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Hi all,

I was recently given some water kefir grains and also a ginger beer bug.

Water kefir produces a sugary, bubbly drink which is beneficial for your dygestive system and over-all health.

You start with a small amount of grain and it grows in a jar of water and sugar with a few raisins to show when it is ready to strain.

Once the raisins are all floating on the top (2 days in mild waether, only 1 day in hot weather), you drain the liquid into a bottle, seal and leave for secondary fermentation,

and you rinse your kefir grains under cold water and start another brew.

Healthy water kefir reproduces itself at a rate of 100-150% with each brew, so you are continuously ending up with more, giving you plenty of opportunities to experiment or pass it on to friends and family.

I have just completed my first brew and its really not bad! You can also flavour your brews with fruit juice or honey.

Heres a little info i dreged up, and i will soon have spare water kefir grains and ginger beer bug to pass onto any kiwi members who wish to try it.

http://tibicos.org/faq/kefir-health-benefits/

"Q. What is Kefir?
A. Kefir is a hand-crafted, effervescent, cultured and enzyme-rich probiotic beverage filled with friendly microbes to help balance your inner-ecosystem. This beverage can only be made with live Kefir Grains. The term Kefir Grains describes the look of the culture only and can be a misnomer as they do not contain any grain such as wheat or rye. There are two types of grains, Water Kefir Grains and Milk Kefir Grains. In general, both types of Kefir Grains are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast in a polysaccharide matrix. Water Kefir Grains are cultured in a solution of sugar and water. Water Kefir Grains can also culture in natural fruit juices containing sugar or young coconut water. Milk Kefir Grains are cultured in dairy including cow milk, goat milk, or sheep milk.

Q. Why drink Kefir?
A. Drinking beneficial bacteria will improve digestion and thus overall health. Foremost, a healthy digestive system ensures absorption of vitamins and minerals into the rest of the body which is critical to maintaining health. Over time poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, and many other factors contribute to a digestive track ridden with toxins and harmful bacteria and opportunistic yeast. These plague the immune system preventing absorption and digestion of vital nutrients into the rest of the body. Over time the buildup of toxins deplete our energy and prevent healing from disease. By introducing friendly bacteria and beneficial yeast into the diet on a daily basis we are constantly fighting the war against toxins and harmful microbes inside our digestive tract. Ancient chinese medicine believe digestion to be a critical starting point to improving ones health.

Q. What are beneficial yeasts?
A. Beneficial yeasts found in Kefir can dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by protecting the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming an army that cleans up and strengthens your intestines. The body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites and preventing opportunistic yeast like Candida from taking over.

Q. How does Kefir compare to yogurt?
A. Overall, commercially available yogurt is much less effective than Kefir. Yogurts may be pasteurized killing all beneficial microbes. Some products contain synthetic stabilizers which make them more difficult to digest. More importantly commercial products have less potent probiotics. Specially, the bacteria and yeast found in commercial yogurt are transient meaning they will not colonize your digestive tract. Kefir contains several major strains of beneficial bacteria not commonly found in yogurt (e.g., Lactobacillus kefyr, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris, and Lactococcus lactis subsp. diacetylactis). Kefir also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir, which can dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by protecting the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming an army that cleans up and strengthens your intestines. The body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Q. Who should drink Kefir?
A. Everyone. Kefir is excellent for healthy men and women, pregnant and nursing women, children, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity.

Q. When should I drink Kefir?
A. Anytime. It may be helpful in the morning as a replacement for caffeine. It works well in the afternoon as an energy boost. It may be used to reduce cravings for food or sweets. Coconut Water Kefir may be best after exercise to rehydrate and revitalize your body.

Q. How much Water Kefir should I consume?
A. Water kefir is a very powerful probiotic. It is more powerful than commercially available Kefir and Kombucha. Most people may start with 1 ounce per day. Within a few days you can increase it to 1 ounce a few times per day. Children or elderly may want to start with 1/4 ounce per day. As you improve your digestive system and release toxins you may consume more and more. Listen to your body.

Q. How do I know when I consumed to much?
A. As the digestive tract improves and rebuilds with beneficial microbes, toxins will leave the body. Some temporary symptoms may include headache, general aches, nausea, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. This is the body’s natural way of cleansing and detoxing with the help of the new army of beneficial microbes introduced. If these symptoms become uncomfortable reduce consumption or skip a day. A very toxic body may benefit from a slower cleansing to avoid this discomfort. If the body is less toxic to begin with these symptoms may never be experienced.

Q. What age can children begin to consume Kefir?
A. Ultimately this depends on your judgement as a parent. Mothers may give Coconut Water Kefir to babies in very small amounts. Mothers may also consume Coconut Water Kefir while breastfeeding.

Q. What are possible side effects or allergic reactions to Kefir?
A. Water Kefir is a very powerful probiotic. It is more powerful than commercially available Kefir and Kombucha. As the digestive tract improves and rebuilds with beneficial microbes, toxins will leave the body. Some temporary symptoms may include headache, general aches, nausea, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. This is the body’s natural way of cleansing and detoxing with the help of the new army of beneficial microbes introduced. If these symptoms become uncomfortable reduce consumption or skip a day. A very toxic body may benefit from a slower cleansing to avoid this discomfort. If the body is less toxic to begin with these symptoms may never be experienced."

