Once I decided that water kefir would be a good fit for our family. (See Our Kefir Beginnings: Is Kefir a Good Fit For Our Family?), it was time to get started.
First things first, I needed to get myself some grains.
What are grains?
As defined by Wikipedia, they are technically known as Tibicos:
Tibicos, also known as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, ale nuts, Australian bees, balm of Gilead, beer seeds, beer plant, bees, ginger beer plant, ginger bees, Japanese beer seeds and vinegar bees, are a culture ofbacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharidebiofilm matrix created by the bacteria. As with kefir grains, the microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink.
Yea, doesn’t sound too appetizing does it? But it’s all good, I’m still on board. Where do I get these grain things?
Well, as I saw my options I could
1) Find someone locally that had some to share (since they tend to multiply)
2) Order some online (just google and you can find several sources)
You may not be aware of it yet, but I tend to be impatient. When I have the drive to do something, I want to do it now. I really didn’t want to wait for an order of dried grains online, then hydrate them, etc. I want to get started now, while I’m motivated.
Typically when I need something I might post to my personal Facebook page that I’m in the market for something (that’s how I acquired my current hand me down bread maker!). But this time, I didn’t even wait to try that route. Instead, I headed to Craigslist. Yes, believe it or not you can find these little living cultures of bacteria and yeast on Craigslist. So, within 24 hours, I met a very nice woman in a nearby town and obtained 1/4 cup of hydrated grains in a quart of kefir in progress. Bonus! I was a step ahead.
I brought my little jar home and proudly set it on the counter and admired my little blob of grains in cloudy water. The kids thought that they were pretty cool too. The hubby did not find them so exciting. “What is that?”
I explained I was making healthy “pop”. I cautiously didn’t even mention the words bacteria or anything like that. He just shook his head, rolled his eyes and added “I’m NOT drinking it”. (We’ll see about that)
So now I have my grains, my first batch is in process. Stay tuned to see where we go from here.