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Water Kefir - Help!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've been brewing WK for a couple of months now and it's been a rollercoaster!  ;)  My grains were growing slowly so I tried adding molasses to them.  They really liked that for a little while and started producing more grains but we were getting tired of the same flavor.  I tried raisins, dried unsulphered mangoes, etc. and they were so so.  I decided to try distilled bottled water to see if it was my H20 and they totally took off!  I used that water twice and then they started dying off again.  I tried a different brand of distilled water and nothing.  Still nothing now even though I added molasses again. 

 

The only other major thing I did recently was start adding fresh ginger.  My boys like ginger a lot so I added a couple of chunks and instead of putting it in my reusuable tea bags like I had been, I just put it right in w/ the water/grains.  Now it's not fermenting the water much at all, it's turned almost to silt and there are only a few viable floaters moving.  Arg!  Could I have killed them off w/ the ginger??  I can't believe it's been such a delicate balance for me with getting these guys to grow!  I finally felt like I was making progress and now they seem like they are toast. 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

post #2 of 3

I haven't made water kefir yet (my grains are en route right now)but I was just reading about putting eggshell in the first ferment to add minerals to the water.  Apparently some water doesn't have a high enough mineral content to keep the grains healthy.  Maybe leave the ginger out until you feel like your grains are healthy again and do a second ferment with ginger.

Here is the post I was reading:http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/06/05/how-to-make-homemade-soda-pop-with-kefir-grains/

post #3 of 3

Sometimes when my grains aren't growing as well, I also give them a break, so to speak, by just putting them in some sugar water, refrigerate it for a few days, then bring them back to room temperature and start the brewing process again.  What I also do is I always do a two-step brewing process, partly because I like to experiment with different flavors all the time so I don't want to contaminate my crystals.  I brew the water kefir grains in sugar water only (sometimes using sucanat, organic cane sugar, combo of both, occasionally with a piece of eggshell, sometimes with a pinch of baking soda). Then after a couple of days when the water has been fermented, I strain it into a bottle with an air tight lid, add whatever fruit juice (my ratio of water kefir to juice is about 3:1 or 4:1) I want to experiment with and drink it when it's all nice and bubbly.

 

hope this helps!

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