How Much Kefir Should I Drink?

How Much Kefir Should I Drink? 

Here is a question I get a lot. 

"Hi, Can you tell me how much milk kefir to drink each day? We just started this and we don't know how much we need, thank you… Debbie"

Hi Debbie, Thanks for your question. I think many people will find this question helpful!~

In a world where everything has a suggested use, or prescribed dosage, it is understandable that you may not know how much or how little kefir to drink for health. In fact, everyone responds differently, and there is no real firm answer to the question. There are, however some tips and guidelines I could share that may get you started on the right track. 

First, let me start with the answer on our Kefir Questions and Answers page.

How Much Kefir Should I drink?-

Kefir is a food with benefits (not a drug), but some people still have an adjustment period. If your digestion tends to be finicky, start with 1/4 cup after a meal once every day, and listen to your body. If you tolerate this fine, then increase the amount, eventually moving it to BEFORE meals, as the good bacteria will aid in digesting your food. I personally drink up to 4 cups a day. There's no real limit. Just drink it when you want.

This is a good basic guideline, however some people will experience a detox crisis. When that happens you may have to adjust the amount that you begin with. Maybe take a tablespoon after each meal until your body adjusts to it.

You can also help your new probiotic friends establish a home by feeding them properly. Eat plenty of vegetables of all kinds, and fruit and healthy oils in moderation, and eat less meat and non-fermented dairy. You don't have to cut them out, and become vegetarian, but simply stack the deck in favor of plant foods. 

Drink lots of water, too.

Soon you will be drinking kefir as much as you want, whenever you feel like having some. 

 


 

How To Freeze Kefir Grains For Long Term Storage

How Do You Freeze Kefir Grains?

The question of long term storage comes up quite frequently. First let me say that I do not recommend freezing water kefir grains. I find they store better dehydrated. So these instructions are for freezing milk kefir grains.

  1.  Strain the milk kefir grains from the kefir. 
  2. Gently rinse the grains with fresh clean water.
  3. Blot your milk kefir grains gently with a paper towel to soak up most of the water. 
  4. place the grains in a small mason jar or zip lock bag
  5. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk powder.
  6. Pop into the freezer.

I don't know how long the grains will stay viable like this. I have kept some in the freezer for 2 years and they worked when I took them out.

If you are interested in other ways to safely store milk kefir or water kefir grains, check out the links to the related posts directly below.

Has My Kefir Spoiled or Gone Bad?

I Left My Kefir Out For A Long time- Is It Still Safe To Drink?

I get this question a lot. The thing is, it is hard to establish a new habit, and once the novelty wears off, it is easy to forget to look after your kefir every day. When this happens, people sometimes leave their kefir unattended for  days, weeks or even months and then wonder if the grains are ruined. So let me address this question generally, and then we can go through some different scenarios in a little more detail.

Is it still safe to drink?

Maybe, but if you are not sure, strain the grains and dump the liquid and start over. 

Are the grains rotten, spoiled, or gone bad?

Maybe, but more likely we can salvage them. it depends on the situation though. 

So let's look at some different situations, but I want to warn you… after reading this, do not email me and say, "My grains were working just fine, I put them in fresh solution every day like I always do, and today when I woke up, there was an inch of blue mold on the top." If this is you, then check with your spouse or room-mate first and make sure you haven't been in a coma for 2 weeks, because mold does not grow into an inch of thick slime "while you sleep"! (just sayin', I've been doing this a long time! heheh) 

Milk or Water Kefir Sits On Counter For A Few Days-

In this case, the grains are fine, and you may even be able to still drink the kefir you've made. it will definitely be a little more tart, and likely have a little more alcohol and fizz than you are used to, but put it in a smoothie and you probably won't even notice a difference. 

Milk or Water Kefir Sits On Counter For A Week Or Two-

In this case, the grains are probably fine, but I would strain off the liquid and discard it. If the kefir sits out for too long, the balance of bacteria and yeast in the kefir can shift. It's probably not harmful, but not worth a chance. 

