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Cold temperatures greatly slow the culturing process, so the refrigerator is a good place to store grains when a break is necessary.
Short Breaks, up to 3 weeks
- Add milk kefir grains to 2-4 cups fresh milk. More milk for longer breaks is best, to keep the grains well fed.
- Put a tight lid on the container and place in the refrigerator. The milk kefir grains should be safe and healthy for up to 3 weeks.
- When ready to make milk kefir again, separate the grains from the storage milk, place in fresh milk, and culture as usual. It may take a couple of batches for the grains to wake up and get back to work.
- The storage liquid should be fine to consume, as long as it has a pleasing aroma and flavor.
Long Breaks, up to 6 months
If a longer break is required, we recommend drying the kefir grains.
- Rinse grains thoroughly with filtered water
- Lay them on a piece of unbleached parchment paper in a safe location.
- Dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days, depending on humidity and room temperature. Or, use a dehydrator as long as the grains do not get heated above 85°F.*
- Place dried milk kefir grains in a ziploc bag; add a small amount of powdered milk.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.