Has My Kefir Spoiled or Gone Bad?

I Left My Kefir Out For A Long time- Is It Still Safe To Drink?

I get this question a lot. The thing is, it is hard to establish a new habit, and once the novelty wears off, it is easy to forget to look after your kefir every day. When this happens, people sometimes leave their kefir unattended for  days, weeks or even months and then wonder if the grains are ruined. So let me address this question generally, and then we can go through some different scenarios in a little more detail.

Is it still safe to drink?

Maybe, but if you are not sure, strain the grains and dump the liquid and start over. 

Are the grains rotten, spoiled, or gone bad?

Maybe, but more likely we can salvage them. it depends on the situation though. 

So let's look at some different situations, but I want to warn you… after reading this, do not email me and say, "My grains were working just fine, I put them in fresh solution every day like I always do, and today when I woke up, there was an inch of blue mold on the top." If this is you, then check with your spouse or room-mate first and make sure you haven't been in a coma for 2 weeks, because mold does not grow into an inch of thick slime "while you sleep"! (just sayin', I've been doing this a long time! heheh) 

Milk or Water Kefir Sits On Counter For A Few Days-

In this case, the grains are fine, and you may even be able to still drink the kefir you've made. it will definitely be a little more tart, and likely have a little more alcohol and fizz than you are used to, but put it in a smoothie and you probably won't even notice a difference. 

Milk or Water Kefir Sits On Counter For A Week Or Two-

In this case, the grains are probably fine, but I would strain off the liquid and discard it. If the kefir sits out for too long, the balance of bacteria and yeast in the kefir can shift. It's probably not harmful, but not worth a chance. 

In this case, milk kefir will often get a fuzzy looking film on top. If it is white or off-white in color, it isn't mold. It'sjust a growth caused by the yeast. It's an indication that your kefir has sat for a while untended, but it isn't harmful. 

If the film is orange tinted, it is still fine. That's the fat in the milk changing color. 

If it is blue, green or black, that's mold. Skim it off and throw it out.

Milk or Water Kefir Sits In The Fridge For A Long Time-

Strain the grains and resume making kefir. It's probably fine. I've had water kefir grains in the fridge for almost a year untended and they've recovered just fine. I've had milk kefir grains in milk in the fridge for over 6 months and they have recovered fine. 

Kefir Has Been Around A Long Time-

The kefir grains you are using likely originated in Tibetan Mountains many centuries ago. Certainly they predate refrigeration. In fact, fermenting milk was a way to preserve it before refrigeration. In those days, a sac of milk and kefir grains hung by the door, and everyone who came in gave it a knock to keep it stirred up. They dispensed kefir from the sac and topped it up with milk as needed. 

So if your kefir has been untended for a long time, EVEN IF there is a small amount of mold on top, chances are you can revitalize them again. 

How To Rehabilitate Your Kefir Grains

If your kefir did sit out on the counter top for too long, they are probably still fine.

  • First, if there is any film, crust, or discoloration on top, take a spatula and scrape this off and discard it. 
  • pour the contents of your jar into a plastic mesh strainer, and strain off the liquid. Discard if you think it is too old. 
  • Gently rinse the grains- On a day to day basis you never rinse the grains, but if they've sat for a long time you just want to remove any surface crud that doesn't belong on them. Water kefir grains get rinse in fresh cool water. Milk kefir grains can be rinsed in water or milk. 
  • Put the clean grains in a new clean jar and start again. They make take a few days to recover, depending on how long they were without food, but most of the time they are working again in a day or three.
  • Set a reminder on your computer or smart phone to chnage the solution once every day or two, depending on your preference. 

If after you read this article you still are not sure, you should probably throw out your grains and start over. Kefir grains are so inexpensive! Just visit the order page to see for yourself! So for a measley amount of money, it doesn't make sense to worry. 

p.s. I have found the Perfect Pickler Click here to see it.  

 


 

Kefir Is Making Me Sick

Can Kefir Make Me Sick?

I drank a cup of kefir and now I feel sick! 

