Author Topic: Storing Kefir Grains  (Read 44608 times)

Offline momofkings

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Storing Kefir Grains
« on: February 21, 2007, 01:53:15 PM »
I was given some kefir grains by someone, but have not had time to get them started in milk.  The only time I have ever made kefir before is with an expensive kefir starter from the health food store.  I am NO experience working with the kefir grains--is it ok to store them in the refrigerator until I get a chance to start them?  (we don't normally have milk in the house and I am debating over the raw vs pasturized right now).  Anyway, I just want to be sure that I don't ruin them, and that it is ok to store them the way I am.  Thanks!

Offline 4myhoonie

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 03:51:26 PM »
I was given some kefir grains by someone, but have not had time to get them started in milk.  The only time I have ever made kefir before is with an expensive kefir starter from the health food store.  I am NO experience working with the kefir grains--is it ok to store them in the refrigerator until I get a chance to start them?  (we don't normally have milk in the house and I am debating over the raw vs pasturized right now).  Anyway, I just want to be sure that I don't ruin them, and that it is ok to store them the way I am.  Thanks!


yeah, it's fine, i replied to you yesterday here:

http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/index.php/topic,1665.270.html

you just need to cover them with any kind of milk to keep them "alive".  they feed off of the lactose in the milk and when they run out, they will eventually die.  HTH
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Offline momofkings

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 03:56:39 PM »
Thank you!  Forgive me, I am new and trying to learn to navigate through the site!  I love this great new source of information, I don't know if I could ever read all the threads, but I'd sure like to! 

So, I should go ahead and pour the milk over them and not keep them in the fridge?  (they are just in a little ziplock now). 

Do you use commercial raw milk? 


Offline daisey

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2007, 04:19:10 PM »
Thank you!  Forgive me, I am new and trying to learn to navigate through the site!  I love this great new source of information, I don't know if I could ever read all the threads, but I'd sure like to! 

So, I should go ahead and pour the milk over them and not keep them in the fridge?  (they are just in a little ziplock now). 

Do you use commercial raw milk? 


If you don't want to have kefir right away put the crystals in milk and put it in the fridge.   Otherwise just leave it on the counter and you will have Kefir in about 20 hours.      When we have more kefir than we can drink we store the crystals in the fridge in milk until we need more kefir.   The crystals will keep in the fridge in milk for a week then you should change the milk again.
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2007, 04:20:21 PM »
You can freeze kefir grains, too!

Nickole

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 04:29:38 PM »
You can freeze kefir grains, too!

Are you sure about that?  I know you can dehydrate them. 

Nickole

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 04:36:39 PM »
I found this on Dom's site.  Looks like freezing would involve a careful process, so just thought I'd add it.   

Freezing Kefir Grains
One method for storing kefir grains for periods of up to 2 months, is by freezing the grains. To freeze kefir grains effectively, wash the grains with pre-boiled then COOLED water, pat them dry between pre-ironed cooled white towel to remove excess moisture. Place the grains in a jar or in a plastic bag, with the addition of dry milk powder [do not add fresh milk or other water based liquids]. Add enough dry milk powder [DMP] to completely cover the grains, seal the jar or the bag and then freeze. DMP is added as a protective agent. Although I've found that kefir grains are viable for up to one year when using this method, this length of time may completely remove the yeast component found in healthy kefir grains [when frozen for longer than 2 months, but not specifically]. Because of this potential, freezing kefir grains as explained above, is best performed for a period of no longer than 2 months. If DMP is omitted with the kefir grains, then a period of no longer than 1 month is recommended. Otherwise the yeast component of kefir grains may become damaged, especially so if thawed and frozen due to poor freezing conditions or poor freezer mechanism of the refrigerator or freezer.

Drying Kefir Grains
Kefir grains may be dehydrated for long term storage of up to 12 to 18 months.
To dehydrate fresh kefir grains, rinse the grains with pre-boiled COOLED water. To remove excess moisture, pat-dry the grains between a pre-ironed cooled white terry towel. Place the grains in between two sheets of pre-ironed white cotton or linen cloth. Leave to dry in a well ventilated warm spot, until the grains become quite firm and yellow in colour. Depending on temperature, humidity and size of the grains, drying may take between two to five days for all the grains to completely dehydrate. Place the dry grains in an airtight jar and store in a cool place e.g., in the refrigerator [do not freeze]. I add a little dry milk powder [DMP] with dehydrated kefir grains, adding enough DMP to completely cover the grains in a jar or in a zip lock plastic bag. Dehydrated kefir grains may be stored for up to 18 months. Although I have discovered that my method of adding DMP, dehydrated kefir grains can remain viable for up to 6 years.


Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 04:37:04 PM »


Are you sure about that?  I know you can dehydrate them. 

