Saturday, July 6, 2013

Water Kefirs; I Think I Know Why Mine were Sick

I have for several months now, tried to get water kefirs up and going.  I started this time with a small amount of dehydrated water kefirs from Cultures for Health.  I ruined my last batch a couple years ago and didn't try again until January of 2013.  

I followed directions very carefully.  I used "Wholesome Sweeteners"
organic sucanat sugar and some bulk sucanat sugar I get at my local health food store.  I believe that was the problem...sucanat.

After a very short time they began to get slimy, like snot was growing around the crystals and the kefir was thick and syrupy.  It didn't have a bad taste, it was just syrupy.   I didn't think that was right.  The crystals didn't grow very big and they didn't seem to be multiplying.  

I checked online with Cultures for Health website and found directions for "cleansing and resting" water kefir grains.   I made copies of those directions and did as directed.  I cleaned them off  ( with distilled water) and mixed a "resting" solution for them and left them in that solution for a week and then tried to make kefir water again...with sucanat.  Within a couple batches they were slimy again the kefir was syrupy again.  I again cleaned them and put them in resting solution for a few days but their numbers and size diminished.  

Finally, I decided to try new food.  I measured 1/4 cup plain white sugar and 1/2 tsp. "Brer Rabbit" full flavor, dark molasses to one quart of chlorine-free water.  It seems to be working!   It must have been the minerals in the dark molasses.  The directions say that kefir grains need a consistent supply of minerals and I suppose that the sucanat just doesn't have enough.  

My kefirs are in 3rd batch of sugar and molasses and are getting bigger and more solid when I strain them.  I haven't noticed any slim yet and the resultant kefir water is not syrupy and it tastes good and had a definite fizz to it that the syrupy kefir didn't.   I hope this is the answer because I would like to sell these guys and have water kefir again for myself.