Is It Normal To Feel Sick After Drinking Kefir?

This is the email I got from a frantic reader who had hoped kefir was going to be the answer to her prayers. The woman had a history of multiple antibiotics as a child and young adult. She has a history of IBS, and depression, as well as many digestive complaints. She started making her own kefir but every time she drinks it, she feels nauseated and gets a really bad headache. She is also complaining about a sensation of blood rushing in her ears. What is happening?

Most likely what this lady is experiencing is a Herxheimer reaction, and no this is not dangerous. It is actually a very good sign! 

A Herxheimer reaction (sometimes called Herx for short) happens when organisms in your body start dying off, and release toxins into your blood stream. It was originally described as a reaction to taking antibiotics for an infection, but it happens much more frequently in the 'natural healing' world, as you cleanse your body of the bad and replace with the good! 

Herx reactions are sometimes described as "die off", "healing crisis". The symptoms are diverse, and can be quite different for everybody. Some people will be terribly ill, and some people will have mild symptoms, or even no symptoms at all. Here are some things that you might feel when experiencing Herx reaction after drinking kefir:

  • Digestive issues- flatulence, foul smelling stools, unusual colored stools, diarrhea or constipation, cramping, heartburn, nausea etc
  • Flu-like symptoms- increase mucous production, low grade fever, sore throat, cough etc
  • Neurologic symptoms- headache, dizziness, 'brain fog', difficulty concentrating, depression or euphoria (drunk feeling), anxiety, extreme tiredness
  • Other- bad breath, achy joints, mild rash etc

All of these things are normal, so what do you do if you experience a Herx reaction? Or what if you are not sure if you are having a Herx reaction, or you are really sick? The answer is simple; Stop drinking kefir until the symptoms subside, and then go at it more slowly! 

Start with a tablespoon. Wait a few hours, and if you feel fine, have another tablespoon. 

The worst possible thing you can do is throw out your kefir and swear to never drink it again. People who have Herx reactions NEED to get rid of the bad bacteria that has taken over your life! You must persevere. Taking it a little at a time can reduce the severity of the symptoms and ensure that you are still getting the benefit of good probiotic bacteria. 

 


 

Kefir, Probiotics and Weight Loss

Can Kefir Help Weight LossKefir and Weight Loss

Can kefir Help Me Lose Weight?

If you search the internet you are going to find many websites that claim Kefir is a weight loss food. In fact, you may even find information about a "Kefir Diet" ! So underneath all the hoopla and hype, is there any scientific proof that kefir can help you lose weight? 

Our body is brimming with bacteria, that much you probably already know. In fact there are trillions of bacteria and yeast that live within our intestines. Bacteria also exist, not just in the digestive tract from mouth to rectum, but also externally on skin and hair. Bacteria are largely ignored by the medical community when assessing disease. The scientific community is beginning to focus much more research in this important area. It is becoming abundantly clear that bacteria and yeast affect our health in many more ways than we thought about before. 

So we know that our friendly bacteria affect our health. You can review some of the benefits I have discovered in the scientific literature by reading my "Benefits of Kefir" article. Specifically though, I wondered if there was any reason to believe that kefir can help me lose weight.

I found an abstract on pub med where researchers looked at all the data related to fermented milk bacteria and weight loss, metabolic syndrome etc. They reviewed over 600 original studies related to the question "can probiotics help weight loss?" Their discovery was welcome news. The answer is yes, fermented products like kefir can help weight loss!

Here is the conclusion of their study:

Knowledge on the impact of the microbiota on metabolic pathways allows to conceive new factors associated with obesity and modulation by prebiotics and probiotics. In this sense, the main effect observed was the increase in bifidobacteria, usually accompanied by weight loss and enhancement of parameters related to obesity.

This is great news for kefir lovers. Kefir products are easy to make at home, and bifidobacteria are abundant in the millions in home made kefir. Since it is convenent and delicious, diet that includes kefir may help people lose weight by increasing the amount of bifidobacteria in the gut! 

Home Made Milk Kefir vs Store Bought

Making Milk KefirKefir Products- Homemade or Store Bought Milk Kefir?

