Learn About Water Kefir
Media
Order Water Kefir
FAQ: Water Kefir Intro
Questions in this Section:
What is water kefir?
How do water kefir grains convert the sugar-water they're in to kefir?
What is the difference between water kefir and ginger beer?
What other names does kefir go by?
What is the purpose of the lemon and the dried fruit?
How are kefir grains different to powder starter (such as Body Ecology's products) or store-bought kefir?
What's the difference between dried and fresh/live kefir grains?
What is the advantage of taking kefir instead of a probiotic supplement?
Why is kefir good for your health?
Why is water kefir sometimes ok for diabetics to consume?
Is kefir a good option for those with Candida?
Is water kefir as beneficial as milk kefir?
Does water kefir have different strains of bacteria and yeast than milk kefir?
What strains of bacteria and yeast are found in kefir grains (and kefir itself)?
Can you make your own kefir grains or get kefir from just water?
What other liquids can you ferment with kefir grains?
What kinds of sugars can you use?
What's the difference between all the types of sugar available?
Does it have a sugar preference?
Does is matter what water you use?
What about well water?
What about reverse-osmosis water?
Does kefir contain alcohol?
What does water kefir taste like?
What's the difference between milk kefir and water kefir?
What should kefir grains look like?
What kinds of dried fruit can you use and which are best?
Are all kefir grains the same?
How long do active kefir grains last?
Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?
What other uses does water kefir have?
What is Water Kefir?

Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER). The word Kefir is derived from the Turkish word 'Keif" describing a state of 'feeling good'. Water Kefir is a wonderful mildly zesty fermented sugar-water beverage. It can be likened to a natural, light and refreshing soda - perfect for a healthy drink alternative. It can also be used to make Tepache. It has a low glycemic load and no caffeine either. It is fermented at room temperatures in a sugary water with lemon and dried fruit for about 24-48 hours. It has many wonderful health benefits and is also a great option for those sensitive to milk. Most speculate it originated in Mexico where it thrived in the sugary water of the Ountia (prickly pear) cactus. There is also a similar story of water kefir originating in Tibet much further back, when monks gave Mother Teresa of Calcutta the grains as a gift. They were later introduced to Europe (the Ionian Islands) and the west by the British Soldiers after the Crimean War in the 1800's. This story however most likely refers to the Ginger Beer Plant which is extremely similar to water kefir, but it is still a separate culture. Some suggest that one might have evolved from the other.

How do water kefir grains convert the sugar-water they're in to kefir?

Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugars (and sometimes proteins and fats too, especially in the case of milk kefir) found present in the sugar-water and dried fruits. The yeast and bacteria co-operate, making the nutrients that are inaccessible to one digested into accessible nutrients for the other. Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic and acid-producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol. It also contains millions of probiotics and is more nutritious in some regards because of the more bio-available and digestible nutrients from the sugars and dried fruits including an increase in vitamin C and many B vitamins.

What is the difference between water kefir and ginger beer?

Ginger beer, or 'Gingerbeer Plant' is very similar to water kefir, but is a separate culture. Though they look alike from a distance, ginger beer crystals are known to be smoother, tinier and more opaque than water kefir crystals. They also tend to ferment more slowly. They are composed of different bacteria and yeast strains as well, which particularly flourish on ginger juice. Some stories of water kefir tell of it originating from when monks gave Mother Teresa of Calcutta the grains as a gift. Another story is that they were introduced to Europe (the Ionian Islands) and the west by the British Soldiers after the Crimean War in the 1800's. This story however most likely refers to the Ginger Beer Plant. Some suggest that one might have evolved from the other, but it's not known for sure. Ginger beer is widely known in many areas and is still made by the locals in the rural village of Corfu as a local specialty. Today in Eastern Africa (especially in Kenya and Tanzania), ginger beer is a very popular drink. It is called Tangawizi, which is the Swahili word for 'ginger'. Water kefir grains are known and widely popular among the Latin communities currently, and being used to make Tepache, a beverage of fermented pineapple, brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Water kefir grains are often fed Piloncillo's (dried syrup from whole sugar cane juice shaped into cones). These are quite easy to find in any Latin or Mexican Market.

