In my attempt to
indoctrinate my niece into the cult of fermentation create an enduring love of ferments in my niece for her longterm health and well-being, I introduced her to water kefir when I was visiting my family’s home in Michigan last week. Things got a little busy, so I didn’t have the chance to make a wide variety of flavors to find her favorite, but I did discover a new flavor that I LOVE!!
My mom is famous for always having big dish of seasonal fruit chopped up in the fridge for snacking. This time around, the bowl was full of gorgeous summer melons and berries. The honeydew was particularly sweet and fragrant last week, and everyone kept picking those pieces out of the bowl. Watermelon and blueberries and raspberries went next, of course, which left some slightly overripe cantaloupe all alone in a pool of mixed melon juices. It was very good melon, actually, but compared with all of the other perfect fruit around the house, it wasn’t quite alluring enough.
It was, however, pre-chopped by my mom, and as you may have gathered, I’m a lazy fermenter. SO, pre-chopped melon plus water kefir ready for bottling meant that I was going to make some cantaloupe WK. I have made different melon kefirs before, but this cantaloupe turned out so nice that I really felt the need to share. I ended up making it several times since last week and now I’m obsessed. I’ve added herbs, I’ve added ginger. It all works, but there’s something about the subtlety of the cantaloupe that is making me sing little snippets of Carmen between sips.
CANTELOUPE WATER KEFIR
Yields 6 cups of cantaloupe water kefir
I always recommend bottling fizzy drinks in plastic to avoid the risk of glass shards in your eyes. As always, monitor your ferment during bottling and refrigerate it as soon as the sides of the bottle get rigid. A recycled plastic one or two liter bottle will do very nicely here.
2 liter plastic bottle, thoroughly washed
- 6.5 cups of finished water kefir
- 1 cup of cubed, ripe cantaloupe pieces, cut small enough to fit through the opening of your bottle.
- Using a funnel or a very steady hand, pour your finished water kefir (sans grains) into your two liter bottle.
- Add cantaloupe pieces and seal the bottle with its lid.
- Leave it sitting at room temperature until the sides of the bottle become rigid instead of squishable. This indicates that your kefir is fully carbonated and ready to be refrigerated. The time that this will take depends on how vigorous your water kefir is and how hot your home is. This is usually about 6-8 hours, but can reasonably take up to 24.
- Once in the fridge, let it sit overnight. The cantaloupe needs to be in the bottle with the liquid for at least 24 hours to impart good flavor, so if it was on the counter for 8 hours, leave it in the fridge for at least another 16 before drinking. If it was on the counter for 24, just put it in the fridge to chill, about 1 hour.
- Serve over ice. I recommend pouring it out over a strainer to avoid ending up with cantaloupe bits or kefir grain debris in your glass.
- Enjoy the final moments of summer!