How to tell if water kefir grains are dead

Written by sarah coennen
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Kefir is a dense probiotic made from kefir grains. The grains have a cauliflowerlike appearance and provide many great health benefits, such as removing waste and other harmful toxins from the body, lowering LDL or bad cholesterol, promoting healing, boosting energy and treating a myriad of medical conditions. Kefir can be made with milk or water. If it is made with water, sugar must be added to give the cultures something on which to feed. Sometimes, if neglected or stored for too long, the grains can die.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1/4 cup of raw, all-natural sugar
  • 1 cup of unchlorinated, pure water
  • 1 glass or plastic jar with breathable lid
  • Plastic spoon

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  1. 1

    Place a few kefir grains in a cup of water with a quarter-cup of raw, all-natural sugar mixed in. Be sure that the grains are submerged.

  2. 2

    Let the kefir sit for four to 24 hours at room temperature.

  3. 3

    Check the grains periodically starting at four hours. If the water level has gone down, the grains are not dead. If you are unsure, then wait another four hours before checking again.

  4. 4

    Add more sugar water over the course of 24 hours before consuming the kefir. If the grains are dead, begin making kefir again with a new batch of grains.

Tips and warnings

  • If the kefir has died, make sure not to store it so long next time. Also, make sure that when using water to make kefir, sugar is added. Otherwise, the cultures have nothing on which to feed, and they will die as well. Plastic is the best material for handling and storing kefir. Metal seems to destroy kefir quickly. If the kefir grain was dead when you bought it, then contact the company from which you bought it to request a refund or exchange.

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