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Water Kefir FAQ

 

Kefir has unexpectedly taught us so much about life and ourselves. This is our place to share what we're learning so far with you as we continue to enjoy observing and caring for this miraculously simple yet complex culture.

Remember, your own kefir will be your best teacher through time, trial and error.

The information below is generally agreed upon amongst the 'kefiring' community, but as a word of advice, just as in all things, use your best judgement in the end!

Lastly, kefir is not an exacting science, so relax and have fun!

Below is a snap-shot of each category:

Water Kefir Intro
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?

Kefir Grains 101
What should kefir grains look like?
What's the difference between dried and fresh/live kefir grains?
How do you know if the grains are 'healthy'?
What size are kefir grains?
What size is best for kefir grains to be?
Are all kefir grains the same?
What are kefir grains composed of?
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)?
How long do active kefir grains last?
Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?
Do kefir grains have a water preference?
Does it matter what water you use?
Should kefir grains float?
Do kefir grains change shape?
What causes grains to change appearance or shape?
What is the filmy discoloration on the surface of kefir grains?
What are the seasonal differences in kefir (summer vs winter, etc)?
Do you have to be gentle with kefir grains?
Can you cut/blend/tear kefir grains?
Do you have to wash or rinse your grains?
What if a grain drops onto the counter or floor?
Should I give my kefir grains a rest once in awhile?
Do you always have to use the grains to make kefir?
How fast do kefir grains grow?
How can you encourage kefir grains to grow more quickly?
Does ginger help your kefir grains?
Does it have a sugar preference?
Should I add minerals such as baking soda or calcium to the ferment?
What if my grains are not multiplying at all?
Can you make your own kefir grains or get kefir from just water?

Preparation and Supplies
How do you make authentic water kefir?
Do I have to start using my fresh kefir grains right away?
What do you need to make water kefir?
What is the purpose of the lemon and the dried fruit?
What kinds of sugars can you use?
Does it have a sugar preference?
How do you stir in the sugar?
Does it matter what order you put the ingredients in?
Can you substitute an orange, lime or grapefruit for a lemon?
Should you squeeze the piece of lemon or put it in whole?
How much lemon and/or dried fruit should I be using?
Is it ok to use waxed/conventional or bottled lemons vs organic?
Can you substitute the previous batch kefir or vinegar for the lemon?
Should sulfates and other preservatives on dried fruits be avoided?
Do the ingredients have to be organic?
How do I de-chlorinate my water?
What kinds of dried fruit can you use and which are best?
Can you use fresh fruits, vegetables or grains (such as rice) in the ferment?
Can you make your own kefir grains or get kefir from just water?
Can you use artificial sweetener or vitamin-infused water with kefir?
Does it matter what water you use?
Do kefir grains have a water preference?
What about reverse-osmosis water?
What about well water?
What is the optimal water to sugar ratio?
Is metal a safe material to use?
What type of container can I ferment and store my kefir in?
Do utensils need to be sterilized for kefir similar to making yogurt?
How much or how little water (and grains) can be used?
How much or little kefir can I make?
Do you always have to use the grains to make kefir?
Does the water have to be warmed before adding it to the grains?
How full can I fill my kefir jar?
What temperature does water kefir prefer?
Should I put a lid on kefir?
Does kefir need a breathable lid?
Can you use kefir liquid as a starter (instead of the grains)?
Can kefir be in direct sunlight?

During the Ferment
How do water kefir grains convert the sugar-water they're in to kefir?
Can kefir be in direct sunlight?
What temperature does water kefir prefer?
Can you add other things in with kefir while its fermenting?
Should kefir grains float?
Should you stir kefir?
Should I put a lid on kefir?
Does kefir need a breathable lid?
What type of container can I ferment and store my kefir in?
How short or long can you ferment kefir?
How long does it take for dried or live shipped kefir grains to balance?
How long does it take for stored, frozen or dried kefir grains to reactivate?
How do you know when the kefir is ready?
What if I forgot to strain my kefir when it was ready?

Straining and Finishing
How do you know when the kefir is ready?
How do I remove my kefir grains from the kefir once its ready?
What size strainer is appropriate for straining kefir grains?
Do you have to be gentle with kefir grains?
Do you have to wash or rinse your grains?
Should you include some of the last batch in the new batch?
How can I reduce the amount of alcohol in kefir?
What is 'ripening' kefir and how do you do it?
How do I get my kefir to be more fizzy and carbonated?
Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?
How long do active kefir grains last?
How long does it take for dried or live shipped kefir grains to balance?
How long does it take for stored, frozen or dried kefir grains to reactivate?
What if I forgot to strain my kefir when it was ready?
Where can you store kefir?
How long can you store kefir/when should you drink it by?

Look, Aroma, Taste and Texture
What should water kefir taste like?
What is kefir supposed to smell like?
What should the consistency of kefir be?
what kinds of dried fruit can you use and which are best?
Can you substitute an orange, lime or grapefruit for a lemon?
What is the optimal water to sugar ratio?
What if I used dried or fresh coconut and it tastes very sour?
Why is my kefir slimy, scummy, foamy, filmy, or thick?
Why is my kefir extremely sweet or flat?
Why does my kefir smell like nail polish remover or vomit?
Does kefir contain alcohol?
What are the seasonal differences in kefir (summer vs winter, etc)?
How fast do kefir grains grow?
What if my grains are not multiplying at all?
What if my grains aren't turning my water into kefir?

