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.