What other names does kefir and its grains go by?
• Tibicos (Tibi)
• Búlgaros
• Bees
• Japanese Water Crystals
• Japanese Beer seeds
• Graines Vivantes (French)
• Wasserkefir
• Sugar Kefir Grains
• Piltz, (German)
• Kefir di Frutta (Italian)
• Kefirs/Keefir/Kephir
• Aqua Gems
• Sea Rice
• Sugary Fungus, Graines Vivantes
• Kefir d'acqua/aqua
• Kefir d'uva (grape juice is used)
• Bébées
• African bees
• California Bees
• Australian bees
• Vinegar bees
• Ginger bees
• Ale nuts
• Balm of Gilead
• Beer seeds
• Beer plant
• Ginger Beer plant (though not to be confused with actual GBP, which is a different strain). Bakers yeast in sugar water is also referred to as Ginger Beer Plant. Overtime the name has come to represent the process and drink more so than the culture that creates it, which causes some confusion.
• It can also be referred to as the Tibetan Mushroom, which is also interchangeably used to refer to milk kefir and kombucha.
As you can see, it has adapted many nicknames from being around for so long, and shared by so many cultures around the world. Some of the names are similar to milk kefir because of the lack of distinguishing between the two through history (just as we call both 'kefir' but only distinguish by saying milk or water).

What is the purpose of the lemon and the dried fruit?

The lemon and dried fruit have traditionally been used in the recipe for ages. As with many things from the past, people used what they found worked, and we are now able to scientifically define why. The lemon serves as a natural ph buffer, lowering the ph to protect the water kefir from foreign and competing contaminants. Lemon peel also is high in calcium, a main mineral for the grains. The dried fruit serve as an added source of sugar and the various minerals found within them (including a good dosage of potassium and magnesium). It is interesting that just as with us, it is also important for kefir grains to receive a large amount of calcium, potassium and magnesium (and other trace minerals). Some dried fruits seem to work better than others. Raisins are the traditional fruit of the recipe, but dates, figs, apples, apricots and coconut among others also work very well. Even though lemon and dried fruit are traditional, you can certainly ferment without them long term without any issue. Many people simply ferment with sugar and water.

How are Kefir Grains different to powder starter (such as Body Ecology's products) or store-bought kefir?

Genuine kefir is different than the pricey kefir you can buy in the stores. Manufactured kefir is a simulated drink, mimicking the flavor of genuine kefir. It is not produced by the traditional method. It is produced instead by a variety of bacteria and yeast (that they purchase individually) and combine. These are typically freeze-dried powder forms of bacteria and yeast, and like the Body Ecology products, are not reproducible. Traditional Kefir Grains are a formed symbiotic mass colony of various bacteria and yeast that are living, and will thrive and grow on their own in the sugar water sometimes out-living its owner!

What's the difference between dried and fresh/live Kefir grains?

We offer both choices because there are unique benefits to each. The fresh or live water kefir grains re-balance quickly and begin producing drinkable kefir within just a few days of arriving after shipment. This is an excellent option if you live within the U.S. and are able to be home to receive the grains when they arrive and attend to them immediately. If you are either a) not located within the U.S. or b) not able to attend to the fresh grains immediately upon arrival, then dried water kefir grains are the best option for you. These will take a little longer to activate - about a week or so to 'wake up' and balance to where they are producing a drinkable kefir. This is a great option if they will be in transit internationally, since they are in a dormant stage and will not degrade or be as likely to be damaged as the fresh grains. This also gives you the option to stick the dried grain in your cupboard or refrigerator if you receive them but are not yet ready to use them (or want to hang onto them as a backup source or a gift to give). We have found that water kefir grains generally dry and revive better than milk kefir grains and start growing fairly quickly.

What is the advantage of taking Kefir instead of a probiotic supplement?

Fermented products such as kefir are considered functional foods because they offer enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, calories/energy and billions of probiotics. Probiotic pill supplements contain just one or a select variety of bacteria, and usually that's it. It's always better to eat something in its whole form when possible, because each part makes the other more digestible. This is why companies are now adding fiber back into cereals and fruit juices, and citric acid into calcium - you often need all the parts to assimilate nutrients correctly.

Why is kefir good for your health?

It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir is also generally suitable for some diabetics (though personal discretion is advised). It also is a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some store-bought probiotic foods or supplements can help, but they are not as potent, and do not contain the beneficial yeasts usually (just bacteria). Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast. Your internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has thus long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. Folic acid (and B vitamins) increases as the length of the ferment increases. Some people let the strained kefir sit on the counter or the fridge another day to increase the folic acid and B vitamin content before drinking (this will increase the acidity too). Kefir may also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. As with most things we've personally found, food and health is too difficult to reduce to facts and statistics. While kefir is not a magic bullet for health (what is) we believe kefir has a myriad of possible health benefits, and those will be individual for everyone. Some feel it helps them digest better, others get colds and viruses less often, some get more energy, and some people feel nothing much in particular, but enjoy the taste and value of it over store-bought yogurt, kombucha or kefir.