In this case, milk kefir will often get a fuzzy looking film on top. If it is white or off-white in color, it isn't mold. It'sjust a growth caused by the yeast. It's an indication that your kefir has sat for a while untended, but it isn't harmful. 

If the film is orange tinted, it is still fine. That's the fat in the milk changing color. 

If it is blue, green or black, that's mold. Skim it off and throw it out.

Milk or Water Kefir Sits In The Fridge For A Long Time-

Strain the grains and resume making kefir. It's probably fine. I've had water kefir grains in the fridge for almost a year untended and they've recovered just fine. I've had milk kefir grains in milk in the fridge for over 6 months and they have recovered fine. 

Kefir Has Been Around A Long Time-

The kefir grains you are using likely originated in Tibetan Mountains many centuries ago. Certainly they predate refrigeration. In fact, fermenting milk was a way to preserve it before refrigeration. In those days, a sac of milk and kefir grains hung by the door, and everyone who came in gave it a knock to keep it stirred up. They dispensed kefir from the sac and topped it up with milk as needed. 

So if your kefir has been untended for a long time, EVEN IF there is a small amount of mold on top, chances are you can revitalize them again. 

How To Rehabilitate Your Kefir Grains

If your kefir did sit out on the counter top for too long, they are probably still fine.

  • First, if there is any film, crust, or discoloration on top, take a spatula and scrape this off and discard it. 
  • pour the contents of your jar into a plastic mesh strainer, and strain off the liquid. Discard if you think it is too old. 
  • Gently rinse the grains- On a day to day basis you never rinse the grains, but if they've sat for a long time you just want to remove any surface crud that doesn't belong on them. Water kefir grains get rinse in fresh cool water. Milk kefir grains can be rinsed in water or milk. 
  • Put the clean grains in a new clean jar and start again. They make take a few days to recover, depending on how long they were without food, but most of the time they are working again in a day or three.
  • Set a reminder on your computer or smart phone to chnage the solution once every day or two, depending on your preference. 

If after you read this article you still are not sure, you should probably throw out your grains and start over. Kefir grains are so inexpensive! Just visit the order page to see for yourself! So for a measley amount of money, it doesn't make sense to worry. 

p.s. I have found the Perfect Pickler Click here to see it.  

 


 

Making Coconut Kefir With Kefir Grains

Can You Make Coconut Water Kefir or Coconut Milk Kefir With Kefir Grains?

Coconut water and coconut milk for making kefirI have lots of requests from people who want to make non-dairy kefir water or kefir milk. I also have many people writing to tell me how they have failed. I had tried and failed on many different occasions to make kefir soda from coconut water before I figured out why it did not work out so well.

So how come I couldn't make coconut kefir with my kefir grains when so many people say it is possible?

A big problem in Canada is that coconut water, and some coconut milk, is sold in tetra packs and they have preservatives for an extra long shelf life. Even the larger containers can have enough preservatives in them to unbalance the bacteria and yeast of the grains. (Maybe they don't use preservatives in their coconut water in other parts of the world. This is a big deal. If the sulphates preservatives on a single fig will kill your grains, what do you think will happen when the whole drink is laced with it?

If you guessed, "a smelly stinkin' mess!" you win the prize! If you guessed, "disappointment and despair!" you would ALSO be absolutely correct! I am a bit of a perfectionist… don't I hate it when something is not right several times over, when everyone else says it works!

There is another problem with making non-dairy kefir milks. The 'internet' says that you can make kefir milk using non-dairy milks like almond or coconut milk and using milk kefir grains. First, this is not an option for a vegan. Milk kefir grains are made from milk, and they must be put in milk every so often or else they will die. They live by eating lactose.

So here is the solution that WORKS (because I tried it!) and keeps everyone happy. Don't use kefir grains to make coconut kefir milk or kefir water. Instead use the water kefir you have made with the water kefir grains.

