If you can’t find young coconuts in your area, you can use high quality coconut water to make your kefir. This is the brand I use when I can’t find young coconuts in the store. Once you get your coconut water, you will ferment it with kefir bacteria cultures to create a bubbly, tangy drink that will help reboot your digestive system, cut sugar cravings, aid detoxification, support your endocrine system, and strengthen your immune system.
How to Open Young Coconuts
- Place one of your coconuts on a towel and turn on its side so that the pointed end faces your knife hand. Use the knife to saw the pointed top down until you see the light brown inner husk.
- Set the coconut up on its flat bottom and use the edge of the knife to poke an opening in the brown husk. Cut open a hole and pour water into a sterilized glass jar. Scoop out the white meat with the back of a large spoon and freeze meat in airtight containers to use in other recipes.
Here are two good videos to show you how to open a coconut. The first video uses a large butter knife to open the coconut. The second video uses a cleaver to open the coconut. See which method you prefer when you click on the video links.
My recipe today is an easy variation on the basic coconut water kefir recipe. I added vanilla beans and pure vanilla extract to the recipe to create a delightful vanilla flavored coconut water kefir. I really like seeing the tiny flakes of vanilla bean in the kefir and the intense vanilla flavor adds a warm, sweet note to the coconut water. This bubbly, probiotic-rich drink reminds me of cream soda especially when I add a few drops of liquid vanilla stevia to it.
If you enjoyed my coconut water kefir recipe, check out my holistic cookbook that’s packed with 154 tasty whole foods recipes and 50 pages of healthy living tips! Deliciously Holistic is for sale as an eBook for only $15.00. Find out more about the cookbook or get the eBook by clicking here. Or get the print book on Amazon.
If you want to try some more of my fermented recipes, please check out my cinnamon coconut water kefir, pomegranate pineapple water kefir and purple cabbage and apple sauerkraut. Click the links below to see the recipes.
Have you ever tried making your own coconut water kefir? Please contribute to the conversion by leaving a comment.
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Vanilla Coconut Water Kefir
Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
4 cups young coconut water—use water from 3-4 young coconuts or packaged unsweetened coconut water (This is the brand of coconut water I like)
1-Quart sterilized glass jar with lid
Seeds from ¼ vanilla bean (my favorite vanilla beans)
1 teaspoon pure alcohol-free vanilla extract (my favorite alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1. Pour the room temperature coconut water into the glass jar. Add the kefir grains and place top on the jar. If using the kefir starter, warm the coconut water to 92 degrees F. and pour the water into the glass jar. Stir in the kefir starter with a large spoon and cover the jar loosely with the lid.
2. Let coconut water kefir set at room temperature out of sunlight for 24-48 hours. Coconut water kefir is ready when it turns milky white or cloudy, fizzy, and tastes tangy. After 24 hours, pour a small amount of kefir into a glass and taste. If the kefir is fizzy, milky white or cloudy and you like the taste of the kefir, strain out the kefir grains and add the vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract for the second ferment. Screw the lid on tightly and do a second ferment for 1 day or 24 hours.
3. If you are using the water kefir grains, once you strain them out of the coconut water kefir, you can use the kefir grains to make another batch of coconut water kefir right away. If you’re not ready to make another batch of kefir you need to store the grains in sugar water made with ¼ cup of organic sugar and 1 quart of pure spring water in a clean covered container until you’re ready to make another batch of coconut water kefir. The water kefir grains can stay in the refrigerator for several weeks and up to 1 month in the sugar water.
4. If using the kefir starter, you can remove ¼ cup of the coconut kefir and add to another 4 cups of coconut water to make a new batch. Water kefir will last under refrigeration for 7—14 days.