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Frequently Asked Questions:
Please take a quick look at this page to see if any of your questions have already been answered. If you still have additional questions, please feel free to contact me.
Q. What is water kefir?
A. Water kefir is a refreshing fizzy beverage, similar to commercially available kombucha, fermented by Water Kefir Grains. The grains are a symbiotic association of bacteria and yeast in a polysaccharide matrix originally from opuntia cacti. With these grains you can make your own lacto-fermented water kefir and coconut water kefir. The grains also grow as they ferment, so you can make an unlimited amount of kefir. With proper attention and care, you will never have to purchase more grains.
Q. Why do I care about ingesting good bacteria?
A. Good bacteria in the gut ensures the appropriate absorption of vitamins and minerals, and synthesizes them for us as well A well functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health – the rest of our body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system. The diverse and multiple functions of gut flora reach far beyond the gut itself. Our immune system, for example, and having particular negative microbes in our digestive system can provide us with our own permanent source of toxicity. So no matter what we do, we can’t get better.
Q. Is it hard to make?
A. Not at all! It’s just a few simple steps. See my photo tutorial as well.
Q. Why the variable fermentation time?
A. The time you choose to ferment will depend on how you like it to taste. Letting it go longer produces a sourer beverage. Also, the longer you let it go, the more probiotics it will contain.
Q. Does water kefir contain dairy?
A. It doesn’t contain dairy, thus, ANYONE can nourish, cleanse and balance their abundant inner ecosystem effectively and naturally with water kefir. It contains over 40 strands of good bacteria and beneficial yeasts.
Q. What is beneficial yeast?
A. Beneficial yeast, as opposed to opportunistic yeast like Candida, are non colonizing yeasts, that simply take up some available space in your intestines without taking over while keeping Candida and other opportunistic from taking over.
Q. How is water kefir made?
A. Water kefir can be spring water solution or coconut water that is cultured by Water Kefir Grains. It is a simple and inexpensive process. After starting your kit you will be enjoying the benefits of kefir in just 48 hours or so.
Who should drink kefir?
A. Anyone and everyone. Kefir can be made into delicious drinks that kids LOVE. Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity.
Q. When should I drink kefir?
A. Any time of day is fine, but you may find that it is particularly helpful to you in the morning, to help you be more wakeful without stimulants, or in the early afternoon, when there is a natural dip in energy. I can tell you that after a tough workout I absolutely crave it. It can also be helpful to stave off hunger. This especially helpful for my kids while I’m making dinner!
Q. How much water kefir should I consume?
A. The amount one should consume really varies person to person. Water kefir is a very powerful probiotic, so it wise to go slowly. Most people can probably start at 1 ounce per day, and then after a few days try the same amount a few times per day. I started my children at ¼ tsp every other day. Let your body be your guide.
Q. How do I know if I’ve had too much?
A. If you are experiencing die off that is very uncomfortable, do yourself a favor and ease up. Skip a day. Abrupt changes in bowels are also a sign that you are just too enthusiastic about water kefir
Q. At what temperature should the grains ferment?
A. 70 degrees F is ideal. Cooler will slow fermentation. Warmer is ok, but it will ferment faster, so you’ll have to check it often. Warmer also works better for coconut water kefir.
Q. How long will the grains last?
A. Indefinitely, with proper care and attention. There are so many delicious ways of making water kefir, and I encourage you to experiment, BUT it is wise to go back to my master recipe every once in awhile to keep your grains in good shape. You may also want to store some in the fridge as your “reserve”.
Q. Do they need to be in a dark place?
A. No. I’ve grown them both in cabinets and on shelves, and both worked just fine.
Q. Where should I ferment them?
A. The ideal place would be the kitchen, @ 70 degrees F in a cabinet or shelf, not near any major appliances.
Q. How much sugar is left in fermented water kefir?
A. On average, the same amount as in 1 green apple.
Q. What can I do when I want to take a break from growing grains?
A. There are a number of things – first, you can put them in a capped jar in the fridge, covered in the master recipe solution. They’ll be fine in there for about 1 month for a longer period time you can strain, rinse and then freeze them in a capped jar (just be careful to leave room so your jar doesn’t break as it freezes)
Q. I don’t consume any sugar, can I use water kefir?
A. Yes. The sugar is fermenting the same as in kombucha. If you tolerate kombucha, you’ll be fine on WK. You can also try coconut water kefir, which doesn’t contain very much natural sugars to begin with.
