Water Kefir Starter Instructions

September 16, 2019 • 0 comments

Water Kefir Starter Instructions


What You Get from us:

When you order live water kefir grains from The Family Cow, you'll receive 1/4 cup of active grains with sugar water in a plastic container sealed with a snap on lid. 

It's best to open and start growing your kefir right away. You can put the container of kefir grains in the fridge for several days but the earlier you get started, the better.

8 Supplies You'll Need:

1. 1/4 cup sugar. You can use any kind of sugar, although we like to use organic cane sugar.

2. Added mineral supply: Your choice of ONE of the following options: (Only use one of these at a time. It's best to rotate your mineral supply every few batches, for healthier grains over time.) We recommend doing this once or twice a week, not with every batch.
• A tablespoon of molasses
• A pinch of sea salt
• A pinch of baking soda
• One cleaned eggshell
• One squirt of trace minerals
• A couple of raisins

3. One 1-quart jar 

4. One rubber band 

5. A coffee filter, a cheese cloth or a sturdy paper towel 

6. One quart of spring or boiled-and-cooled-tap water. (Filtered, distilled, or R/O water NOT recommended.) 

7. One fine mesh strainer (NOT metal). This needs to be a fine strainer, not a colander used for noodles. 

8. Wooden or plastic stirring spoon. (Not metal.)

How To Make Your Water Kefir

1. Prepare your water. In a pot, heat the water slightly and mix in your sugar and mineral supply of choice (from list above). Stir to melt and mix in the sugar completely, and then let the water completely cool before the next step.

2. Empty the entire contents of the kefir bottle (all the grains, and any juices in the bottle) into your empty quart jar. Then, fill the jar up to about the 3/4 mark with your water-sugar-mineral mixture. Stir gently with NON-METAL spoon.

3. Cover the jar with your coffee filter and use the rubber band to seal it. Put the jar in a warm (78-82 degrees) place that gets light but not direct sunlight. If the jar is in a cool place, the kefir will still grow, but much more slowly. (Example location: You can place your kefir jar in a north-facing window, so the grains will get plenty of light and warmth, but no direct sunlight. DIRECT SUNLIGHT IS VERY BAD!)

4. Leave the jar there for 48 hours. You may want to gently stir your kefir after 24 hours, but this isn't required.

5. After 48 hours, strain your kefir grains out. Keep the strained juice in a container of your choice, preferably glass.

Now your kefir grains are ready to repeat the process, back up to Step One above, to start your second batch.

What You Can Do with Your Water Kefir

You can drink the fresh strained water kefir right away, if you'd like. Many people like to cool it in the fridge. For a great taste, try leaving a container of strained kefir in the fridge for up to 7 days.

But be careful! The water kefir will continue to ferment, even without the grains. The taste will change with time.

At the Family Cow, our favorite is flavored water kefir. Read on to learn how to flavor your water kefir!

Flavored Water Kefir Recipes 

Flavored water kefir is fun to make because you can use your imagination & your own ideas! The basic idea: adding some fruit or fruit juice will give the water kefir more sugar to continue to ferment even though you’ve removed the grains.

After you’ve strained off your grains, add some fruit or fruit juice to the finished water kefir. Add approximately ¼ cup of fruit or fruit juice per quart of water kefir. Screw on a tight lid and let it ferment on the counter at least 24 hours, 48 hours, or sometimes even longer. Fruit with more natural sugar will ferment faster & get more “fizz”.

How do you know when it is finished? That’s somewhat up to you, but often you will see bubbles floating at the top if it’s fermenting. If you use a canning jar with a canning lid and screw ring the lid will get firm and pop up. Then you know, it’s ready. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours and enjoy.

Remember, water kefir is a living culture so each batch may vary. Sometimes very little fizz will develop. It doesn’t mean your grains are dead, just try another batch and ferment the kefir longer the first time. It may take some experimenting and soon you will find your favorite flavors.

Here are some flavors we like: 

• Pineapple Orange, using pineapple juice and orange slices.
• Lemon Orange Twist, using lemon juice and orange slices
• Red Raspberry, using red raspberries, frozen or fresh
• Bumble berry Splash, using a mixture of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries or maybe even cherries) fresh or frozen.

After your first few batches you will notice that your kefir grains grow rapidly (considering you take good care of them). You can do four things with the extra grains: 

1. Eat them! They are very nutritious, packed with many beneficial probiotic bacteria. You can add them to your smoothies if you wish. 

2. Short-term storage – you can store water kefir grains in sugary water in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cold temperature will slow down their growth. Just make sure to rinse and change their water on weekly basis. 

3. Long-term storage – you can put the extra grains in a glass jar and freeze them. They can last for about 6 months or longer. Keep in mind that it may take a few batches to revive them after they’ve been frozen. They should be fine after that. 

4. Share them! As you accumulate more water kefir grains, just share the joy of making water kefir with family and friends. Give them your extra grains and teach them how to make their own natural “soda” at home.

Happy Water Kefir making!