Minerals for Water Kefir Grains

Q. Is it necessary to remineralize my Water Kefir Grains?  If so, how do I do that?

A. Water Kefir Grains rely on minerals for their long-term health and productivity.  The Kefir Grains generally derive minerals from both the sugar and water used to make the kefir.  If high quality sugar and water are being used, it generally isn’t necessary to add minerals.

Whole sugars which are less processed will generally have higher mineral content than more processed sugars.  Therefore, whole sugars such as Rapadura, Sucanat, Molasses and the like will have higher mineral levels than white sugar.  Keep in mind though that the type of sugar used will also effect the taste of the kefir.  Whole sugars will yield a stronger tasting kefir than will white sugar.

What you can do: If possible, use a whole sugar or add a teaspoon of molasses to each quarter cup of white sugar.  Either method will increase the mineral levels.  If you are looking for a lighter tasting kefir and prefer to just use white sugar, keep reading as you’ll need to rely on your water source or adding minerals to keep your kefir grains healthy.

Kefir Grains can also derive minerals from the water.  Some water sources such as well water or spring water can be naturally high in mineral content and are ideal for making kefir.  On the other hand, distilled water, reverse osmosis water and water which has been filtered through a activated carbon filter (such as a Britta or Pur filter) often have extremely low or non-existent mineral levels.  If using one of these types of water, it is a good idea to either use a high mineral sugar or add minerals to your water (see below).  If using tap water, we do recommend filtering the water to remove as many additives, chemicals and contaminants as possible.  If filtering is not possible, aerating or boiling the water will generally remove at least the chlorine.

Adding Minerals
If it seems unlikely your Kefir Grains will derive sufficient mineral content from your available sugar and water sources, there are several options for adding minerals (choose one):

**A very small pinch of high quality salt (e.g. Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt, etc.)
**A few drops of Concentrace (a liquid mineral supplement available at many health food stores)
**A small piece of egg shell, generally about 1/4 shell per quart.  Keep in mind that if egg shell is added, it is important to ensure that you do not share your kefir or kefir grains with anyone with an egg allergy.
**Every few batches, add one teaspoon of molasses for each quarter cup of white sugar used.

    Bottom Line
    For most people making Water Kefir, adding minerals or remineralizing the kefir grains is probably unnecessary.  If either a high mineral sugar or high mineral water source is used, the kefir grains will likely be properly mineralized.  If it’s not possible to use a high mineral sugar or water, one of the above methods for adding minerals should be used to keep the Kefir Grains healthy.

    Julie Feickert

    Julie Feickert

    Julie Feickert started Cultures for Health in late 2008. She is the mother to three young children and enjoys cooking and reading. Her favorite cultured foods include water kefir and kombucha. Julie lives with her family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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