Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1
Yes, so glad to see this thread.
Issues with sugar? So if we are allergic (which we are) to sugar, and to lemon, can I get away with never using them?
Does anyone know why I am reading about adding a calcium tablet or egg shell to water kefir? And is it necessary?
And I got some apple cider but it says it has potasium sorbate as a preservative. Is this cider still ok to use?
And can someone go into detail with this ginger water kefir?
(can you tell I am new to this?)
What temperature do I make kefir at?
You could use honey instead of sugar. Normally I recommend against honey because it's antibacterial in nature and is hard on the kefir grains (which are bacteria and yeast living in a symbiotic relationship) but if using sugar simply isn't an option for you, then I'd use honey and just plan on periodically replacing your kefir grains (maybe every few months? but maybe less often). Lemon isn't necessary. It's common to put a little in when rehyrdrating kefir grains but it isn't required.
As far as I know, Dom's kefir site is the only one out there that recommends egg shell. I think if you do it exactly as he described, it's probably fine but I've had more than a few people report problems such as slimy grains after trying it. For what it's worth, I never use egg shells and my grains grow like crazy.
I would try to find an apple juice that doesn't have preservatives but it's probably fine. (I'm editing this part...I completely misread your question and thought you were asking about ACV...sorry about that...I'm not a morning person
I don't personally like ginger so I don't make ginger kefir but the basic idea is to add some fresh (not bottled!) ginger juice into the kefir. The exact amount is generally a matter of taste but I've heard 3 tablespoons per two quarts of water kefir. You can do this while the grains are working (just make sure no pieces of ginger actually end up in there--it's a pain to fish them out of the grains later). To make fresh ginger juice, you can use a juicing machine or grate the ginger finely and squeeze it with cheese cloth. Someone else may have a better recipe.
Water kefir does best at room temperature (around 68-70 degrees). At that temperature, you can let the grains work for 24-48 hours (but never longer than 72 hours and don't make a habit of a 72 hour culturing period as it's hard on the grains). If your home is significantly colder, the kefir will simply take more time to develop as cold retards the process. If your home is significantly warmer, the kefir will be completed in a shorter time period. Extreme heat can kill kefir grains.
Hope that helps!