Water Kefir: Finding Brown Strands and Keeping a Healthy Grain to Sugar Ratio

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Last week we kicked off the water kefir journey with the rehydration and activation of the water kefir grains. I had thought the next logical step would be to start making the water kefir, but a few things came to mind first.

Namely, there is one question that comes up a lot in the beginning of rehydrating and activating the grains. Also, it is crucial to know what ratio of grains to sugar water you should be using. If you stretch your water kefir grains too thin you might end up stressing them and damaging them, and so we want to make sure we’re caring for them properly.

So, lets get to it.

Finding Brown Strands in Your Grains

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One of the common questions people ask about the water kefir grains is “What are these weird brown strands?” When I rehydrated my water kefir grains I found a few and took the picture above. My friend Bonni, a CFH Customer Support Rep, sent me the photo below of this occurrence as well.

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So, you can see why one might see this, wonder what it is, and maybe even be concerned.

No need to worry, though, if you come upon this unsightly scene. Bonni informed me that this is simply a bit of the residual unrefined sugar that the water kefir grains are brewed in at CFH. Because the sugar is unrefined, it has a dark hue, and in your packet of water kefir grains there may be a bit of residual sugar along with the dehydrated water kefir grains themselves.

If you find them while you’re straining out your water kefir grains, you can simply pick them out and dispose of them. They are harmless, though.

Proper Grains to Sugar Water Ratio

Believe me, once you start brewing water kefir you’re going to want to be making as much as you can. But, you also want to feed your grains properly so they’ll keep producing water kefir for you. So, it is good to be aware of the proper feeding ratios and just how much sugar water these grains can convert to water kefir for you.

CFH recommends 3-4 tablespoons of water kefir grains, which is what the dehydrated grains should rehydrate to, for 1-3 quarts of water. Each quart of water should contain at least 1/4 cup of sugar to feed the grains.

So, now that you’ve solved the mystery of the brown strands and have rehydrated your grains, you should be ready to make up to 1-3 quarts of water kefir per batch. And we’ll get to that next time.

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to three small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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