Caring for kefir grains

February 5, 2017
The waitresses were nice

milk kefir smoothieBy far the most common question that I get from people after they’ve read my article “ is “How do I get started making my own kefir?” Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to ferment your own kefir in your own home.

As an avid home “brewer” of milk kefir, I often have extra grains to share with friends and acquaintances. Along with the grains, I provide instructions on how to care for the grains and how to ferment the kefir. Although it is easy to make, there a few things to watch out for to ensure that you make the healthiest and most delicious kefir.

There is no one “right” way to care for your grains. How long you will ferment them will depend on your climate and the season as well as your personal tastes and how strong you want it. Don’t be scared to experiment.

Kefir tastes like a slightly sour, slightly effervescent, plain yoghurt. The texture will also be similar to yoghurt, although it is typically somewhat runnier.

kefir_plastic_strainerThese instructions can be used as guidelines to get started.

1.) Locate & Obtain Grains. The kefir grains are a living polysaccharide matrix of healthy bacteria and yeasts. Because they require a steady diet of fresh milk and regular straining to survive, they are not readily available from a store. However, with a little looking around you should be able to find them, either from within your community or from specialized vendors. They may be located here:

  • Local community list serves. These are excellent places to find them because if you can obtain the grains locally, they will be fresh and won’t have had to survive dehydration and shipment. I located my starter grains on a Facebook group for Singapore expats after posting on the group that I was looking for them. There are often community groups that discuss healthy eating and natural health that might having members who have grains to share.
  • Notice Boards. You can look on notice boards in local health food stores or markets. People may have posted that they have grains available.kefir_fermenting_in_glass Alternatively, you could put up a sign on the board indicating that you are interested in obtaining grains. As mentioned above, obtaining grains locally is the easiest way to obtain healthy and fresh grains.
  • Local Classifieds. Online classified like Craigslist may have listings for people within the area who are willing to sell or share kefir grains that can be obtained locally, thus assuring that the grains will be fresh.
  • Amazon and eBay. These online marketplaces have vendors who sell kefir grains for a nominal fee. Grains that will be mailed or shipped may be fresh or may have been dried out by the vendor. You should try to obtain grains that are shipped fresh if possible, packaged in liquid milk or whey. If you purchase dried out kefir grains, when you receive the grains, you must revive them before they can produce consistent and tasty kefir. If they are too old or haven’t been properly stored, reviving the grains could be a challenge. The vendor should supply instructions on how best to do this. Read the reviews for the vendors before purchasing.
  • There are a few websites such as Cultures for Health, The Kefir Lady, and Organic Cultures that sell milk (and water) kefir grains and will ship them internationally. I cannot vouch for them as sellers nor can I speak to the quality of their grains as I have no personal experience with them. There may be others.
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