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let's hope some ozzi member has the same culture, as i'm keen now to try this.

i only heard good things about kefir over the years, but i would be scared to loose the culture, by not cultivating it often enough.

the way out of this would be, to clean the "grains" very well and than store them in the fridge, or not?

i only once, followed the naked chefs advice, and made my own youghurt, using store bough yoghurt as a starter.

jamie said, first boil the milk for a while, but i was too lazy, to do that, and used the milk straight out of the fridge.

i thought, if it has been, pasteurized and sterilised, and is fresh and good to drink, why boil the milk.

yoghurt, turned out looking nice and tasted realy yummy.

i was happy, the gf at that time, had joined a food fighters cult, and had to eat heaps of yoghurt, so i produced my own, to save costs. she never tried my yoghurt, thank god, as after a few day's, my tummy told me, my yoghurt was no good, hehehe.

lesson learnt i, always make sure everything is boiled first.

Edited by planthelper

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I've been drinking Kefir for years, I love it. When I started I was given water Kefir grains, milk Kefir grains & a Kombucha scoby. There are networks all over the world where you can get them all for free.

When my kids were born it started to get too much to maintain all those cultures along with my mushrooms cultures so I stopped making water kefir (tibicos).

I still make milk Kefir and have it for breakfast every day. I mix in ground flax seeds & a few tbsp of flax seed oil as per the Budwig protocol.

My tibicos culture was very aggressive and sometimes I'd see approx 200% increase in the volume of grains per batch. I started eating them, drying them and using them for cooking. In the end I used to just dump them in the garden.

One of the best websites I've seen regarding Kefir is Dom's About Kefir in site.http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGdNvl.CVRlWoABfYPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWgwN285BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkAw--/SIG=126k9u3eb/EXP=1361471845/**http%3a//users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

On that site Dom outlines a way to brew tibicos with ginseng which he says makes the ginseng active.

I have an excess of milk Kefir grains if anyone wants some - probably enough for 2-3 people to get started.

Edit: PH milk kefir does not have to have pre-boiled, they say unpasteurised raw milk is best. I used to make it out of Cleopatras bath milk, unpasteurised milk can't be sold for human consumption in Oz the germ nazis won't have it.

I even keep my finished kefir in the cupboard in milder weather, it actually improves if ripened for a few weeks at room temp.

Edited by SallyD
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i'll check out your link soon (delaying gratification, nice to have something to look forward to).

wau, to what you say about the milk kefir and cleopatras milk, probably adding just yoghurt to milk was too slow, and badies had time to multiply aswell.

milk kefir would be my prefered choice, and i'll pm you.

good to know, that specialy in milder weather the culture can be kept for quite a while even in rooms, because i don't want to become a slave to the culture, and only prepare it when i feel like it.

further more, your ginger remark, triggered the memory, that people said here, THEY ACTIVATE KAVA USING KEFIR (supposed to make it as strong as spit kava), so i will try to research this subject aswell.

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Yeah the fermentation liberates the alkaloids in most plant matter, as the plant material breaks down the alkaloids go into solution and some say they can cross the BBB easier in this form.

I'd probably only take that approach with water Kefir. Milk kefir was commonly fermented with Snow rose (Rhododendron caucasium) though so all kefir can do it. Some herbs don't taste great in milk Kefir though, that's why I'd use water kefir for that.

I let mine go dormant when I'm not using it, when I brew a batch and I'm not ready to do another one I put the finished Kefir in the fridge with the grains still in it. Then when I'm ready to do another batch I take it out of the fridge, remove the grains and put them in fresh milk. I've had grains in the fridge for months like that and they still work fine as soon as you put them in fresh milk. It really is an amazingly resilient culture that can tolerate a lot of neglect and not miss a beat.

Edit: formatting, ad block disables java and my posts get dumped into one big paragraph

Edited by SallyD
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yeah i've been keen to get some water kefir for quite a while

i've been making kefir with raw milk for years now, and i also make kombucha

yogurt is much fussier with temps etc. the advantage of raw milk too is that it still contains the naturally occuring microbes...leave a bottle of cleo on the bench for a while and you get something much more like yogurt than a stinky rotten bottle of milk (as per pasteurised milk)

i tried a kefir/kava mix, let ferment for a couple of days, and i tell you the taste was something to be reckoned with - i prob made it way too strong, but i couldn't get it down. if i had water kefir, i'd probable try it with bit of juiced sally

anyone in oz with water kefir and would like to trade for milk kefir or kombucha, let me know

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user "tumbletree" on ebay is minimal cost & reliable

my tibicos was also very 'aggressive' - if I culture it for more than 36 hours in this hot weather, I end up feeling a little drunk from it

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im keen to get a culture of milk kifir going when i start milking my goats in the spring. i never new water kifir existed untill now.