What Is The Difference?

People often ask whether they should buy kefir products in Canada at the local grocery store. My answer is always, "It depends."

The best kefir is the one you have and drink. So the first criteria is often simply to know whether you will take the time to care for the kefir culture, or if ready-made is better. Don't get me wrong, it is not a lot of work to keep a milk kefir starter healthy, but it does require a daily milk change, and some stirring. Not much work, but still more than some people are willing to take on.

If you do have 5 minutes a day to care for a milk kefir culture, then milk kefir grains will be a very worthwhile investment for your health. You may have heard that home made kefir milk is better for you than store bought milk kefir. Or you might just assume it is better without knowing why.

Store bought milk kefir is factory made using a very few specific bacteria strains. In fact it is more similar to yogurt than it is to authentic kefir milk made from heirloom milk kefir grains. Foods sold in the store need to be standardized. It is important for manufacturers to produce a consistent product. They limit the numbers of bacteria, and inhibit their growth. They also completely leave out the beneficial yeasts that are in the products. All of this is to provide consistency, but also to prevent bacterial activity from causing enough gas that the container will explode.

When you start making your own kefir, you will appreciate what that means. As bacteria and yeast devour the milk sugars, they put out gases like CO2 that create an effervescent (fizzy) quality. I always make kefir with a loose fitting lid so the gases do not build up. Manufacturers, however, need to properly seal their product. That could be a recipe for disaster.

So here is the breakdown of bacteria and yeast found in traditional kefir milk made from authentic heirloom milk kefir grains like we sell to Canadians on this site.

Homemade Kefir Bacteria and Yeast Breakdown

Bacteria Isolated in Home Made Milk Kefir

Lactobacilli
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus brevis
Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei
Lactobacillus paracasei subsp.paracase the
Lactobacillus fermentum
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lactobacillus helveticus
Lactobacillus kefir
kefiranofaciens Lactobacillus subsp.kefiranofaciens
Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. My kefirgran
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis,
Lactobacillus parakefir the
Lactobacillus plantarum
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris,
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis,
Streptococcus thermophilus
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp.cremoris,
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp.mesenteroides
Enterococcus durans
Acetobacter aceti

Fungi Isolated in Home Made Milk Kefir

Dekkera anomala / Brettanomyces anomalus
Torulaspora delbrueckii
Candida Friedrich the
Candida humilis
Saccharomyces Exiguus Torulopsis Holm
Candida inconspicu A
Kluyveromyces marxianus / Candida kefir
Pichia fermentans / Candida firmetari Candida lamblia by
Issatchenki orientalis / Candida krusei
Candida maris
Cryptococcus humicolus
Debaromyces hansenii / Candida Famatina A
Debaromyces occidentalis
Galactomyces Geotrichum
Kluyveromyces lactis has . lactis
to loddera Kluyveromyces
Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
Saccharomyces pastorianus
Saccharomyces unisporus
of Yarrowia lypolyti / lypoliti by Candida
Zygosaccharomyces rouxii
Saccharomyces sp nov turicensis

Kefir-specific Yeast Isolated in Home Made Milk Kefir

Kluyveromyces marxianus
Torulaspora delbrueckii
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Saccharomyces Exiguus
Candida kefir,
Saccharomyces unisporus
turicensis Saccharomyces
Pichia fermentans
in Yarrowia lypolyti

Bacteria, Fungi and Yeast Isolated In Store Bought Kefir

Str.lactis,
Str.diacetylactis,
Str.cremoris,
L.acidophilus,
Lb.lactis,
Kefir bars Type I (Licaucasicus and
L.brewis)


Liberte Kefir ProductsWOW! That is quite a difference right? I don't know which brand was tested. The study I read was in Turkish so I assume it was a Turkish bought kefir product. In Canada, one of the most prominent brands (and my favorite store brand!) is Liberté brand. Their kefir is organic, and quite delicious. You can also choose between effervescent and non-effervescent types. On their site, they state, "Our flat Kefir contains 10 types of bacteria and provides one billion bacteria per serving." (Comparatively, 2 cups of home made kefir can contain as many as 5 TRILLION bacteria!!) source~ SCDiet.net

That's a great start. If you think you do not have time to care for milk kefir grains starter culture, then Liberté kefir may be for you.