By now you probably already know that kefir makers often will do a second ferment of their kefir. So using the concept of a second ferment I had an idea.

First you need to buy water kefir grains and follow the water kefir recipe to make your kefir soda. Then you strain off the grains like you normally would, and use them to make your next batch of kefir water. NOW take 1/4 to 1/2 cup of finished water kefir, and put it in a jar with 2-4 cups of coconut milk or coconut water and let it sit for another 24-48 hours. (I used 1/4 cup for coconut milk and 1/2 cup for coconut water).

NOW you have a truly vegan coconut kefir and you didn''t have to go through 2 cups of kefir grains before you got it!

Enjoy!

Making Kefir Thicker

Is Kefir Supposed To Be Thick?

If so, why is my milk kefir quite thin and curdy?

The question of thicker kefir came from a customer who purchased milk kefir grains and was surprised at the thin texture.

If you have bought kefir in a plastic jug from the supermarket, you may be expecting a thick, somewhat viscous liquid… something like a runny commercial yogurt. The truth is, most companies use gelling or thickening agents to make their kefir look and feel like that.

If you look at the pictures below you will get an idea of what thickness you can expect from your kefir. Both are perfectly normal.

Fat Free Milk Kefirwholemilkkefir425

These pictures are from Tammy over at TammysRecipes.com

In the first picture the kefir is made with skim milk (fat free milk) and in the second picture the kefir is made with whole milk (full fat milk). You can see that just by varying the amount of fat in your milk you can affect the thickness.

KefiranThe viscosity (full smooth feel) that is found in the second picture is not simply a result of fat content. This texture is attained through healthy reproduction of the kefir grains and the production of kefiran. Kefiran is the slimy stuff you see sometimes on the outside of the kefir grain. When you pull apart a healthy kefir grain you should see stringy stuff as you break it apart… kind of the way hot mozzarella cheese looks when you take a steaming slice of pizza. So it is the kefiran that gives home made kefir a lot of the viscosity.

There are a couple of things you can do to increase the growth of your grains, and the kefiran (and thus increase the viscosity and thickness of your kefir. 

In fact there was a scientific study undertaken to discover just that. The conclusion of this study was that room temperature and "agitation rate" or how often you stir it, were the 2 largest factors. The best temperature to encourage kefiran and kefir grain growth is  between 25 and 30 degrees celcius, with 25 being the optimum temperature. It was also discovered that an agitation rate of 80 RPM was best. In the kitchen setting, the first one is hard to achieve in a Canadian kitchen in the winter, and the second one virtually impossible in any kitchen. This certainly explains why my kefir is thicker and has a more pleasant mouth feel in the summer months.

My goal when making kefir is simply to keep my (unheated) incubating cupboard as warm as possible and stir (or gently shake) as often as possible. Whenever I have the oven or stove top on I move my kefir closer to the stove to take advantage of the heat. Otherwise, I keep it in a cupboard over the stove, on an interior wall.

More milk is better than less milk, and a higher volume of milk encourages the production of kefiran. NOTE: I used to recommend 1 tablespoon per 1-2 cups like everyone else on the internet, but after reviewing the scientific data, it appears that the grains grow faster and stay healthier in MORE milk! So I now put my grains in more milk. 1:50 kefir grains:milk – 1 tablespoon of kefir grains in 3 1/4 cups of milk! 

I remember reading a story about how kefir would hang in the doorway of a Caucasus mountain home, and everyone who came through the door gave the sac a poke on the way by, thereby stirring the contents.

There are other things that encourage the growth of the grains and kefiran. The type of sugar lactose, not surprisingly, which explains why the grains will shrink and eventually die if they are used to culture non-dairy milks and other liquids. Added vitamins did not increase the thickness nor other additives. It has been observed that lower fat milks do produce a thinner result.

