Choosing a Kefir Culture
Kefir is one of the absolute superstars of health food, Kefir grains are an amazing combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in an absolute matrix of proteins, lipids and sugars. This symbiotic matrix, (or SCOBY) forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower.
Extremely beneficial even for those who are lactose intolerant and used in different parts of the World, it has recently caught on as a significantly important health food. But for those looking for kefir grains online would be faced with a choice to make. Whether to purchase from sites selling ‘living’ kefir or dried/dehydrated kefir grains. To figure this out you need to ask yourself
- What types of kefir grains would I require ?
- Where to buy kefir grains ?
For you to best answer the above questions, here is a quick overview on Kefir Grains to help you make the most suitable decision.
There are 2 types of Kefir available on the market
Milk Kefir Grains: A naturally occurring organism, Milk Kefir Grains originated in the Caucasus. These are white, resemble cottage cheese and have a gluey feel. It feeds on the lactose.
Water Kefir Grains: Water Kefir Grains come from the Meso-America. Water grains are translucent, resemble cauliflower and easily break apart under pressure. It feeds on sugar.
Now we come to the choice between Fresh and Dried Kefir Grains
When it comes to Fresh Kefir Grains, these gain re-balance quickly and within a few days of arriving on shipment begin producing drinkable probiotic kefir! An excellent option but only if you live within Europe and are able to immediately attend to these.
Otherwise, Dried Kefir Grains are a greater choice for you! A perfect solution if the grains are likely to be in transit internationally, this will ensure the grains is not damaged. However, these would take way longer to activate – maybe a week or more and adjust the symbiotic balance till the time frame in which it can produce a drinkable kefir beverage. This also gives the scope of a better shelf life. Of the two kind of Kefir Grains (i.e. Milk and Water) Water Kefir Grains are more difficult to revive from a dried state and may take way longer given that these are comparatively fragile.
A quick reconnaissance of some companies and websites that sell different types of kefir grain has led to the following compilation to help you further:
This particular website, selling Live and Fresh Kefir cultures which they are sure will last a lifetime with proper care; maintain that the kefir grains are real grains maintained on organic milk very unlike the pre-packaged kefir starters, such as Yogourmet or Body Ecology stocked and sold elsewhere. They also assure that the kefir grains retailed from their website are ready to use straight out of the packet with absolutely no failed productions or waiting several rounds for the kefir grains ( referring to both milk or water types) to become ‘active’ again.
The benefits listed by the said website are as follows:
- Different types of kefir to choose from
- Fresh and Active Milk and Water Kefir Grains
- Starters Cultures
- Ready to use
- First batch of Kefir would be ready within 24-48 hours
The limitations listed on the same are as follows:
- The fresh and active kefir grains cannot be shipped to international destinations. This is due to the fresh nature of Kefir cultures.
2. Website: Kefir-online.com
Of their stock, this particular website explains that each sachet of kefir powder (and other starter cultures) can be used an average of 7 times each. It further shares that six tablespoons of previous batch will ferment 1 liter of milk. The benefits mentioned by the website is the sheer convenience and the fact that it is great for short time usage.
The limitations associated with Freeze Dried Starter Cultures are :
- These are isolated lab grown cultures
- Not only is repurchase required, it also has limited usage
Overall it may be a good idea to invest in fresh and active kefir grains for long term usage.