So now, when someone asks you, "What is the difference between homemade milk kefir and store bought milk kefir, you can tell them, "The difference is microscopic!"

Can Kefir Be Frozen

Frozen Kefir GrainsCan Kefir Grains Be Frozen?

Kefir grains can be frozen for extended periods of time. Once thawed, they will continue to work. I have done this numerous times. Let's face it, living in Canada, the ability to ship viable grains would cease once winter began. Kefir grains shipped via Canada Post during winter months will almost definitely be frozen at some point on their trip.

Once I froze kefir grains and forgot they were in the freezer. I found them a full year later and put them in milk. The result was delicious kefir!

Can You Freeze Kefir Milk?

Sometimes you want to make a batch of kefir for storage. Or you just have too much on hand and do not want to throw it out. I often make smoothies and freeze the extra for those super busy days when I need to "grab and go".

So I wondered… if I freeze the kefir milk, will I lose the probiotic bacteria and yeast? Will they somehow diminish or die off, thereby negating the good benefits of the kefir?

I am happy to report that this has already been scientifically evaluated and the answer is… yes you can freeze kefir and it will retain the bacterial counts. In fact, in this study (which is a very good read by the way) the author stated "the traditionally produced kefir was shown to have significantly viii (P<0.05) higher counts of bacteria and yeast at each sampling". It was tested at days 0, 7, 14, and 30 of frozen storage.

That means that when you freeze kefir for storage, the probiotic benefits actually INCREASE over time!

Does Kefir Lose Value During Refrigeration?

So what about simple every day cold storage? I keep my ready made kefir in the refrigerator, sometimes for long periods of time. How do the probiotics do in cold storage? This study found that there was no significant loss of probiotic activity after refrigeration.

It is important to note however that these studies found that this was the case only for traditionally made kefir using heirloom kefir grains such as the kefir grains for sale on this site. Kefir manufactured for resale and kefir made with powdered culture lost probiotic benefits over time both in refrigerator and freezer storage!

Kefir Facts FAQ

I Have A Question About Kefir….Kefir Questions and Answers

Whether you are new to kefir, or an old hand, questions are bound to come up from time to time. Here are some frequently asked questions about kefir making. Click the linked question to go directly to that answer, or read through the whole page. If your question is not answered here, please take time to ask in the comment section. This way everyone can learn!

General Kefir Grains Questions:

Water Kefir Questions:

Milk Kefir Questions:

General Kefir Grains Questions:

  • What The Heck Is Kefir?- Kefir is a probiotic rich drink made by introducing a culture of "kefir grains" to milk (usually dairy) or water and sugar. Making kefir is simple and costs literally pennies a glass. The result is quite possibly the most healthy super food I have in my wellness arsenal. Follow these links to read more…

