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Home > How to > How to store kefir grains when you’re taking a break from kefir

How to store kefir grains when you’re taking a break from kefir

Do you take breaks from preparing and drinking kefir? How do you store kefir grains when this happens?

It’s not necessary to make a break  from kefir at all. Nevertheless, sometimes it comes to that and then you need to put the grains on a break for a little while, too. It can be because you are going on vacation, have to follow special diet or just don’t want to follow a daily routine for a period of time, like during the holiday season.

It happens to all of us. And when it does, it can be a problem with the kefir grains because they are a live culture and need food to stay alive. So, you must take care of them even when you are not using them.

Water kefir grains

Best ways to store kefir grains

To make as little waste as possible and to keep the grains in a good shape, we recommend to store them carefully. Cold temperatures slow down the grains and storing them in the fridge is a way to pause their activity. Here are some examples:

  1. Store kefir grains in milk in the fridge:

    Put the milk kefir grains in the clean glass jar with a lid and cover with milk. For longer period of storage use more milk to give the grains more food. You should also change the milk every two weeks. Leave the top lid slightly open to enable airflow. You can leave the grains in the fridge for 7-14 days. You can only store milk kefir grains this way.

  2. Store kefir grains in water/sugar solution in the fridge:

    Pour water into the smaller jar and add a spoon or two of sugar, stir until dissolved. Use fresh non-chlorinated and non filtered water to avoid damaging the grains. You can leave them in this sugary solution for up to 2 months in the fridge. Leave the lid slightly open to enable airflow. You can store milk or water kefir grains this way.

  3. Freezing kefir grains:

    Strain the grains from kefir and rinse them under non-chlorinated water. Then, put them on the paper towel and gently tap them to dry them or leave them to dry for a few hours. You can put dry grains into plastic or glass jar or plastic bag to store them for up to 6 months in the freezer. Also, to protect the grains put in a spoon of powdered milk. This way of storage can be done with water or milk kefir grains.

  4. Drying kefir grains:

    First rinse the grains with fresh non-chlorinated water. Then leave them to dry on a parchment paper or paper towel. Leave it for few days until completely dry. You can turn them around a bit to ensure consistent drying. Put dried grains into a plastic zip bag together with powdered milk. Put them into the fridge for up to 6 months.

There are other more complicated procedures to dehydrate the grains which are used by kefir grains producers. Nevertheless, the storing ideas described above are probably the best to use for home kefir fermenters.

Dried kefir grains

Revival period!

After the grains have been stored for some time, they usually need some time to reactivate before you start using them again. Read how to revive milk kefir grains . Usually, if you stored them for longer periods, the activation time will take more time too.

With proper care and storage you will be able to wake up the grains successfully right away and continue  making kefir as before. 

 

Get Water kefir grains here.

Get Milk kefir grains here.

And get kefir fermenter here.

28 Comments

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  1. Hi,
    I keep my kefir grains, in milk, in the fridge until someone ask me some. At that time I send them by letter or the person come directly to my home.
    I never try to dry or freeze them until now!
    Have a nice Christmas !
    Odette,
    from Montreal, Canada

  2. I am using Kifer now for 3 months. Never did it realy say that kifer increases weight, but dor me, yes. I picked up 3kg since using Kifer for my bowl obstruction, which it helps in a way. I also drink more water with it
    Now i changed the milk frim full cream to low fat milk.
    Im using it now for 3 days and will see if my weight will still inceease.
    I will not stop drinking Kifer, because i know its good probiotics and my gut needs it… Only the weight gain is my oroblem now.

    • Hi Nicky, thanks for sharing. We haven’t heard from people having this problem while drinking kefir. Maybe someone here will have a tip for you.