Well on page 86 in Nourishing Traditions she says that you can store kefir grains in the freezer several months.  But she has been wrong so many times!! LOL!  :D

Also, Dom's site says this:

Freezing Kefir Grains

One method for storing kefir grains for periods of up to 2 months, is by freezing the grains. To freeze kefir grains effectively, wash the grains with pre-boiled then COOLED water, pat them dry between pre-ironed cooled white towel to remove excess moisture. Place the grains in a jar or in a plastic bag, with the addition of dry milk powder [do not add fresh milk or other water based liquids]. Add enough dry milk powder [DMP] to completely cover the grains, seal the jar or the bag and then freeze. DMP is added as a protective agent. Although I've found that kefir grains are viable for up to one year when using this method, this length of time may completely remove the yeast component found in healthy kefir grains [when frozen for longer than 2 months, but not specifically]. Because of this potential, freezing kefir grains as explained above, is best performed for a period of no longer than 2 months. If DMP is omitted with the kefir grains, then a period of no longer than 1 month is recommended. Otherwise the yeast component of kefir grains may become damaged, especially so if thawed and frozen due to poor freezing conditions or poor freezer mechanism of the refrigerator or freezer.

Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2007, 04:37:40 PM »
HA HA!!  You beat me to it you lil' stinker!!

Nickole

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 04:37:49 PM »
Ha ha - we were on the same site!

Offline daisey

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 04:48:04 PM »
You can freeze kefir grains, too!
I froze my crystals for about 4 days when I first got them, it's a long story.   :(    I hadn't read Dom's stie so I just stuck them in a zip lock bag.  When I finished reading Dom's site I thought I should take them out of the freezer and tried to follow the instructions about getting them started again.   It took quite awhile and I didn't think it was worth all that work.   It is easier to just keep the crystals in milk in the fridge if I have to much  kefir.
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Offline momofkings

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2007, 12:54:38 PM »
Ok.....I got some powdered milk to at least get the grains in something--I am the one who just had them in the fridge in a ziplock, the way they were given to me.  When I opened the bag, they had a smell, is that normal?  Kind of sour smelling.  I had made kefir once before with a packet from the health food store and the kefir always smelled very sweet and not sour at all.  I just want to be sure that they are ok to us.

Also, didn't someone say that they may have a sour taste if they have been out of milk for a while?  Should I throw away the first few batches?  I am excited to be trying it with the powdered milk, that was my biggest concern, I didn't want homogenized.  I am going to look for an organic source this week, our health food store didn't have any.  They had goat powder, but it was very expensive.  I still may end up going with that, but hoping to find it a little cheaper.

Offline daisey

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 01:29:14 PM »
I believe on Dom's site it said that if you have stored the grains for awhile you should put them in milk and throw out the first several batches.   I'm not an expert on this but I think there is kind of a sour smell to kefir.   I wouldn't think you would have to wait to long for the grains to activate since they weren't frozen but just not being fed.   I guess I would just give it a try, put them in milk for a week in the fridge then throw out that milk.  Change the milk and leave it out and see what happens.  If it thickens and smells like Kefir you did it.     Maybe there is someone who has had more experience than me that could help you out here.   Just my suggestion.
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Offline momofkings

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2007, 11:59:55 PM »
Thanks for the info!  I have been seeing a lot of reference to "Dom".  Could someone post the website you are all referring to?  I am new....I have never heard of this source.  Sounds like I could get a lot of questions answered by looking over this site.  Thanks!

Offline babymakers

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2007, 02:10:33 AM »
What exactly are keifer grains made from anyhow???? I have been wondering that everytime I look at them....
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Offline Pennie

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2007, 03:00:13 AM »
What exactly are keifer grains made from anyhow???? I have been wondering that everytime I look at them....
Ew, I asked that once.  Someone said it was found in the stomach of a horse.  It is somewhere on this thread.  Glad you asked?   :D ;D

Offline RB

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2007, 03:04:12 AM »
Thanks for the info!  I have been seeing a lot of reference to "Dom".  Could someone post the website you are all referring to?  I am new....I have never heard of this source.  Sounds like I could get a lot of questions answered by looking over this site.  Thanks!
Here is the website! http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html
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Offline babymakers

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2007, 04:27:35 PM »
What exactly are keifer grains made from anyhow???? I have been wondering that everytime I look at them....
Ew, I asked that once.  Someone said it was found in the stomach of a horse.  It is somewhere on this thread.  Glad you asked?   :D ;D
Now I am even more curious. I did a search on horse and stomach and didn't get anything coming up. I.NEED.DETAILS. How do they grow...why????? They feel gross too......
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2007, 06:22:53 PM »
What exactly are keifer grains made from anyhow???? I have been wondering that everytime I look at them....
Ew, I asked that once.  Someone said it was found in the stomach of a horse.  It is somewhere on this thread.  Glad you asked?   :D ;D
Now I am even more curious. I did a search on horse and stomach and didn't get anything coming up. I.NEED.DETAILS. How do they grow...why????? They feel gross too......
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Offline Rene

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2007, 06:55:50 PM »
I freeze my kefir grains all the time, for longer than 2 months, and they've all been fine.