  • Can I Make Kefir Without Grains?– First of all, some people think kefir grains are made from grains like wheat. They are not. The "grains" terminology is simply a name for the firm gelatin-like cultures that make kefir. So the facts are, while kefir is not made with grain, you want to know wether you can make your own kefir grains at home without buying them.Most people say "no", but it has been done.In 1990 researchers made kefir grains for the first time and documented their method in a scientific paper. It was not easy, and it was made using goat hide bad and bacteria from sheep intestines. These are things that are not readily available in Canada. I did a post about the procedure. Read How To Make Kefir Grains
    So for most people, buying the culture, or buying kefir grains are the only ways to make kefir at home. The great news is if you buy kefir grains they will last a lifetime.
  • What's Better… Kefir Grains or Powdered Kefir Starter?– Powdered kefir starters have a limited number of bacteria, as they are developed to be standardized and consistent every time. They also lose their potency with subsequent brews so you need a new packet of starter every 3-6 batches. Kefir grains are inexpensive (usually about $5 a tablespoon) and you only need to buy them once in a lifetime. Once you start brewing your grains they grow and get stronger. Live kefir grains also provide a wide range of bacteria and yeast similar to what would be found in your intestine. Since the idea is to create a healthy microbiota in your body, kefir grains are superior.
  • Can I make my own kefir grains?– Kefir grains can not be made. Real kefir grains are passed from one owner as their supply grows into more than they can use themselves. Kefir grains are a very precise community of bacteria and yeast that exist together without one overpowering the other. I suspect "in nature" that the formation of milk kefir grains is a relationship that develops occasionally in raw milk and prevents it from going bad. In most parts of the developed world, milk is pasteurized (in Canada i is illegal to sell raw milk), so the formation of grains just would not happen. Even when people can get raw milk, I suspect one would spoil an awful lot of milk before the proper mix of bacteria and yeast. I suspect something similar if trying to culture sugar and water. Rather than causing people to get sick trying sour beverages, or trashing a lot of milk and/or sugar, it is best to just spend a little bit of money and get the culture. After all, when buying kefir crystals, it is a one time purchase that lasts a lifetime! also  Read How To Make Kefir Grains
  • Is My Kefir Ready?- This question is not easily answered in a few sentences. Please see How Do I Know If My Kefir Is Ready for answers.
  • How Much Kefir Should I drink?– Kefir is a food with benefits (not a drug), but some people still have an adjustment period. If your digestion tends to be finicky, start with 1/4 cup after a meal once every day, and listen to your body. If you tolerate this fine, then increase the amount, eventually moving it to BEFORE meals, as the good bacteria will aid in digesting your food. I personally drink up to 4 cups a day. There's no real limit. Just drink it when you want.
  • How Long Does Kefir Keep?– The kefir grains will keep indefinitely as long as you follow the instructions for storage. Once kefir is made, it will keep for a very long time. Remember that fermentation was a way of keeping foods safe to consume before refrigeration. I keep mine a month or more. Use your own judgement, and trust your nose and taste buds. Bad kefir smells bad and tastes bad. You will know. 
  • Where can I buy kefir grains?– It is particularly difficult to find them in Canada I have found. I ordered mine from someone in the States when I got them, and worried about extra duties and getting stopped at the border. We now sell kefir grains- we ship anywhere in Canada or US. Our kefir grains are packed to withstand the Canadian winter too! 
  • Does Kefir Cure Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Like Crohn's or IBS?– Kefir does not cure inflammatory bowel disease. It could help though. Read my article – Kefir and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Water Kefir Questions:

  • What are some other names for Water Kefir?- Tibicos, tibi,& water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature asbébées, African bees, ale nuts, Australian bees, balm of Gilead, beer seeds, beer plant, bees, ginger bees, Japanese beer seeds and vinegar bees. source: Wikipedia
  • What is Water Kefir?– Water kefir is a probiotic rich beverage made with water, sugar, bacteria and flavoring.
  • What Is The Difference Between milk Kefir and Water Kefir?– Aside from the obvious, they are pretty similar. Even though you need milk kefir grains to culture milk, and water kefir grains to culture sugar water, the resultant beverage has a similar probiotic mix. They both have many strains of bacteria and yeast that exist in a perfect balance.
  • Can I Use Milk Kefir Grains to Make Water Kefir?– No. While you may find on the internet that some people claim to ferment all kinds of things with milk kefir grains or tibicos grains, the bottom line is … these probiotic culture starters have evolved to eat a specific kind of sugar and to survive in a specific kind of medium. Milk kefir grains thrive on lactose and other components of milk. While you may get a probiotic beverage once or twice, eventually it will be evident that the bacteria and yeast are out of balance. The grains will stop growing, perhaps even die, and the beverage will show signs of being off.
  • How Do You Make Water Kefir?– I have easy instructions for making water kefir right on this site. Click the link or use the menu at the top of the page or on the right hand side to find the instructions.
  • What Is Water Kefir Supposed To Taste Like?- Water Kefir taste depends somewhat on the type of sugar used and whether you use molasses or not. It also depends on the amount of time you let it ferment. In my Basic Water Kefir Recipe I do use molasses and I usually let mine ferment for 48 hours and then drink it with no added flavor. Made this way it is sweet. It has a bit of a "fermented" taste to it. It is lightly fizzy but not as carbonated as pop (or soda depending on where you live). It taste to me like a slightly fruity, slightly fermented, slightly fizzy drink. It reminds me of dried fruit like apricots or raisins. It smells slightly sweet, and slightly fermented (like a very light beer smell) If you have ever had REAL apple cider (not the pasteurized stuff from the super market) then you will find it is similar. I think it is absolutely delicious just the way it is but some people like to flavor it. After you strain the grains, you can add a tsp of vanilla or more and it taste like cream soda. Add ginger slices and let it ferment another day and you have ginger beer. Add strawberries or pineapple and some ice and… well you get the picture!
  • What Does Water Kefir Look Like?- It looks like iced tea if you make it with brown sugar and/or molasses which is how I make water kefir. The grains are anywhere between white/clear and brown or yellow/clear depending on what color sugar you use. Browse around this site. There are lots and lots of pictures of kefir in various stages of the fermenting process.
  • What Is The Alcohol Content Of Water Kefir?- This totally depends on how long you let it ferment, what kind of sugar you use etc. Alcoholic fermentation is the conversion of sugar into carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and ethyl alcohol through the work of yeasts found on the food itself and within the culturing agent (kefir grains, kombucha culture, whey, ginger bug, etc.) It is safe to say that the alcohol content of a 24-48 hour ferment is 0.5%- 2.0% according to authority sites. If you add fruit juice for a secondary ferment you can increase the alcohol content to something quite highly alcoholic, especially if done under air lock. Water kefir and milk kefir both often smell a little like beer. It is partly because of the fermentation which adds alcohol content, and it is partly because of the yeast (kefir probiotics are made of yeast and bacteria)
  • Does Water Kefir Have The Same Benefits As Milk Kefir?– Yes… with the exception that milk kefir has some benefits imparted to it by the milk itself… protein, calcium etc. Tibicos bacteria tend to be less in number than in home made milk kefir so it can be tolerated better in people who are sensitive. So as far as probiotics go, water kefir is just as beneficial and may be tolerated better by some people. I have a Kefir Benefits page on this site with references to Studies and Clinical Trials. Click "Benefits" in the menu above for more facts.
  • How much Water Kefir Should I Drink?- This is another "It Depends" kind of question. Some people can drink as much as they want and not have any problems. Some people have side effects or "die off" and need to drink a little bit each day until their body gets used to it. In traditional diets, people used to eat or drink fermented foods and beverages every time they ate. Since we have gotten away from the practice, your internal works may experience some issues. So take it slow in the beginning. Start with a small amount… maybe 1/4 cup the first day and slowly increase as tolerated. Whatever you do, don't stop drinking it once you start. Your body will thank you.
