What is going on with my water kefir grains? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 08-08-2009, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I usually ferment my water kefir for about 48 hours, but sometimes leave it a little longer (eg. another 12 hours) if I am too lazy to change it at night Recently I left a batch for just over 72 hours by accident. The instructions I got said not to leave it longer than 72 hours, but I thought it might be okay since it was only slightly longer than that. Ever since then (and I'm on the 4th batch since) the finished kefir tastes quite different. Not bad, necessarily, and it smells fine and looks fine, but has a stronger taste than before, and is less sweet. Does this mean that the grains have been damaged, and is there something I should be doing to fix them?
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#2 of 9 Old 08-08-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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Hi,

Not a kefir expert BUT I read that it was ok to leave your grains for up to a week w/out changing the water if you were going away for a short period of time. I think the directions said you were supposed to leave them in the fridge though....but 72 hrs is nowhere near a week so I'd say your grains haven't been damaged. I'm pretty new at kefir'ing but I did experience a change in taste once...my grains had been growing in number and I wasn't aware of it so I think I had too many grains in too little fluid. Have your grains been multiplying? Maybe change the type of liquid for a couple of cycles? I alternate between coconut water and molasses and cane sugar.

Hope you get an answer from some of the kefir experts on this forum

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#3 of 9 Old 08-08-2009, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aris99 View Post
Hi,

Not a kefir expert BUT I read that it was ok to leave your grains for up to a week w/out changing the water if you were going away for a short period of time. I think the directions said you were supposed to leave them in the fridge though....but 72 hrs is nowhere near a week so I'd say your grains haven't been damaged. I'm pretty new at kefir'ing but I did experience a change in taste once...my grains had been growing in number and I wasn't aware of it so I think I had too many grains in too little fluid. Have your grains been multiplying? Maybe change the type of liquid for a couple of cycles? I alternate between coconut water and molasses and cane sugar.

Hope you get an answer from some of the kefir experts on this forum
Thanks for your reply! I think they have multiplied a little bit, not dramatically though. I just strained the most recent batch and the taste is much more like what it used to taste like.

ETA: just thought of something else - it was very hot here last week, right around the time that the taste changed - maybe the extra heat affected something? It's been much cooler for several days now. Hmm.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-08-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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I would bet the taste change was due to the heat. It speeds things up, so the kefir will get stronger during the same amount of time.

As for leaving them longer than 72 hrs., I would avoid doing that. In fact leaving them for 72 hrs. very often could be a problem. It will, over time, pickle the grains. I speak from experience here. Pickled grains stop reproducing, and they slowly shrink down to nothing (that takes quite awhile, though). I doubt that this one time pickled them, though. I think it takes fairly consistent long brews.

ETA: Yes, if you need to leave them for awhile, definitely keep them in the fridge! And be sure they're in sugar water, not plain water.

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#5 of 9 Old 08-09-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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I stick the whole jar (unstrained) into the refrigerator until I'm ready to deal with them. 72 hours just makes stronger, more beneficial microbials, more sour, bit more alcoholy taste, less residual sugar. If it smells yucky/funky they're bad. Unlikely, unless your house was above 90+ degrees.

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#6 of 9 Old 08-09-2009, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! I don't think they've gone bad, the kefir never seemed "off", just different. I've been drinking it anyway and haven't gotten sick, so I guess it's okay! Anyway, it does seem to be back to normal now.

Another question: If I know I will need to leave them for a longer period of time, and want to put them in sugar water in the fridge, how much sugar should I use (and how much water)?
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#7 of 9 Old 08-09-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mama2Xander View Post
Another question: If I know I will need to leave them for a longer period of time, and want to put them in sugar water in the fridge, how much sugar should I use (and how much water)?
Just use the regular ratio (1/4 cup sugar for 1 quart water or 1/2 cup sugar for 2 quarts water).

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#8 of 9 Old 08-09-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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I won't leave mine longer than 48 hours; the kefir doesn't taste very nice that way. I also notice if I rest my water grains in the fridge more than a couple of days, when I start again the first two batches don't taste the same. I guess the grains need time to readjust and get back to balance.
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#9 of 9 Old 08-09-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
72 hours just makes stronger, more beneficial microbials, more sour, bit more alcoholy taste, less residual sugar.
That's what I thought, too, which is why I left it that long so regularly (well, that, and laziness ). But it does pickle the grains over time, which is not good. If you want stronger kefir, which we do, strain out the grains after 48 hrs. (it's OK to leave them to 72 hrs. occasionally), and then leave the strained kefir out at room temp. until it gets as strong as you like it. That's a win-win. You keep the grains going strong, and you get strong kefir.

Christie ~ proud Mama to : 5/01, and : 3/07; and proud wife to my since 1992. We have 13 and 2 : It's looking more and more like either a farm or a zoo around here.
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