The final trick to thickening your kefir is refrigeration AFTER you strain the grains. Some people call this the "second ferment". After straining the grains you can always drink your kefir immediately, but I really love it after it sits for a bit in the fridge. The procedure that gives me the thickest tastiest kefir is to put the strained and grainless into a mason jar, screw on cover and put it in the refrigerator for a couple of days (24-48 hours or more). The kefir will not only get thicker, but will get quite fizzy. You might think this would also cause it to get more sour, but I find the opposite to be true. To my taste, this refigerated milk kefir gets more tangy (as opposed to sour) and has a fuller flavor. 

So the trick to thick kefir, and growing kefir grains is higher fat content, a warm kitchen, and frequent stirring, and finally to refrigerate after straining the grains, for a second ferment.

Nice Thick Milk KefirEven after all is said and done, I do not get thick kefir like Tammy's in the winter. It is just to cool in the house. Here is what my kefir looks like in the winter. As you can see, it is somewhere between the two examples above. 

Dehydrated Grains- Bringing Them To Life In Pictures

Instructions for Brewing Kefir With Dehydrated Grains

I have seen people say that dehydrated grains are harder to keep alive, or harder to “wake up”. If that is the case, then they most likely were not dehydrated properly. In order to preserve the qualities of the bacteria and yeast, and have them go dormant with out killing them off, they should be dehydrated in a dehydrator with no heat. It’s not that hard to do, but still it needs to be done this way.

If your water kefir grains are properly dehydrated, and you follow the easy instructions for rehydrating them and brewing your first batch of kefir, you will have live active, happy, water kefir grains in as little as 3-4 days.

1 Tablespoon of Dehydrated Grains

Instructions for Rehydrating Dehydrated Water Kefir Grains- 

If you have ordered dehydrated water kefir grains, they will arrive packaged in a ziplock bag and shipped in a padded envelope for a safe journey. When they arrive, if you can not make your kefir immediately, place them in the refrigerator. They should be safe there for several months (up to a year or more). 

#1- Gather your ingredients. 1/4 C of your sugar of choice. Here I have organic brown sugar. Lemon or lime slice. Peeled if it isn’t organic Unsulphured dried fruit. 3 Cups water. Minerals-liquid minerals, pink himilayan salt, a cleaned egg shell piece (any 1 of those will do)…and only needed if you are using distilled water stripped of minerals. Here I am using just a few drops of Concentrace liquid minerals purchased at my local organic “health food” store.

You will also need a glass jar, coffee filter and ring lid or elastic band for cover and wooden or plastic stir stick.

Water Kefir Ingredients

A NOTE ABOUT WATER: If you are using bottled water you absolutely must read the ingredients on the back label. Just because it is called “Spring Water”, that does not mean nothing has been added. Natural spring water will have minerals, and may have a slight amount of naturally occurring fluoride. It should not have any chlorine.

Do NOT use ozonated water. Ozone is added to kill bacteria. See here for reference.

Do NOT use alkaline water (kangen water etc). We add lemon or lime to give the water a slight acidic edge. The act of fermentation increases the acidity of the brew. An alkaline environment will encourage an imbalance of bacterial growth and you could end up with some nasty bacterial contamination! 


#2- Mix all ingredients, except water kefir grains, in the glass jar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Water Kefir Basic Recipe


#3- Add 1 Tablespoon of dehydrated water kefir grains.

Dehydrated Water Kefir Grains- 1 Tablespoon


#4- Cover the jar loosely with a coffee filter, paper towel etc and secure it with an open mason jar ring, or an elastic. This allows gases to escape while keeping out flies and other unwanteds. 

Dehydrated Water Kefir Crystals Rehydration Process

That is all there is to it! Now just put it in a safe place (I use the cupboard over my stove) and wait for the magic to start)


Here is what it looks like 16 hours later. The grains are not just swelling. They are also growing as they begin to eat the sugars. After a long hibernation, your grains are hungry.

 

Dehydrated Kefir Grains Rehydration Day 1


Day #2- The grains have now been in their sugar water for nearly 48 hours. Notice there are a couple of grains starting to dance in the jar. This could start happening at any time in the first 4 days, and is a good sign. It means that the grains are beginning the fermentation process, and creating gases that cause the water kefir grains to float. 