Upkeep and Contamination
Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?
What is the purpose of the lemon and the dried fruit?
Is it ok to use waxed/conventional or bottled lemons vs organic?
Should sulfates and other preservatives on dried fruits be avoided?
How do I de-chlorinate my water?
What about reverse-osmosis water?
Can you use fresh fruits, vegetables or grains (such as rice) in the ferment?
Does ginger help your kefir grains?
Should you include some of the last batch in the new batch?
Can you substitute the previous batch kefir or vinegar for the lemon?
Should I add minerals such as baking soda or calcium to the ferment?
Do you have to wash or rinse your grains?
What if I forgot to strain my kefir when it was ready?
What if I forget about my kefir and its really old?
What should kefir grains look like?
How fast do kefir grains grow?
Should kefir grains float?
Do kefir grains change shape?
What causes grains to change appearance or shape?
Why is my kefir slimy, scummy, foamy, filmy, or thick?
Why is my kefir extremely sweet or flat?
Why does my kefir smell like nail polish remover or vomit?
What if I used dried or fresh coconut and it tastes very sour?
What is the white fuzzy or brown film on my kefir?
How do you know if the grains are 'healthy'?
How do you know if its contaminated?
What if I suspect my kefir has been cross-contaminated by another culture?
What are the seasonal differences in Kefir (summer vs winter, etc)?

Adjusting Quantity and Timing
How much or how little water (and grains) can be used?
What is the optimal water to sugar ratio?
Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?
How much or little kefir can I make?
How short or long can you ferment kefir?
Can kefir grains adjust to ferment more water?
What are the seasonal differences in kefir (summer vs winter, etc)?
How do you encourage sluggish kefir grains or relax over-active kefir grains?
How fast do kefir grains grow?
What temperature does water kefir prefer?
Can you use kefir liquid as a starter (instead of the grains)?
Can you use more grains in the winter to help the kefir ferment?

Fermenting Other Liquids
Can you use artificial sweetener or vitamin-infused water with kefir?
Can you use kefir liquid as a starter (instead of the grains)?
Does it matter what water you use?
What about reverse-osmosis water?
What about well water?
What liquids can you ferment with kefir grains?
How can you convert water grains to kefir other liquids such as coconut or soy?
What can you do to encourage growth and proper fermenting in other liquids?
Can you add other things in with kefir while its fermenting?

Reviving, Sharing and Storing Grains
What if I forget about my kefir and its really old?
What's the difference between dried and fresh/live kefir grains?
What should dried kefir grains look like?
How do you reactivate stored, dried or frozen water kefir grains?
How long does it take for dried or live shipped kefir grains to balance?
How do you share water kefir grains with others through the mail?
Should I give my kefir grains a rest?
How long does it take for kefir grains to balance after fasting/resting?
How do you dry water kefir grains for storage?
How long does it take for stored, frozen or dried kefir grains to reactivate?
Should kefir grains float?
Does ginger help your kefir grains?
Should I add minerals such as baking soda or calcium to the ferment?

Secondary Ferments and Flavoring
What is the difference between a secondary and continuous ferment?
How do you do a continuous ferment?
What is 'ripening' kefir and how do you do it?
How do I get my kefir to be more fizzy and carbonated?
How can I flavor my strained water kefir?
Can you add other things in with kefir while its fermenting?
Can you use fresh fruits, vegetables or grains (such as rice) in the ferment?
What other uses does water kefir have?

Health and Consumption of Water Kefir
How is kefir consumed in other cultures?
Why is water kefir sometimes ok for diabetics to consume?
How can I reduce the amount of alcohol in kefir?
What is the advantage of taking Kefir instead of a probiotic supplement?
Why is kefir good for your health?
Is water kefir as beneficial as milk kefir?
What's the difference between milk kefir and water 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)?
Is kefir a good option for those with Candida?
Is kefir a good option for those with digestive problems?
Is kefir appropriate for everyone?
Has kefir ever made anyone sick?
How are kefir grains different to powder starter (such as Body Ecology's products) or store-bought kefir?
What are kefir grains composed of?
Does Kefir contain alcohol?
What part of the kefir is considered the drinkable kefir?
How much kefir should I drink?
What kinds of sugars can you use?
Do the ingredients have to be organic?
How do I de-chlorinate my water?
What about reverse-osmosis water?
What about well water?
Does ginger help your kefir grains?
Is it ok to consume kefir that is still in the process of balancing or re-activating?
How long can you store kefir/when should you drink it by?
Can you eat the kefir grains too?
Can pets have water kefir?
What if a grain drops onto the counter or floor?
What if I'm having adverse reactions to drinking kefir?
Do you have to wash or rinse your grains?
How do you know if its contaminated?
Does is matter what water you use?
Do kefir grains have a water preference?