What kind of sugar should I use?
A. Any dark brown organic sugar will be fine. You can experiment with different kinds, and if you’re ever having trouble fermenting, try a new sugar, it should just be that the grains need some different vitamins/minerals that could be provided from a different brown sugar.
Q. What kind of water should I use?
A. Spring or well water. Don’t use any water that doesn’t have minerals. (Distilled, RO filters, etc)
Q. What kind of molasses should I use?
A. Organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses.
Q. Do I have to use molasses?
A. For the most part, no. If you don’t like the taste, you don’t have to include it. Every once in awhile you may need to add it in if your water kefir grains are in need of minerals.
Q. What do you mean by secondary fermentation?
A. After draining the grains, add whatever juices, flavors you like to the finished water kefir, cap and let that ferment for a day or two.
What should water kefir taste like if I am making it correctly?
A. It is generally tart and fizzy, but it really depends on how long you let it ferment. You can taste it after two days of fermentation and see how you like it. If it is too sweet, let it go a bit more.
Q. What other sugars can I use to ferment water kefir?
A. I have heard of people successfully using raw organic honey, agave, maple syrup, and palm sugar. Feel free to experiment with any organic natural sweeteners with your extra grains (after they’ve grown a bit) Email me your success stories!
Q. What should I NOT use?
A. DO NOT use artificial sweeteners of any kind.
Q. What if it isn’t fizzy?
A. Try a secondary fermentation and see if that helps. Meanwhile, do another fermentation cycle with the grains. They might just need to adjust to your environment. Mine usually have some fizz after primary fermentation, more after secondary, but never as much as when I use coconut water, which is what I personally make with the grains. You can still drink and receive the benefits of the nonfizzy water kefir you made though, in the meantime
Q. I want to make yogurt by kefir Do I need to use kefir cultures or kefir starter?
A. You can make a drinkable milk kefir by adding 1 ounce of water kefir to any kind of milk (cow, goat, nut, coconut, etc) and allowing it to ferment for about 24hours. Check it periodically and refrigerate when it starts to thicken. You can also strain to afterwards through cheesecloth to give you a more scoop able kefir.
Q. Where do I store water kefir?
A. It is best stored in a closed container in the refrigerator
Q. Does the fermenting kefir need to be refrigerated?
A. No. It needs to be fermented at room temperature. Only refrigerate the finished water kefir after you have strained the grains, or when you are taking a break from kefir making.
Q. At what age is it safe to include kefir in a child's diet? What are safe amounts?
A. Obviously that depends on your comfort level as a parent. I wouldn’t want to give you any recommendation, but I can tell you that I did give young coconut kefir to my own child when she was a baby in small amounts, and drank it myself while breastfeeding.
Q. Is there any allergic reactions/side effects associated with the ingestion of kefir? If so, what are those reactions/side effects?
A. Kefir is a probiotic, just like, although more powerful than commercially made yogurt, kombucha, etc. It is best to start slowly - it is powerful. Whenever you change the makeup of your internal ecosystem, there can be "die-off". (If the new good bacteria are replacing some bad bacteria, Candida, etc.) Temporary symptoms of die-off include headache, general aches, nausea, diarrhea, etc. (Basically flu-like symptoms) Your body will be trying to get rid of toxins ASAP, just as when you are ill. If you aren't that toxic, you may not experience this.
Q. Do I fill the jar to the top with water after adding the grains and sugar?
A. Fill almost to the top, leaving about one inch from the top.
Q. What is the difference between milk and water kefirs?
A. The benefits are similar, in that they are fermenting out sugar and giving you beneficial bacteria and beneficial yeast, the main difference is your culturing medium. Coconut water kefir also has different benefits based on its own unique mineral/elements content. Of course water kefir is also a wonderful alternative if you don’t/can’t consume dairy
Q. How many calories does water kefir contain?
A. That would depend on how long it ferments, since the grains are digesting the sugar for you. If you like it very sour, It would have fewer calories. If you used coconut water it would be very low in calories simply because the coconut water starts with so
Few natural sugars to begin with that they are all fermented.
Q. What is the alcohol content in fermented water kefir?
A. It has been found in a couple studies now to contain about 0.038% - 2% alcohol, or
16-38 g/L (grams per liter). With the normal amount being around .08 or less (for a
common 48 hour ferment).
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