At this point, change the sugar water, and some people will tell you to just leave it alone. Especially if it is warm in your kitchen. I used to recommend leaving it for a few more days but someone reported mold after 5 days, and that’s not good. (revised September 17, 2015)

Day 2 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


Day #3- The grains are a little bigger now and the sugar solution is beginning to lighten. 

Day3 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


Day #4- Your dehydrated grains are fully hydrated now and probably have started to grow in a noticable way. The sugar water solution is quite a bit lighter than when you started. You may also notice tiny bubbles at the top of the liquid, and floating up from the grains on the bottom. You are starting to notice a “beery” fermented kind of smell. 

Day4 Dehydrated Kefir Grains


#5- It is now time to strain the kefir grains and start with your first ferment. Using a non-metal strainer, strain the sugar solution off of the grains. Discard the lemon or lime, and the dried fruit. 

Strain the water kefir grainsYou can discard the liquid, or drink it. At this point it will have started to ferment, but it won’t be a fully fermented water kefir beverage. It will be more like a sugar/water solution with some probiotics in it. Still good for you if you don’t want to waste it! 

Re-hydrated Water Kefir Grains

Now that your dehydrated kefir crystals are fully hydrated, you are now ready to create your first brew of water kefir. It’s time to go over to the water kefir brewing instructions

Here you can purchase dehydrated water kefir grains

Taking a Break- A Kefir Vacation

A Water Kefir Vacation

Storing Kefir Grains When On VacationSometimes looking after your kefir grains can seem a little like having a pet! They need to be fed and watered, and kept in a warm place. What happens when you want to take a break from making kefir? Do you have to get a babysitter? Thankfully, the answer is no.  There are several ways that you can keep your grains safe and store them for a week, a month, or even up to a year! 

Scenario #1– You are going away for a week or so, and want to make sure your grains stay healthy until you can get back to your routine. It is really easy to store your grains for a short break. Simply mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with a cup of water in a glass jar with your grains. Put the cover on the jar and place it in the refrigerator. That's all there is to it!

Your grains will ferment and grow much more slowly in the refrigerator and they have enough food for a week. In fact, they will likely be fine for a month or two like this.  When you return home, and are ready to start making water kefir again, simply dig out your old recipe and carry on. The first batch may not be up to standard but it will not take long until they are up to speed. 

Scenario #2– You are really excited about being a Canadian snowbird this winter! From the first of January until the end of March you plan to be laying on the white sandy beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. How can you keep your kefir grains healthy if they won't be fed for 3 months? Is storing kefir grains for longer than a week very difficult?

There is an easy solution here too! Freeze them! Your water kefir grains will last for a short time- 3-6 months at a time, in the freezer. Take 3 tablespoons of water kefir grains and put them in a ziplock bag. Then put the closed bag in a container and place in the freezer. When you want to start making kefir water again, simply take them from the freezer and allow them to defrost at room temperature. Then make kefir as usual. As above, it may take a batch or two to get your usual batch of kefir because they have been dormant for a bit.

Scenario #3– You are tired of kefir and don't know when you may want to make it again, but you want to keep some water kefir grains in case you want to start up again at a later date. In situations where you do not know how long it will be until you make kefir again, the best thing to do is to dehydrate some grains. You will need a dehydrator so if you don't have one, perhaps you could borrow one from a friend. Place some grains in a single layer in your dehydrator, set the temperature at the lowest setting (if it has a temperature guage) and leave until the grains are completely dry. Then place in a clean dry jar, cover the jar tightly and put it in the fridge.

The grains can keep up to a year like this.  So there you have it. If you need to take a vacation from water kefir making there are several ways to ensure you have healthy grains to continue getting good quality probiotics.  At this moment I have grains in the refrigerator in sugar water, grains dehydrated in a jar AND grains in the freezer. I want to make sure I have some back up in case anything happens to the batch I am currently brewing with.   