Why is water kefir sometimes ok for diabetics to consume?

The bacteria and yeast produce enzymes that break down the sucrose (the double sugar that sugar is composed of) into fructose and glucose. Fructose is digested by the liver and does not spike the blood sugar of diabetics like sucrose or glucose. Because of the fructose, it makes this drink a lower GL. Also the added acetic acids and carbonation from the fermentation lower the GL as well. We've noticed and had people share that the best way for diabetics to consume water kefir is to do a secondary ferment with pure fruit juice (high in fructose) and a portion of the finished water kefir which results in a low-sugar (and low GL) beverage. You can read about secondary ferments here. It is not safe for all diabetics, and is ultimately up to you to determine how your blood sugar levels respond after consuming water kefir. 'Ripening' kefir can even further reduce the sugar content (but raise the alcohol and acids) if desired.

Is Kefir a good option for those with Candida?

Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice we can give is to listen to your own body's response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).

Is water kefir as beneficial as milk kefir?

The short answer here is yes. This is because what works for someone may or may not work for you. Milk kefir has some wonderful health benefits, but those cannot be enjoyed if you are simply sensitive to milk in general. Water kefir is simply another probiotic beverage option which has its own strengths and weaknesses (too much sugar for some). You can ferment minerals, herbs, fruits, grains etc with the help of water kefir grains, thus really opening the doors to a custom blend of nutrients that you can create. For example if you think coconut boosts your overall well-being, then perhaps you can derive a lot of benefit from water kefir with coconut in it. Or perhaps you are into the anti-inflammatory property of cranberries or cherries, and would like to add that to your water kefir. This is where water kefir shines! You can also eat the grains of water kefir (just as you can milk kefir) and get a mega dose of probiotics! Some people decide neither beverage works for them, but the grains themselves do!

Does water kefir have different strains of bacteria and yeast than milk kefir?

Yes, absolutely. They do share some common strains, but have many unique ones of their own, too. To view a detailed list of each, visit our pages on strains for milk kefir or for strains for water kefir.

What strains of bacteria and yeast are found in kefir grains (and kefir itself)?

To view a list of all the bacteria and yeast strains found in kefir, please view our Strains section.

Can you make your own kefir grains or get kefir from just water?

No, kefir grains must be obtained. Kefir grains reproduce, but one cannot create the grains or have them spontaneously occur in sugar water. Some sugar water recipes like mead involve letting the mixture sit out until it transforms and ferments, but you cannot create the grains from this method. Kefir simply cannot be created and is not reproducable without obtaining real kefir grains to start with.

What other liquids can you ferment with kefir grains?

Its possible to ferment some fruit juices, sugar-based vegetable juices (like beet, carrot or ginger) coconut juice, and possibly other sugar based juices you may find at the store (like orange juice or fruit punch) and sometimes milk (including all forms of mammalian milk: mare, goat, sheep, cow, buffalo, camel etc) or milk alternatives like soy, almond or rice. Since water kefir grains are sensitive, its always best to feed your main grains with the normal recipe, and use your extra grains to experiment with in new liquids. Milk grains tend to ferment other liquids better, but you may be surprised and find your water kefir grains adapting to a new liquid - its all about experimentation! Kefir d'uva is water kefir grains in pure grape juice - it makes an amazingly delicious drink, but often times the grains don't live past 4-5 times of fermenting in it. You could also try a sugar and tea mixture (like kombucha), but be aware that using any other liquid and sugar mix besides the original recipe may not be the best option for continued grain health (and may kill the grains).

What kinds of sugars can you use?

Palm (coconut), Sucanat, Rapadura, Muscavado, Demarara, Panela, Jaggery, Turbinado, brown sugar (both light and dark), molasses (both light and dark), maple syrup (pure maple), white sugar, sugar cane juice, whole cane sugar, raw sugar, powdered sugar, basic white sugar, swizzle sticks (sugar cane stalks), and Piloncillo (evaporated sugar cane juice in a cone-shape found in Mexican markets).

What's the difference between all the types of sugar available?

