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.

Sugar
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.

Water
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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    Comments

      • Julie FeickertJulie says

        It may. Adding minerals is a good one and really can’t hurt as long as you don’t over do it. That would be a good first step. If that doesn’t work, let us know and we can walk you through bottling techniques, etc. that may also help.

      • Shaina says

        It’s pretty common to add egg shells to kefir grains to help strengthen them. I wouldn’t be able to say whether they’re safe for someone with an egg allergy–it would really depend on the person and the allergy. It’s always a good idea, when using egg shells, to clean them thoroughly and heat-sterilize them in an oven.

    1. Jacqui says

      I find that after I have drunk the Water Kefir that my face gets hot and red…..I presume this is because of increased circulation, but I don’t like the feeling or look……have you any notion why this is happening?….thank you

      • Shaina says

        I wouldn’t be able to tell you, since it really depends on the person. It would be best to check with your healthcare professional to find out what could be going on.

    2. says

      My water kefir grains weren’t multiplying so I started adding baking soda like the site suggests on how to get them to multiply and now the grains are so tiny that many of them slip through the strainer when I strain them out but I guess they are multiplying because there are always around the same amount after each batch even though I lose them through the strainer. I’m using spring water and was using organic cane sugar and just switched over to turbinado. Any insight on what might be going on and/or suggestions to help? They are still making good tasting water kefir. Thanks!

      • Shaina says

        Hi Jessica! Water kefir grains apparently go through a growth cycle as time goes on, first growing bigger and bigger, then breaking down until they’re almost like sand. I have a lot of batches going, and the kefir grains multiply like crazy, but sometimes I just have a jar full of little granules! They usually grow big again pretty shortly. though. Baking soda is a good way to keep them strong and healthy! You can also use clean egg shells or blackstrap molasses as an alternative.

    3. says

      Good quality grains last indefinitely, Simonette. Actually, washing them on a regular basis will wash off their natural protection. You should avoid touching them with metal or with your fingers and curds on the grains are perfectly fine. Goat milk doesn’t curd them much, but cow milk does because of the difference in the natural composition. The natural homogenization in the goat milk makes kefir smoother and leaves fewer curds on the grains. You can compost, eat, share, freeze extra grains. They do grow a lot when cared for properly!

    4. Stacy says

      Does Concentrace, in addition to keeping kefir grains productive, add nutrition in terms of the minerals it includes?

    5. Shaina says

      You can use brown sugar with kefir, but if you have fairly soft water, it’s a good idea to add some extra minerals, because brown sugar doesn’t actually have all that much molasses in it. If you have fairly hard water, though, brown sugar will be fine.

    6. Heike says

      I have been making water kefir for about three weeks now, but the grains were multiplying too fast so I put them in the fridge with molasses and some brown sugar. When I pulled them out to make a batch they were brown. I rinsed them off, but haven’t been able to get a successful coconut water kefir since. Water gets slimy and thick with floating white strings…please help

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