Water Kefir Instructions in Pictures

Instructions- Making Water Kefir With Live Kefir Grains

If you live in Canada, and have ordered LIVE Kefir Grains, they will arrive double bagged and secured in a padded mailing envelope for a safe trip. If you can not make your water kefir immediately, place them in the refrigerator as is until you can get to them… hopefully within a day of receiving them. Here are my simple instructions for making perfect water kefir every time.

 

Instructions for Making Water Kefir


#1- Gather your ingredients. 1/4 C of your sugar of choice. Here I have organic brown sugar. 1 tsp Black Strap Molasses (optional but I always use it for extra minerals) Lemon or lime slice. Peeled if it isn't organic Unsulphured dried fruit. 3 Cups water. (The grains to water ratio is about 1 TBSP grains to 1 Cup water) Minerals-liquid minerals, pink himilayan salt, a cleaned egg shell piece (any 1 of those will do)…and only needed if you are using distilled water stripped of minerals. Here I am using just a few drops of Concentrace liquid minerals purchased at my local organic "health food" store.

You will also need a glass jar, coffee filter and ring lid or elastic band for cover and wooden or plastic stir stick.

Water Kefir Ingredients

 

A NOTE ABOUT WATER: If you are using bottled water you absolutely must read the ingredients on the back label. Just because it is called "Spring Water", that does not mean nothing has been added. Natural spring water will have minerals, and may have a slight amount of naturally occurring fluoride. It should not have any chlorine.

Do NOT use ozonated water. Ozone is added to kill bacteria. See here for reference.

Do NOT use alkaline water (kangen water etc). We add lemon or lime to give the water a slight acidic edge. The act of fermentation increases the acidity of the brew. An alkaline environment will encourage an imbalance of bacterial growth and you could end up with some nasty bacterial contamination! 

I use Nestle Pur Life bottled water when I do not have access to my well. 

#2- Mix all ingredients, except water kefir grains, in the glass jar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Water Kefir Basic Recipe


#3-Add 3 tablespoons of  Kefir Grains to the jar with the sugar water.

As a general rule of thumb, I estimate about 1 tablespoon of grains per 1 cup of water. 

Add Kefir Grains


#4- Cover jar loosely. Here I am using the mason jar ring with a coffee filter. You can also use a paper towel, or dish towel with an elastic band. The idea is to keep out bugs and stray bacteria from the air while allowing the released carbon dioxide an escape route. 

Cover Jar Loosely

#5- Put it somewhere that doesn't get too hot or cold, and walk away. I usually just set mine in the cupboard above the stove. 

That's it…If you followed instructions you can simply let the grains work their magic.


Kefir Ready To Ferment


A day and a half later… look how much my grains have grown! This is a good sign that the grains like what you are doing. Keep up the good work! 

Kefir Grains Have Grown


#6- Strain the water kefir into a clean jar. Use plastic or wooden utensils.

Strain the water kefir grains


#7- Look at how much I have from just 3 tablespoons. This is just 30 hours later! Remove and discard the used lemon and dried fruit. (hint: you can eat them!) 

Strained Kefir Grains


#8- Take 3 tablespoons of your strained grains and start again! As long as you give your grains a little sugar and a little water every few days (or follow my instructions if you want to take a break from making kefir) you will have healthy grains that will last a lifetime! 

Drink the kefir you have made now, or add some fruit juice or flavoring, cover tightly and ferment for aother day or 2.  

Add Kefir Grains


Purchase Water Kefir Grains

Good Grains Gone Bad

Has Your Water Kefir Gone Bad?

Sometimes kefir grains go bad. They can become slimy, or the water kefir becomes thick and syrupy, the grains develop a white film, or they start to smell bad. Don't throw out your grains just yet! You can often bring them back to health again with a little trouble shooting and some TLC.

First, no matter what the problem may be, you need to check all the ingredients you are using.