Palm / Coconut / Arenga / Jaggery / Coconut Blossom Sugar: this sugar is gaining in popularity due to its low glycemic index (without being high in fructose), high nutrient value, and push from NGO's and producer groups to boost the industry. It has been used for quite some time in South Asia. This sugar is made from collecting the sap from palm flowers (and not the fruit of the palm itself, such as date or coconut). It's then boiled to a concentrated form and then further processed to its dry, granulated form. Due to the very high mineral content (even higher than whole can sugar), it has a low glycemic index of 35 (agave ranges from 27-41, honey 55, cane sugar 68). It's especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and is also a natural source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. It's approx. 70% sucrose, followed by fructose and glucose. It has a very rich, buttery and carmel flavor likened to butterscotch, and is considered less bitter than cane sugar. When purchasing, be aware that Thai coconut sugar is frequently blended with white cane sugar or malt sugar. In Thai cuisine, palm and coconut sugar are used interchangeably. According to Kasma Loha-unchit: Although the names are used interchangeably, palm sugar and coconut sugar are not the same. One comes from the palmyra or sugar palm and the other from coconut palm, but both are produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds. The FAO (Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) claims coconut sugar is the single most sustainable sweetener in the world (produces an average of 50-75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar and use less than 1/5th the nutrients for that production). A few good brands (100% palm, not mixed) currently available are Ultimate Superfoods (which will soon be re-branded under the name Ojio), Navitas, and Big Tree Farms (SweetTree).

Rapadura / Panela / Jaggery (usually palm, sometimes cane) / Papelón / Whole Cane Sugar: evaporated sugar cane juice. It's extracted from the sugar cane using a press or composting process and is then evaporated to dry and form granules (not heated or spun like regular white sugar, thus most vitamins and minerals have been retained). Because of little processing it maintains its natural balance of sucrose, glucose, and fructose, and still contains components to aid in digestion. It is metabolized more slowly than white sugar, and therefore will not affect your blood sugar levels like white sugar. This is metabolized by the water kefir the slowest as well, allowing for a more even ferment (especially in hotter weather) and tends to promote the most growth and health. It is also called Raspadura or Tapa Dulce. One prominent brand that sells this sugar type (even going so far as to compost the sugar rather than heat it) is Rapunzel.

Muscavado / Turbinado / Demarara / Sucanat / Raw Sugar: more refined cane juice than Rapadura but less refined than white sugar. The cane juice is heated until crystals form and then spun to separate from the syrup (producing molasses). The crystals are later added back with some of the molasses in artificial proportions. The molasses contains vitamins and minerals, making this still a decent option for water kefir, however it may or may not be more beneficial than simply white sugar plus molasses, or brown sugar. Keep in mind the term 'raw' is used quite loosely, mostly to designate that it hasn't been stripped of its minerals - all sugar is processed if its in a granulated form. A truly raw form of sugar would be the sugar cane stalk itself (such as the raw swizzle sticks, which are pre-peeled strips of raw cane sugar).

White sugar: processed and refined cane juice. The cane juice is heated until crystals form and then spun to seperate the molasses. The crystals are then spun again, dissolved, and boiled to crystallize further a couple more times, each time removing almost all traces of the molasses (the vitamin and mineral components naturally found in sugar cane juice). Water kefir often needs supplements in their diet if they are to be fed all white sugar. You may need to add in baking soda and calcium as well as including the dried fruit and lemon each time to ensure enough minerals are provided.

Molasses: the thick syrup byproduct of sugar cane juice that has been boiled 1-3 times, separating the crystals from the syrupy juice. It is still mostly sucrose by calories, but contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, unlike the crystals. Blackstrap molasses (the darkest, most rich) is the result of white sugar that has been processed to its fullest extent, leaving almost all of the available vitamins and minerals behind in the molasses. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and some iron (for both you and your grains). This is metabolized slightly faster than Rapadura, because it has been heated and somewhat processed (it's the byproduct of the processed white sugar crystals). Sulphured molasses is made from young sugar cane, which requires sulphur dioxide to preserve it. Unsulphured molasses is made of mature sugar cane which does not require the help of sulphur dioxide to preserve it. Water kefir works well with a blend of the highly concentrated Blackstrap molasses and white sugar. Blending it with unrefined sugar such as Rapadura can result in too many minerals.

Brown sugar (light or dark): white sugar mixed with varying amounts of molasses, this is why its sticky and moist.

