What’s older than its Mother?

My grandma told me that riddle while we were pressing apples in the orchard when i was 13. We had just filled a 50 gallon wooden barrel with the cider we pressed, and covered it in place in the root cellar to let it ferment. We wanted the vinegar.  It never occurred to me that the riddle might have more than one answer.

After fermenting water kefir for several months, I noticed a faint translucent mother had arrived on the surface of the finished ferment.  It looked just like the young mother on vinegar or kombucha: thin and gelatinous.  I fished it out with a scowl and discarded it after 4 or 5 harvests. The next time I went to harvest the kefir, there she was again. This time I saved her in a separate jar. As i replenished the sugar water over the kefir grains, I withheld a little of the solution for the young mother, covered both jars over and put them on the shelf to ferment. Ten days later, both had new mothers floating on top: small and thin (compared to kombucha or vinegar) but very much present.

For the past year and a half, I’ve repeated this process when i harvest the original elixer: skim off the mother from the jar with the kefir grains, and add it to the jar now full of mothers. I now treat both jars (1-gallon size) the same, and I can’t tell any difference in the resulting beverage. I feed each batch one-half Meyer lemon and one-half dried fig each time I make a new batch. This flavor combination is really over the top.

The jar with the kefir grains continues to form only a thin mother each time, where the jar full of mothers now forms a thick white mat, not  unlike white wine vinegar mother.



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One thought on “What’s older than its Mother?

  1. I discovered your site approx 2 hours ago….
    Wow ….I’m sold………….
    I nervously made 3 jars of fermented Veggies last week and started making kefir a month ago and just started making kumbacha and water kefir yesterday…. I’m feeling proud of myself…I’m sure everyone around me thinks I’m a bit strange lately but really who cares…i’ve always been strong and healthy until last year when I came undone with a flu that left me with breathing attacks and breathlessness for over a year now…i was thrown into hospital for 2 weeks where slight scarring was found on my lungs…. COPD was supposedly the diagnosis…. I threw 2 different puffers and omeprazole tablets into the rubbish bin and have been looking for a cure since April this year…still get my attacks by sipping warmed diluted apple cider vinegar, warm water and get on all 4’s which somehow helps with my breathing and helps me cough up mucous . I’m looking for the magic bullet cure without drugs and puffers…I now feel that I’m heading in the right direction for a cure,,,,,

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