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Brewing Basics

Q. Is Water Kefir hard to make?
A. No. It takes a few simple steps!  Check out a tutorial by clicking here.

Q. How is Water Kefir made?
A. Water Kefir is made when a sugar water or coconut water is cultured by Water Kefir Grains. It is a simple and inexpensive process.

Q. What amount of Water Kefir Grains do I need to make Water Kefir?
A. 1/4 cup of Water Kefir Grains will culture 3 quarts of Water Kefir every 24-48 hours.

Q. How long will the Water Kefir Grains last?
A. With proper care, Water Kefir Grains should last indefinitely. There are many delicious ways of preparing Water Kefir and creative experimentation is healthy.  However, it is recommended to store a “reserve” in the refrigerator incase you ruin the grains. The master recipe should be used every so often to keep the grains is healthy condition.

Q. Are Water Kefir Grains reusable?
A. Yes, Water Kefir Grains are reusable. Once your Kefir is finished culturing, simply remove the Water Kefir Grains and place them in fresh sugar water, juice or coconut water.

Q. Will Water Kefir Grains multiply?
A. Water Kefir Grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so.  Water free from chlorine and rich in minerals along with sugar and molasses will promote the best growth.

Kefir Grains Food

Q. What types of sugar can be used to make Water Kefir?
A. Dark brown organic sugar is best. Whole sugars with molasses still intact will promote healthy Kefir Grains in the long term as the minerals in molasses promote Water Kefir Grain growth.  If Kefir Grains are having trouble fermenting experiment with different kinds of sugars until you find one that works.  Sometimes the grains need different vitamins or minerals that could be in different brands.  Kefir Grains have successfully cultured in agave, maple syrup, palm sugar, and other organic natural sweeteners. DO NOT use artificial sweeteners of any kind.

Q. What kind of molasses is best?
A. Organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses.

Q. Do I have to use molasses?
A. For the most part, no. If you don’t like the taste, you don’t have to include it. Every once in awhile it is a good idea to add some as the Water Kefir Grains may need minerals.

Q. Is there any danger to using less sugar than recommended?
 A. Yes. Making Water Kefir requires a balance of ingredients to allow the Kefir Grains to properly culture and feed. Using less sugar (or culturing the kefir for longer than 48 hours) may cause the grains to starve. Over time, the Grains will become less efficient and although you are using less sugar, you may actually end up with more sugar in the finished Kefir than you would with efficient working kefir grains. Ultimately, using less sugar will result in unhealthy Kefir grains and possibly higher sugar consumption for you.

Q. Can I use coconut water to make Water Kefir?
A. Yes, young coconut water can be used to make Coconut Water Kefir. Allow Kefir Grains to get established using sugar water (for at least a few batches) prior to using coconut water.

Q. Can I use honey to make Water Kefir?
A. Technically, yes. Raw organic honey will make a wonderful tasting Water Kefir. However, honey has antibacterial properties in nature and the Water Kefir Grains are a mixture of bacteria and yeast. Therefore honey is very hard on Water Kefir Grains and will cause them to weaken and eventually die. If you really must use honey, keep a reserve of Kefir Grains thriving on the master recipe.

Q. Can I use fruit juice to make Water Kefir?
A. Yes, straight organic fruit juice can be used to make Water Kefir. Allow Kefir Grains to get established using sugar water (for at least a few batches) prior to using fruit juice.  Fruit juice is hard on Water Kefir Grains and will cause them to weaken and break down.  Therefore, keep a reserve of Kefir Grains thriving on the master recipe.

Q. Do I need to add sugar if I’m using fruit juice to make Water Kefir?
A. No, there should be enough sugar in the fruit juice to feed the kefir grains.

Water Quality Makes a Difference

Q. What kind of water is best?
A. Artesian Well, Spring or regular well water have high mineral content and are best for culturing Water Kefir Grains.

Q: Can I use filtered water?
A: Distilled, Reverse Osmosis and water filtered trough a carbon-activated filter (Britta, Pur, etc) should not be used.  These processes remove vital minerals for healthy Kefir Grains.

Q. Can I use tap water?
A. If you cannot source Artesian well or spring water and must use tap water, it is important to remove the chlorine either through boiling (15 minutes) or through aeration (e.g. placing the water in a container and allowing it to sit out overnight or running it through a blender).

Fermentation Process

Q. Why the variable fermentation time?
A. The time you choose to ferment will likely depend on how you want it to taste. Letting it ferment longer produces a more sour beverage that contains more probiotics.

Q. Where should Kefir Grains ferment?
A. The ideal place would be clean and dark and away from any major appliances.

Q. Does the fermenting Water Kefir need to be refrigerated?
A. No. They need to ferment at room temperature.

Q. At what temperature should the Grains ferment?
A. 70 degrees F is ideal. Cooler will slow fermentation. Warmer is ok, but it will ferment faster, so check it often. Warmer also works better for Coconut Water Kefir.

Q. Can I allow the kefir to culture for longer than 48 hours?
A. Allowing the Kefir Grains to culture for longer than 48 hours may damage the grains by potentially starving them (particularly in warm weather when the culturing process is sped up due to the heat).

Q. Do I fill the jar completely to the top?
A. Fill almost to the top, leaving about one inch from the top to allow for bubbles and pressure.

Storing Finished Water Kefir

Q. Where do I store finished Water Kefir?
A. It is best stored in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Q. Is there any danger of the glass container exploding under the carbonation pressure when bottling water kefir?
A. We have yet to hear reports of exploding containers although lids do occasionally fly off, particularly when being opened. We recommend keeping your whole hand over the lid of the container as you open it to prevent being hit with a flying lid. We also recommend opening the container over a sink in case the carbonation causes the Water Kefir to bubble over.

Taking a Break from Making Water Kefir

Q. How do I take a break from making Water Kefir?
A. Prepare a sugar water solution (1/4 cup sugar to 1 quart water), place the grains in the sugar water, place a tight lid on the container and place it in the refrigerator. The cold will greatly slow the culturing process and they can keep this way for up to several weeks. If at the end of that period you require more time, simply repeat the process with fresh sugar water. If you desire a longer break period, you may dehydrate your Water Kefir Grains by placing them on unbleached parchment paper in a safe location (room temperature) for several days until they are completely dry. Then place the dehydrated grains in a secure glass container and in a cool dry place.  They should keep this way for at least 6 months.  For even longer storage, live Kefir Grains may be rinsed and frozen in a capped glass jar.  This way they can last up to 2 years.

4 Comments leave one →
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    October 11, 2011 8:03 PM

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