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Thursday, May 11, 2023

Fresh water kefir grains instructions


Large glass container, 1 quart or larger, wide mouth preferred
Non metal strainer and stirring utensils 
Coffee filters or cheesecloth or other clean breathable cloth to cover the lid
Rubber bands to hold it in place

1 qt water, room temperature 
1/4 cup sugar (white, brown, raw.. No honey! No artificial sweeteners!)
1/4 cup kefir grains

1 t unsulphured molasses 
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch baking soda


Dissolve sugar and any of the optional ingredients in water, it doesn't have to be completely dissolved. Pour into your glass jar, make sure it's at room temperature, cold is OK but hot will kill your kefir. Add the kefir to the water. Cover with a coffee filter (or other clean cloth) secure with a rubber band.

Note the date (I write it on the side of my jar) and place wherever you want as long as it's room temperature, you can cover the jar with a towel if you want, kefir work best in the dark.

The warmer it is, the faster the kefir ferments, in summer it could be completed in 24 hours, in cooler temps it could take 3-4 days. Taste your kefir water after 24 hours, when it's complete it will have a yeasty, almost vinegar smell and taste, it should be very slightly sweet. If it's still very sweet, let it go another day, up to 4 days. If it's not sweet at all, you are at risk of starving your kefir, don't let it go too long. The water will also become bubbly. 


Gather some glass bottles with good lids, make sure these will withstand carbonation pressures. Strain out your kefir grains, pouring the kefir water into a container that is easy to pour (a large glass or plastic measuring cup with a spout). Pour your fermented kefir water into the bottles leaving enough space to add 1/4 the volume of fruit juice and/or fruit AND still leave a couple of inches of head space in the bottle. 

Cap tightly and let sit at room temperature for a day, up to three days. The warmer the air, the faster the ferment. You will start to see bubbles on top, that is a good thing. The longer you let it sit at room temperature, the fizzier it will get. Don't let it go too long without checking and burping the bottle, it can explode if too much pressure builds up.

You can use pretty much anything to flavor your kefir water, fruit (fresh, frozen or dried-unsulphured), fruit juice, ginger... If you want the end product to be a bit sweeter, you can add a pinch of sugar to the second ferment, it will ferment a little faster with the extra sugar. Also, the longer you ferment at room temperature, the more sour and fizzy it will get. 

Once it's at the flavor profile you want, place the bottles in the fridge and enjoy as you wish. This naturally fizzy beverage will be full of great probiotics. 


As soon as you empty the kefir water from the first ferment, you can immediately start another batch. It's recommended to keep back a little of the first fermented water to act as a starter. Merely repeat the directions for the first ferment.

Chances are your kefir grains will have grown and multiplied, if they haven't multiplied too much you can keep the all together in your original jar to do the next batch, understand that with more kefir grains, the batch will ferment faster. You can also divide your kefir grains and either start another jar, or you can sell or gift your extra kefir grains.

You can also store your kefir grains in the fridge for up to a week if you need to, or you can dehydrate your kefir grains to use later. There are two different dehydration methods, both require you to rinse your kefir grains until they are translucent, you can spread them on a non-metal surface in a single layer and place in a very dry spot to dehydrate on their own
You can use a dehydrator set on a super low temperature (too hot and you'll kill the kefir). Once dry you can store them in a jar until you are ready to use again. It will take a couple of times to fully activate your kefir grains from dry, just follow the first ferment steps above using a couple of tablespoons of the dried kefir.

You can add any extra kefir grains (fresh) to a smoothie, feed them to your pets, chickens, ducks, livestock, you can even put them in a compost pile

Some  like to add a few raisins to the first ferment, I personally prefer to go simple with my kefir grains, I don't want to risk contaminating them with anything that might be detrimental. If you want to experiment, wait until you have some extra kefir grains, then if you lose a batch, it's not your entire batch if kefir grains.

Remember, these are a living thing, they need to be fed and kept warm to survive and thrive. Keep your jars, bottles and anything else that touches the kefir grains and water clean. Don't use anything that could harm your kefir, metal, chlorine and fluoride in your water is not good, honey has antimicrobial properties that can harm kefir, never use artificial sweeteners, your kefir needs real sugar, the sugar is for the kefir grains, not for you, once your first ferment is complete, there is very little sugar left. Make sure any dried fruit does not contain sulfur additives. Too much heat will also kill your kefir.

Bottom line, the measurements above are approximations, not exact, don't worry, have fun, enjoy your tasty healthy science experiment.

If you accidentally let your ferments (first or second) go too long, no worries, the brew just becomes more sour, if you don't like the taste, you can use it to water plants, it's good for them too. 

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