      • Hi Nicky I was thinking the same as Elizabeth but also if u are drinking Kefir at times you normally wouldn’t be eating it will add weight. U may be a person who just eats 3 meals from 8 am to 5pm and now u drink the kefir carbs at bedtime too meaning u have carbs all day instead of stopping eating at 5 or 6pm. This will interfere with normal weight as a cup of coffee with no sugar and little milk has less carbs than kefir which is fed with sugar ???? I think most of the sugar is eaten by the kefir but if it’s not then ur adding it to your calories and stopping your normal keto time (12hrs after ur last carb intake)

    • Hi, Nicky,
      There isn’t really that much fat content difference between whole and low-fat milk, to cause weight gain. It may be due to other diet changes, or health concerns. I’ve been drinking whole milk kefir for 4 months, with great health improvements. If you are adding something like sugar or honey to your kefir, that adds calories, which you have to burn off with exercise. I would check with the doctor regularly if you have digestive problems, or continue to gain weight. Kefir has done wonders for me! Keep it up!

      • There is a big difference between Low fat milk and whole milk, namely the amount of sugars and carbohydrates. Reason why it is recommend that you use whole milk with Kefir. So that extra intake of sugar and Carbos could be the difference for gaining weight. Also important is the activity a person undertakes daily, if sedentary, the liver will convert all sugars into fat if not burned during exercise.

    • It is not the Kefir that is making you gain weight. You need to look elsewhere. How much do you drink?? A small glass a day is sufficient! You need to eat whole fresh fruit and vegetables and little meat. Try a Keto diet. The Kefir changes the bacteria in your gut and they require good wholesome food to survive!

  3. I have just made my first batch of cheese with the kefirko – works like a charm.
    What is the best method to clean the mesh basket?

    • Hi there, thanks for your question.
      You can easily clean it with warm soapy water. The remains of cheese should be cleaned like that.

  4. I made raw milk kefir this morning and realized no milk left to store until next Monday for new milk. If I store in water as mentioned above for the next several days, can I use for raw milk kefir or are they considered water kefir? Thanks. Teresa

    • Hi Teresa, thanks for your question.
      It’s ok to leave them in water for a few days. You can add a pinch of sugar, so they have some food.
      They can be used for milk again, but maybe they will need some adjustment at the start.
      Kefirko team

    • Freezing the grains is always a bit risky. It’s not guaranteed that they activate well when you thaw them. If you decide to freeze them, just dry them out first with a paper towel. Regards from Kefirko team

  5. I need a break for multiplying my kefir because i already have a lot in my fridge…but i just wonder when my stock runs low can i take the cold kefir and keep unrefrigerated outside to uncold it and later add on my low fat milk and continue multiplying it again….can anyone who have experienced in this ..please advise..thanks a lot..

  6. Greetings,
    I discovered a pink slimy film encircling my stored milk Kefir grains, skimmed it off to the best of my ability and made whole milk Kefir (as usual). 24 hours later, I harvested 6 liters of beautiful, thick Kefir. It is resting in my refrigerator in glass milk bottles. I am reluctant to consume because of the pink slimy film. Should I be concerned? Perhaps I should discard the questionable Kefir, rinse the grains well and start a new batch? Kindly advise.
    With gratitude,
    Jekyll from NC

  7. We don’t eat much or drink much in our household . I’m worried that we may want to drink a lot of the water kefir for the first week and not want it for months down the road . To worry about feeding more mouths every two weeks may be too much to think about to remember . Should this be a sign to just forget it all?

  8. Watch out it could be botchulism… that can be very bad or even fatal. Any colors like pink, green, blue… etc… is a concern. I would toss it and begin with new, fresh grains in a clean jar. That’s what I would do: I do not want to get sick or die! I would not take the chance, IMHO.

  9. I started recently to make kefir with grains from a friend. I use 1 tablespoon grains with 800 ml whole milk and leave in the countertop for 24 hrs. The jar is covered with a coffee filter. My problem is the my kefir is nit smooth but grainy and is not thick enough What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks
    Stefi

  10. I’ve started growing milk Kefir a month ago, and all is going well, using full whole milk. However, we are encouraged to eat less fat in our diet, so wonder if semi-skimmed milk will product just as beneficial pro-biotics without damage to the grains?