How to maintain Kefir grains ?
Dairy kefir is a cultured milk beverage that is bragged about, for its plenty of probiotic benefits. It is a fermented milk product that contains plenty of beneficial yeasts and bacteria. Many people prepare kefir at home, after purchasing kefir grains. The kefir grains are usually tiny chunks of bacteria and yeast, mixed with sugars, fats and milk proteins called caseins. Kefir grains can be used for an indefinite amount of time if they are maintained properly. A new batch of kefir can be prepared every day if you maintain the kefir grains properly. In order to do so, you need to follow some dos and don’ts while handling kefir grains.
- You should never mix kefir grains with tap water. This is because the chemicals present in tap water such as fluorine and chlorine can cause potential damage to the kefir grains. Therefore, you must use filtered or mineral water which is devoid of these chemicals.
- You must not overheat or boil the kefir grains as too much heat can kill the beneficial bacteria present in kefir.
- You must use glass, plastic or wooden utensils while preparing kefir. The best choice is obviously glass utensils as they are easy to sterilize. However, you should not use metal utensils at any cost. This is because kefir reacts with metals. Thus, metal can contaminate the kefir you are preparing.
- You should not freeze the kefir grains. Freezing totally stops or halts the fermentation process. Many kefir grains cannot be revived after freezing. They immediately go to a deep-sleep-freeze-phase on freezing. The process of reviving frozen kefir grains is difficult. A better option is to dried the kefir grains.
- You must store the kefir grains in a clean jar. The jar containing kefir grains must be always covered with a cloth so that you can prevent the grains from any contamination.
- The kefir grains should not be starved. You must change the milk after 48 hours. When the kefir grains are fed with fresh milk, they stay alive and active.
- Though there are no fixed kefir grains to milk ratio, the general rule is to use 1 part kefir grains and 10 parts milk by volume. The milk is the food for the bacteria and yeasts.
With plenty of health benefits, kefir is a beverage that is widely recommended by doctors and this healthy food can be easily prepared at home if you follow these simple 7 tips listed above. Your kefir grains will always be well maintained.
Dehydrating kefir grains is quick and easily DONE
People dehydrate kefir grains to keep a backup in case anything happens to the original set of grains. The dehydrated grains can survive till one year. Moreover dehydrated kefir grains are so much easier to transport than wet kefir grains. There would be no concern regarding the liquid leaking out of the package if you transport dehydrated kefir grains
to some place. When kefir grains are dehydrated, they become dormant. Hence you don’t have to worry about the packaging of the kefir grains.
How to dehydrate your milk or water kefir grains
Here is the detailed procedure of dehydrating kefir grains :
- At first, rinse the kefir grains properly with water. It would be better if you use mineral water or purified water instead of tap water because the chlorine content in tap water is high. This is done to get rid of sediments which may have accumulated from fermentation.
- Now, lay out the washed grains on a paper towel to drip off the excess water.
- After the paper towel has soaked the excess water, lay the kefir grains carefully on a clean glass dish, a wax paper or a parchment paper.
- Next, cover the dish with a paper towel. If you do not cover it, the grains may get contaminated by flies and insects. Allow the kefir grains to dry slowly at room temperature. You will see that they have turned yellow and hard after some days. Alternatively you can use a food dehydrator to dry the kefir grains. You should set the dehydrator at the lowest temperature. However, this process is not much recommended because the kefir grains are quite sensitive to heat.
- Generally, the kefir grains take 3-5 days to get dried. This is especially in the case of large kefir grains. If the grains are small, then it will get dried within 2 days.
- After the kefir grains are properly dried, you can store them in a freezer or refrigerator.
Thus, you can see that dehydrating kefir grains is such a simple and easy process. Kefir grains are usually of 2 types: water kefir grains and milk kefir grains. When you are dehydrating milk kefir grains, then you should rinse the grains with milk. The kefir grains would look quite smaller than their original size after drying up. The color will be yellowish and all the grains would be totally shriveled up. It is a wise idea to keep plenty of dried kefir grains as a backup.