Confectioner's / Powdered / Icing / Castor / Superfine: refined white sugar of different sizes - most being very fine and very quickly absorbed by whomever is digesting them. This is not a healthy option for anyone or for water kefir.

Does it have a sugar preference?

Water kefir grains are unique from batch to batch and season to season. We have found ours to prefer whole cane sugar (Rapadura) or Palm Sugar mixed with white sugar in the summer and a blend of white sugar and blackstrap molasses in winter. They can also readily adapt and be happy with brown sugar or Piloncillos. We've noticed this has also been the case for many others as well. While the other sugars mentioned haven't given as good of results for us, they may for your grains. It is always worth trying a variety, and when the grains start to under-perform, try switching things up. In our time watching water kefir behavoir, we've noticed it can 'get tired' of what it is in, needing a switch-up of sugars - we think this is likely due to the fact that no one food (or sugar) contains all of the vitamins and minerals, and the grains simply are needing to be exposed to variety to obtain what they need. Some sugars are more difficult for them to process and some process very rapidly - making raw cane sugar better in the summer when they are fermenting more rapidly, but too difficult sometimes in the winter (when molasses seems to supply the minerals that whole cane sugar does, but in an easier form). Again, this is what we've noticed so far with our grains, but water kefir grains are quite finicky and always changing - its best to test a wide variety of options for your grains, and being flexible to change when your grains tell you they need something new.

Does it matter what water you use?

Water is one of the crucial ingredients for water kefir. What water you use will make a difference. Since most of us don't have the equipment to test what is in our water, let alone on a day-to-day basis, this usually requires some experimenting. Water kefir generally prefers a nutritious highly mineralized water (also called hard water, or mineral water / spring water if its from a bottle). Soft water, filtered water, carbon-activated, ionized or otherwise altered water does not seem to encourage the same amount of growth or vitality in our observations. Reverse osmosis water has in most of our observations led to eventual kefir grain death even. It just doesn't contain enough of the various and vital minerals found in normal tap, spring or mineral water. Also, chlorine can be an issue and should be avoided if possible. To remove some of the chlorine you can let your water set out (without a lid) and it will evaporate in about 24 hours. Some forms of chlorine such as chloramine won't dissipate as easily. If you are unsure what your tap water contains, contact your local water facility for details.

What about well water?

Water Kefir grains typically love well water as it is usually high in good minerals - usually much more minerals than you find in a typical spring water bottle. We have exclusively used only well water for our water kefir grains for many years now. Sometimes, well water can have some interesting things in it or too much iron, but most will generally provide good water for your water kefir grains. If you are concerned about harming the grains, have your well water tested for contaminants or compare to store-bough spring or mineral water.

What about reverse-osmosis water?

Reverse osmosis water has in most of our observations led to eventual kefir grain death even. It just doesn't contain enough of the various and vital minerals found in normal tap, spring or mineral water. It is what we like to call 'processed' or 'refined' water, basically an empty water devoid of its normal nutrients and properties, much like white sugar is compared to whole cane sugar. It's an unbalanced and empty nutrient.

Does kefir contain alcohol?

Yes, its been found in a couple studies now to contain about 0.038% - 2% alcohol, or 16-38 g/L (grams per litre). With the normal amount being around .08 or less (for a 48-hour ferment). Kefir that is stored and ripened for a few of days will continue to increase in alcohol, up to 2-3% (when it is sealed tightly). For reference, beer contains about 4-7% and wine 8-14%. Because kefir contains bacteria (and not just yeast like beer or wine) the amount of alcohol kefir can produce is limited by the acetic bacterium which convert the alcohol (produced by the yeasts) to beneficial acids.

What does water kefir taste like?

It has a wonderful mildly zesty flavor, like a lemonade or mild cola. It is more mild than milk kefir or kombucha, having just a light tang (and can build more carbonation if bottled a couple days). It can be likened to a natural, light and refreshing soda. The dried fruit, lemon, type of sugar and other ingredients will largely determine its flavor as well. This is not something you have to 'tolerate', it is actually very delicious and is great in the summer on its own with a little squeeze lemon or lime, mixed with iced tea or blended in slushies for a great probiotic boost.

What's the difference between milk kefir and water kefir?

