Kefir grains are a wonderful thing! Given the right conditions, they can ferment and cultivate into the beautiful drink kefir rather easily. Today we want to talk about taking a break from making kefir and how to store the grains during this time away.
You see, the big problem with kefir grains is that they just want to be kefir and so unless you put them in the right conditions, they will continue to ferment and eventually become something far less pleasing than kefir. So, if you are interested in making kefir at home, you need to know how to store the kefir grains first. Otherwise, you may waste a whole lot of time, money and kefir.
How to Store Kefir Grains Properly
The key to storing kefir grains is all about slowing down the processes occurring in the grains. Slowing down the process can be as easy as keeping your grains in the fridge. Cold temperatures are excellent for slowing down the culturing process of kefir grains. This is a great way to store extra kefir grains and keep them healthy.
You see, on average, kefir grains can need up to about 4 cups of milk a day, just to stay healthy! This means that you are going to produce a huge amount of kefir a day if you’ve purchased a lot of grains. So, keeping them in the fridge can mean that you can control how much kefir you are making per day by slowing down the culturing process.
Putting kefir grains in the fridge can slow them down for about three weeks. Here’s how to do it.
- You first want to make sure that your grains have been actively culturing for about 3-4 weeks. This is prior to putting them in the fridge, and it is basically to ensure that they are healthy and will survive while taking a break.
- Inside a container, add the kefir grains to 2-4 cups of milk. The more milk you have, the longer the break you can have, generally. This is to keep the grains fed during the break.
- Add a lid to the container and place in the fridge. The kefir grains should be healthy and safe for about 3 weeks.
Getting the juices flowing again
After your break from kefir making and when you are ready to get back to it, it is time to separate the kefir grains from the milk you stored them in, replace it with fresh milk and begin to culture as normal. Keep in mind that it may take a few batches for the grains to fully wake up and start their work again.
Oh, and as long as the stored kefir isn’t smelling or tasting funny, it is fine to consume. So, not only have you managed to take a break from your kefir-making duties, you are rewarded with some kefir straight away when you return to it!
Taking a longer break (up to 6 months)
In order to take a longer break from kefir-making, you need to dry your kefir grains. This can be done very easily, just follow these steps:
- Firstly, rinse the kefir grains thoroughly with filtered water.
- Next, layer the grains on a piece of (unbleached) parchment paper in a safe place.
- You now want to dry the kefir grains for 3-5 days. This doesn’t need to be in a fancy kefir oven or anything, just at room temperature is fine.
- Once dry, place the dried kefir grains into an airtight bag and add a small amount of powdered milk.
And you are done, you can now store your kefir grains for up to six months!
Once you are ready to start making kefir again, just rehydrate them according to the instructions that came with the grains you bought.
We hope this look at storing kefir grains can help you take a break from kefir making some time soon. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our website for all things kefir!