  • Is your water fresh with no added chemicals? (no added chlorine or flouride)- SolutionUse bottled water, or boil water for 10 minutes and then let cool before using to remove chlorine. Fluoride can not be removed this way. You need to use bottled water if your municipality adds fluoride. Even bottled water that is labeled "spring water" can have bad additives like chlorine, sulphites, and other unwanted ingredients. Read labels!
  • Are your ingredients free of preservatives?- SolutionThe one that often seems to get by unnoticed is sulphur added to dried fruit. Ths is a preservative. Choose unsulphured dried fruit such as raisins or apricots. Honey can casue a problem too because it has anti-microbial properties.Preservatives in water kefir make for bad grains!
  • Are you using reactive metal utensils? Solution Make sure you are using a glass jar (not plastic) and plastic or wooden utensils. Stainless steel is ok, but I avoid metals just to be on the safe side.
  • Do you have cross contamination? Solution Don't culture different fermented foods or beverages in the same cupboard. Bacteria and yeast can become airborne and cross contaminate. This means if you have milk kefir and water kefir they should be placed in different cupboards.

If any of the above are present, and your kefir seems bad or off somehow, correct the issue, rinse your grains gently in fresh, cool water, and try making a fresh batch of water kefir. If after a few days the problem persists, then you need to take further action.

  1. Drain the grains and rinse them gently in cool fresh water.
  2. Add them to a clean glass jar
  3. Mix a sugar solution of 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar with 2 cups of cool fresh water and add to grains.
  4. Place jar in refrigerator for 3-4 days to allow the grains to rest. Rinse the grains and change the sugar water solution daily and discard.
  5. On day 4 or 5 use the water kefir recipe  to make a fesh batch of kefir. It may take sevearl days, up to a week, to get a fresh balance batch of water kefir after rehabilitating the grains. When the grains are refrigerated, frozen or dehydrated, they go into a state of partial or full dormancy, so it may take a few batches to bring them back to health again.

Grains can be more sluggish in the winter. Try moving your culture to an inside cupboard. Cupboards along an outside wall may be quite cool and causing slower fermentation and growth of your water kefir grains.

If you see little air bubbles in your culture, and it smells lightly yeast or 'beery', be patient. These are good signs that your rehabilitation is working.

Tips- Water Kefir Making

Tips and Troubleshooting:Tips for kefir making

  • If your grains are dehydrated, the process is the same, but discard the first ferment. It may take up to a week to fully hydrate the grains.
  • Water kefir grains will often double in size each week or so. If yours are not, they may still be making wonderful kefir, but something could be perfected. 
  • Do not use water that is chlorinated or fluoridated (Britta filter workswell … or buy spring water) 
  • Use only unsulphured dried fruit such as apricots or raisins. Sulphur is added as a preservative and will kill your grains.
  • Never add anything to your grains that is used to preserve food, or kill bacteria. This means avoid preservatives of any kind. 
  • Do not use honey in place of sugar. Honey is a natural antibiotic and could damage grains.
  • The finished product smells slightly yeasty or beery. If it smells like vinegar or otherwise off, your grains need some rehab. Don't drink kefir water that smells rancid or too sour. 
  • Water Kefir gets very fizzy. A build up of gases could cause bottle explosion. If you are going to keep water kefir longer than a few days, store in bottles designed for brewing. Open your bottles over a sink in case the liquid fizzes up and out of the bottle when opening. 
  • If you ordered live kefir grains and they arrive frozen in the winter, simply allow them to defrost at room temperature, and then follow instructions. 🙂
  • It is not necessary to use organic sugar or fruit in order to make kefir. I use organic ingredients because I prefer to limit chemicals in my foods. 
  • If you are using distilled water, or are boiling your water and letting it cool before use, you may need to add a few drops of minerals, or add a piece of egg shell. I use Concentrace Liquid minerals. If you do add minerals, a few drops will do. Too many minerals is just as bad as not enough. 

See Also: Good Grains Gone Bad for some more tips and specific issues you might encounter when making water kefir.