If you've received or bought water kefir grains - this is how to wake them up and get brewing. If you are looking for grains - dehydrated grains are great because you can wait until you're ready to start brewing, they post and keep well and are also a wonderful present. If you need grains - find some here. 

Once woken, your water kefir grains are a living thing - they need a bit of care. Eventually, you might see them as a kind of pet, in fact, sometimes quite demanding pets, that will provide you with not only a probiotic powerhouse, a delicious carbonated drink, a very cool mixer, a low alcohol solution or replacement but something amazing to talk and think about for as long as you tend to them. They are something to pass on, give to friends, quench a thirst. Provide relief to an upset tummy, or a tired microbiome. They tend to be very good for a slow and sluggish system (if you know what I mean...).

At worst, however, this SCOBY can become a nagging pain, reminding you that you have work to do, something to feed........or is something you've killed. I think that's why I have a business in Water kefir brewing. Sometimes they can be annoying and unpredictable.

Water kefir grains are not grains - they are called that simply because of their shape - and have nothing to do with gluten or carbohydrates. The grains are another kind of SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast ) - a polysaccharide matrix of bacteria and yeast that keep each other alive and happy as long as they are fed and kept in the right conditions. Water kefir goes by many names, one of them is Tibicos, another is Snow Lotus... different versions have been found all over the world. You can read more about it in my book - but for now - let's do this. 



Ingredients and Equipment

Good water is important when you are brewing water kefir. If you have rain water available - that is the best. After that - good spring water - and then lastly your tap water. To remove chlorine you can leave it in the jar you intend using, open, over night which can get rid of quite a bit. Or use a good filter. Don't worry too much - but perhaps use this as a way to learn more about your water. 

  • 1 litre water
  • 1/4 cup organic raw sugar
  • 1 vial/approx. 50g of The Fermentary dehydrated water kefir grains (Of course they don't have to be ours, but  this recipe is for ours, I know ours and can guarantee ours).  

Equipment and a note on sterilising

Don't be too worried about sterilisation - we are growing bacteria, not trying to obliterate it. Nice, clean jars from the dishwasher or very hot water, but no need heavy bleaches that may leave any residue that would kill your bacteria. Boiling water is enough for sterilising in this case. 

  • 2 litre Jar with lid or cheesecloth
  • measuring cups/ willingness to use guess-timation skills
  • Wooden spoon or clean stirring stick

How to wake them up

  1. Empty your vial of dehydrated water kefir grains into a jar
  2. Pour over 3 - 4 cups of water
  3. Add about a quarter of a cup of organic raw sugar to the water and stir gently to dissolve the sugar and agitate the grains a little.
  4. Pop a lid on your jar and leave it for 4 days to a week in room temperature, no need for it to be dark in fact, they may like a lovely sun bath for a few hours.
  5. They will start to rehydrate and wake up. They should be all plump and alive looking even bounce in your hand after this time.

Get your kit ready for the brewing stages while you wait. Go to the 'How to brew water kefir' recipe, have a look and get prepared. You're going to need a few things. 

What if...

If they don't appear to be waking up - if the water is still quite sweet, and there is no action in the jar - even when you give it a little whack - they may need some love. Take them out and start again-  adding the sugar again, fresh water, but also a piece of fresh ginger, a couple slices of lemon with peel on and wax washed off if not organic, a touch of bicarb., and let it sit again for a few days. It should do the job.  

If you feel you need support, we have a closed Facebook group called Ferm Fam - go ahead and join that - it's a place where you can post photos, ask questions, and learn a bit more. OR - even better - grab my book, and come to one of our events or workshops. There's nothing quite like hands on for learning.  We love to share and connect - hope to see you soon. x

Written by Sharon Flynn

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