Good thread guys, thank you

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i might add what a friend told me.

obviously store bought milk is, not very suitable for the above process and on top very expensive.

unless you have your own, animals it doen't look as one can DIY, exceptional stuff.

but there is chees makers milk available, which is much, much cheaper, and obviously doen"t contain things which hurt the kefir making process.

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i added the grains, to 3/4l of low fat milk, and waited two day's.

i poured the hole contents, into a sieve, only the curd ran through.

tasted one, chunky bit, tasted only average, it was a chunk of grains.

than tasted the more liquid stuff, and the taste was agreeable.

washed/rinsed chunky grains, and stored them in a clean container, into the fridge.

had ginger bundy before, the taste test, maybe or probably no corelation with the ginger non alc bundy, but i could feel the kefir in my head.

used the curd to fight the mildew on my gerbera, let's see if it helps...

post-70-0-24010700-1362374651_thumb.jpg

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I brew water kefir and also kombucha .. Love both of them, but am fairly new to kefir . Kombucha ive brewed for about 10 years now, tastes great with a bit of berry tea added ...With the kefir i add a dab of black strap molasses every 3rd or 4th brew to supply much needed nutrients , my sister uses just sugar with a slice of lemon which tastes great ,but my grains are much larger and more prolific than hers because of the molasses.. Both make a great salad dressing!

Edited by bℓσωηG
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I got hold of some water Kefir grains the other day. They're brewing now.

The last batch I got from the ebay seller "Tumbletree" didn't propagate for me so I tried a different seller this time. They (Tumbletree) didn't send much so maybe it overheated in the post, I really don't know. I tried a different seller this time and they sent about 4 Tbspn of grains where Tumbletree only sent about 1 Tbspn for about the same price.

So I should have enough to spread around in a few weeks.

I've been looking into fermentation for the extraction of alkaloids and I'm starting to think that Kombucha might be more suitable due to its low PH when it's complete. Kombucha normally ends up around PH 3 and water Kefir ends up at about PH 4.5 or there abouts.

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My first flavoured water kefir brew was with lemon jiuce and it turned out really nice, like hippy lemonade.

Next time i tried adding some freshly squeezed grape and orange juice. This fermented like crazy over two days and sprayed kefir fizz all over the bench. I'm guessing the extra juice pumped up the fermentation process.

Its alright this one, but i prefer just lemon.

It smells more alcoholic too, i hope i haven't fucked up my grains straight away, although they are reproducing like mad now, so they should be okay.

I keep having to take breaks and sit them in the fridge for a few days. I just ended 3 months of holiday and now i am back at uni i am very busy and it seems like a bit of chore.

Also made some ginger beer with the strained liquid from my ginger beer bug. I hope thats going okay, i suppose i will know in 2 weeks.

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do you stir or mix up the brew, once in a while?

when i did my first batch, the grains turned into one massive chunk.

aswell, i think my tummy has to learn to get used to all this goodness.

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Yeah i stir them up when i feed them sugar every 2 days.

Weird stuff huh?

My partner isnt sold on the idea yet. I will have to track down some recipies.

Milk kefir sounds yummy-er.

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how to stopp the milk kefir from turning alcoholic?

using less milk to more grains?

had a couple big spoons yesterday, and suddenly the urge to drink alcohol overcame me, that it dawn on me, the milk kefir was of the alcoholic kind, hehehe.

the instuctions said, to clean the grains with water and than store them in the fridge,

but somehow i think, some people store the grains, adding some curd, what's your idea people?

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I just put mine in fresh milk and refigerate it when I'm not using mine. I never wash the grains for milk kefir either unless I drop them in sink.

The alcohol content of milk kefir is quite low, but I think longer brewing cycles give slightly more alcohol.

& also you shake your milk kefir every time you think of it, it stops the curd from concentrating around the grains and helps the milk to culture quicker and more evenly.

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Far out i was just reading about the origins of water kefir grains - Opuntia cactus pads in Mexico?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibicos

And then i started reading about milk kefir and it said bags of it were hung on backs of doors so every time some entered opening and closing the door gave the brew a good shake up :)

And i thought very interesting that no two kefir cultures are the same.

Edited by bℓσωηG

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Bloody hippies are onto something ;)

Forum member here put me onto water kefir and gave me a culture. I've been at them all summer. Even in my micro-organism rich environment ( aka the kitchen ) the grains are still wholesome, healthy, productive and strong

Kaffir limes are harvesting now, so after full fermentation I strain the grains off and whack a small piece of the fresh peel in with the drink and let it sit another day. It's bloody marvellour and refreshing

Wondering if it's comparable in calories to commercial soft drink? Does this explain the mild energy buzz I get?

I suspected the brew could be mildly alcoholic but I tested it the other day, and no.

Go for it. Easy.

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I've been dropping my excess water kefir into bottles of preservative free apple juice and creating alcoholic cider. So long as you have 20-30g of sugar per serve you'll hit 3-4% no issues. We got grape juice to 8% but it tasted like crap.

Mind you ya kill off any probiotics when ya do this and the grains get a hard time.

I've also infused various ethnos into it incl heimia kava etc and it creates a nice palatable drink with some berries for flavouring.

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