Milk kefir grains and water kefir grains behave similarly by both fermenting a sugary liquid into a probiotic beverage (similar to yogurt for the milk kefir, or kombucha for the water kefir). However, they are seperate cultures, and are not 'made' from one another. Although you may try to ferment juice with milk grains, or attempt to ferment milk with water kefir grains, they will not switch to be the other culture or look like the other culture. Milk grains look like soft opaque curds of cauliflower heads while water kefir looks like tiny sem-transparent crystal gems.

What should Kefir Grains look like?

Kefir grains look a lot like semi-transparent crystal gems. They can go through many phases through the seasons from being small and more uniform looking, or large and full of strange shapes, angles and bumps. They can even become lumpy like cauliflower, or very smooth like glass. They are always semi-transparent, but will be much darker if used with less refined sugar. Their color will also be clear unless used with less refined sugar, in which case they will be light to dark brown in color. They should be slightly bouncy and slippery (but not slimy or gooey like milk kefir grains) and can range from the size of a grain of rice to as big as 2 inches. Dried kefir grains color is also dependant on the sugar it was feeding on - ranging from a dusty clear color to a dark rootbeer brown. They are more fragile than milk kefir grains, and will crumble easily when squeezed (however it is not a problem to worry about, it will survive if squished - it is just that their structure has many clean breaks and soft bonds, unlike milk which is more rubbery, bonded and stretchy)

What kinds of dried fruit can you use and which are best?

Water kefir grains love the help of dried fruit. Just like we are recommended to have variety in our diet, the same applies for these grains. They do prefer nutrient dense fruits, such as dates, figs, apricots, bananas, raisins, mango, apples, cherries or coconut. They don't seem get quite as much of a growth spurt on citrus or berries. It's best to use dried fruit, which no longer contain enzymes that may harm or slow the metabolism of the kefir grains too much. It's also best to avoid dried fruits that have any kinds of preservatives, added sugars or even added oils, as those too can interfere with the grains health and/or metabolism.

Are all kefir grains the same?

All kefir grains are alike, but they are not the same. Just as all people are humans, but none are exactly alike, kefir also varies from one to the next. Some kefir grains ferment more quickly than others, some more tangy, some more sweet, and some more fizzy. You will see that your kefir grains will be continuously morphing themselves from season to season and year to year. Part of the kefir process is learning to let go of the desire to keep them exactly the same (no matter what you do, they will be in a constant state of growth and change) and learning to look forward to its many suprises, just like raising a pet or child.

How long do active Kefir Grains last?

Indefinitely with good care - they are a living, consuming organism that are in a constant state of reproduction. Some may get weaker over time for one reason or another (neglected, frozen, etc), but they will nonetheless do all they can to keep marching on! They have already lived over a thousand years as it is.

Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?

Water kefir needs to be fed at least every 48 hours (every other day). Kefir grains need to be strained every 24-48 hours (24 hours being hot summer weather, most of the time they can go to 48 or even another day in the cold winter months) and put in a fresh mix of water and sugar. If you or your grains would like to take a break, stick them in the fridge, refreshing them weekly with fresh water and sugar or simply put them in their finished kefir juice for up to a week or two. This can be done for a couple weeks, then they should be brought back out to room temperature. If you need a longer break, view our section on storage.

What other uses does water kefir have?

Kefir and its grains are valuable for far more than just a beverage! It can be used to fertilize and nurture house plants, flowers, your lawn, or your garden. The bacteria and acidic nature can be very beneficial for plants. Did you know its essential to have bacteria in your dirt to convert nitrogen to an edible source for your plants? Kefir can also easily serve as a great starter for breads and pizzas! Use it in place of a sourdough starter or yeast packet. Kefir can also be used in your hair as a clarifying conditioner and ph stabilizer (soap is very alkaline and can dry the skin and scalp, while kefir is acidic). It can also serve as a nice ingredient in exfoliants and lotions. Kefir can also be made into delicious popsicles. Kefir can also be used in place of vinegar (often with a more beneficial affect) in many cases such as to soak grains, soften rice, add to soups and stocks (to help extract the nutrients from the bones) or use in place of some of the salt in making fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut (though its more common to use milk kefir's whey in this situation). Did you know that US EPA's proposed enhanced biological treatment (to clean up toxic waste in California) uses cheese whey (something milk kefir can also produce) and molasses as a food source for natural microbes that live in the soil and ground water (go figure!). These microbes can then break down the contaminants in soil into carbon dioxide, water and salt.
Copyright © 2012 Yemoos Nourishing Cultures. All rights reserved.
Donations | Payments | Return Policy | Shipping | Terms and Conditions | Contact Us