How to encourage water kefir grains to multiply?
While Water kefir grains can multiply, they are often slow and reluctant to do so. Because ingredients and conditions vary widely It cannot be guaranteed that they will multiply. However when looked after correctly they can last forever.
Here are few ways to encourage water kefir grains to grow and multiply:
Give the Water Kefir Grains Adequate Time.
Newly acquired water kefir grains often need time to adjust to their new fermenting surroundings before they will start to multiply. This is normal and may vary widely in length.
Use Sugar water to culture
It is best to use sugar water not juice as Juice is very acidic. The acidity can be very hard on water kefir grains making it hard for them to stay healthy and grow. Coconut water is a better option but can still be hard on them if used to often.
Use the correct ratios of kefir grains, water and sugar
It is often tempting to want to reduce the amount of sugar when making water kefir. However if there is not enough sugar the grains have nothing to feed on. This will not keep them healthy. I recommend using ¼ cup sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of water kefir grains and 1 litre of water. As the grains grow and multiply you can then remove the extra grains and keep as a back-up or give to friends.
Don’t over ferment
Water kefir grains should be stained and added to fresh sugar water every 24 to 48 hours (depending on temperature) to prevent them from running out of food. Once they run out of food, the bacteria and yeast that are in the water kefir grains can get out of balance, making them work less effectively and can eventually shrink and die.
Choose a good spot for fermenting
Water Kefir likes it quite warm so around 22c is perfect but they will be happy in temperatures up to 30c. Make sure they are not in direct sunlight.
Don’t refrigerate too often,
If you need to take a break from fermenting your water kefir you can keep them in the fridge. However try not to do this too often. They go into hibernation and having to come out of hibernation too often is stressful for them.
Mineral content is important.
Water kefir grains thrive in a mineral-rich environment. However you can also have too much of a good thing. Minerals can come from the sugar or water used as well as adding things such as sea salt, eggshell, Bicarb of Soda, Trace mineral drops and raisins.