I put them in a freezer baggie and coat with powdered milk.  I've noticed that when I use them the milk doesn't thicken like it normally does the first couple of times - it gets these fat globs, but they mix fine in the blender.  I don't throw it out, it's never smelled rotten or anything.

Usually what I do is if the kefir is ready and I'm not, I just stick the whole thing in the fridge - even for a week or two, until I want to make a shake or bake with it.  The grains are always fine this way.
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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2007, 12:34:53 AM »
What exactly are keifer grains made from anyhow???? I have been wondering that everytime I look at them....
Ew, I asked that once.  Someone said it was found in the stomach of a horse.  It is somewhere on this thread.  Glad you asked?   :D ;D
Now I am even more curious. I did a search on horse and stomach and didn't get anything coming up. I.NEED.DETAILS. How do they grow...why????? They feel gross too......

Hey, I am the one who said I heard they were first discovered in a horse's stomach and the only backup I have for that is someone told me, who I first got my grains from, and they are very much "right in the head", ha ha!  But if that freaks you out, then, seriously, please forget it, b/c kefir is WONDERFUL!!!!   ;D ;D   It could be wrong anyway.

Offline diaperswyper

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2007, 01:08:15 AM »
  Is it really gross to throw extra grains in a smoothie?

Nickole

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2007, 01:17:16 AM »
  Is it really gross to throw extra grains in a smoothie?

Not at all, just that they may not mix very well, so you may get some chewy parts, but "it's all good"!!!!!

Offline jessicah

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2007, 05:59:26 PM »
For those of you experienced with kefir milk:

OH MY! My kefir grains have been in the fridge in milk for several months or more(not exactly sure)
A month ago I took them out and put in fresh mikl to make fresh kefir. It smelled really alcoholic and was too thin.  But as I let it sit longer to thicken it got way too sour.

It doesnt smell bad. I wonder if they are still good???
Do I just pour milk in and start culturing again and keep throwing out the kefir milk until it gets to the right consistancy?
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Offline twitterpated4hubby

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2007, 09:48:04 AM »
Is it normal for my grains to smell like sour dough bread? thats what it reminds me of. i just got them in the mail and i wont be getting my goat milk until this evening...hopefully. What should i do with them until then?

Also, how do i know exactly what to do to make sour cream, cream cheese and ricotta? I have read and read these threads and still feel like i have no idea what I'm doing.
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Offline twitterpated4hubby

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2007, 10:20:40 AM »
OK, now I'm wondering if goat milk is a good idea. A lot of pp don't like it so I'm wondering if i should stay with regular cows milk. Problem is that i cant find any raw cow milk. What kind EXACTLY should i get from our Walmart? Whole, skim, 2%? Should i try and get organic and if so then should i get whole or skim? Should i throw my first few batches of kefir away since it smells like sour dough bread? Someone please help!!
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Offline healthyinOhio

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2007, 03:15:06 PM »
Is it normal for my grains to smell like sour dough bread?


YUP!  ;)

Offline twitterpated4hubby

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2007, 03:46:21 AM »
Its been 14 hours. I now have a thin liquid on the bottom and a thick milk looking stuff on top. Should i let it sit 4 more hours or more? This is my problem. What the heck do i do with this stuff? Do i dig out the grains and start a new batch with them? Then do i mix this stuff up and throw it all in a smoothie? Do i separate it? I probably read the answer 100 times but it didn't register because i didn't have the stuff and now that i do, i will get it. I so don't have time to go back and read everything again. I'm on here to much as it is. I have to go pray and do a few things. Can someone please just tell me what to do next?  ???
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Offline twitterpated4hubby

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2007, 03:48:41 AM »
Oh, and it still smells like sour dough. :P Should i throw out this batch and start a new one, or go on and use it?
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Offline Melie

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Re: Storing Kefir Grains
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2007, 02:18:16 PM »
For those of you experienced with kefir milk:

OH MY! My kefir grains have been in the fridge in milk for several months or more(not exactly sure)
A month ago I took them out and put in fresh mikl to make fresh kefir. It smelled really alcoholic and was too thin.  But as I let it sit longer to thicken it got way too sour.

It doesnt smell bad. I wonder if they are still good???
Do I just pour milk in and start culturing again and keep throwing out the kefir milk until it gets to the right consistancy?

Bump - I did the same thing and need the answer.  My grains look fine but they were in the same milk for a month (since my baby was born) and I don't know if they are still okay to use???