  • What Are The Side Effects of Water Kefir?- Kefir is not a drug, so I really dislike the term "side effects" applied to it. Sometimes when you start adding back the good bacteria you can have a "war" of sorts in your belly. This struggle happens as the good bacteria fight to get the upper hand and the bad bacteria start to die off. The most common complaints are flatulence (gas), and be warned… it can get pretty smelly. Constipation and belly pain or discomfort, and heartburn are common complaints. I can not stress enough that you must persist! What's a little gas in the short term for all of the long term benefits of a healthy gut?
  • How Do I Know The Water Kefir Grains Are Working?- As a new kefir maker, you often are unsure whether your brew is behaving normally or not. Visit the Water Kefir Instructions Page to find out what signs to look for so you know what is normal.
  • Should Water Kefir Grains Float?- In a healthy kefir brew, some of the grains will float to the top, or rise and sink. This is quite normal and in fact it one of the signs of a healthy kefir. You see, the crystals let off gases like CO2 during the fermentation process. Occasionally some of the gas gets trapped in the kefir grain as it is growing, and this causes it to float.
  • Why Do You Add A Lemon To Water Kefir?– Sugar and water is THE perfect environment for bacteria and fungii to grow. A slightly acidic environment suppresses the activity of the 'bad' stuff. Lactic Acid bacteria produce acidity in the beverage, but needs a bit of time to establish itself. The citrus piece is a very important step as it adds a little bit of acidity to keep the bad bugs suppressed until the probiotic bacteria get established. 
  • Can I Eat The Solid Bits?- Yes absolutely. They often multiply fast, and it is not unusual to have lots of extras. Blend them into smoothies or just sprinkle them on your cereal in the morning.
  • Is Water Kefir Good For Diabetics?- You need to use your own judgement on this but I say YES! Here is why… Even though you put 1/4 C of sugar in 3 cups of water, by the time you drink it 48 hours later, the grains have devoured somewhere around 80% of the sugar. Since there is about 55 grams of sugar in 1/4 cup that means that there is only about 3 grams of sugar in a cup left after a 48 hour ferment. There is 10 grams of sugar in a cup of apple juice. Adding to that, probiotic use in diabetics has been shown to improve lipid profile (cholesterol) and help manage blood sugar. Here is just ONE of the many many studies done on this … Antidiabetic effect of probiotic dahi containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei in high fructose fed rats.
  • What To Do With Extra Water Kefir Grains?- Healthy tibicos multiply. In fact, when my grains are really happy they will double or even triple in 24-48 hours! That's a lot of culture! Eat them as mentioned above. Add them to smoothies or shakes. Feed them to your pets. They are also a great soil amendment and are wonderful in the compost pile.
  • Can I Freeze Water Kefir Grains?- Yes absolutely. Freezing cultures for short periods of time usually won't kill the cultures. In fact, sometimes when shipping cultures in Canada they freeze while in transport. If your live water kefir grains arrive frozen, simply allow them to defrost at room temperature, and proceed making your first recipe. For storing purposes, water kefir grains do better if they are dehydrated, but freezing for a couple of months at a time is an option. Remove them from the sugar solution, rinse them gently and pat dry with a paper towel. Then put into a ziplock freezer bag and cover them with sugar to help protect against freezer burn, and pop into the freezer.
  • Can Water Kefir Crystals Go Bad?– There are a number of things that can cause water kefir grains to go bad. Chemicals in the water, not enough sugar, or cross contamination from other bacteria are just a few examples of what could cause bad grains. For information on how to fix bad water kefir grains visit "Good Grains Gone Bad".
  • Can Kefir Grains Die?- Yes they can (after all they are made up of live bacteria and yeast), but sometimes you might think they are dead but they are only sick! They are pretty resilient little guys. If your grains have a white film, a really stinky smell, and are doing nothing in the sugar water, then they may be dead, but they may just need some TLC. Follow the link above and visit the Good Grains Gone Bad post and see if you can revive them by following the instructions found there.

Milk Kefir Questions:

  • Why Does My Kefir Curdle or Clot Before It Thickens?– It is the kefiran that gives your kefir a thicker consistency. You can encourage the production of kefiran and healthy milk kefir grains by keeping your kefir in an area close to 25 degrees celsius, by stirring it often, by using higher fat milk, and by using milks that have lactose as the main sugar. This is such a universal question that I answered it more in depth in a post. Read more about making thicker kefir.
  • My Kefir Is Fizzy (or tingly) On My Tongue. Is It Bad?– Both Milk Kefir and Water Kefir have an effervescent quality. They get fizzy, just like pop (soda). In fact, if you cover it nice and tight for a second ferment, it can get so fizzy that a pressure build up can pop a top! Milk Kefir that you buy in the store is often like drinkable yogurt with no fizz, but that is because they use inhibitors to stop that action. Otherwise they would be blowing tops all over the place! This is another reason why I love home made kefir.
  • Can Kefir Grains or Kefir Milk Be Frozen?– Both kefir grains and traditional milk kefir made from heirloom grains can be frozen, and still maintain biological action with no diminished bacterial count. read more on the post "Can I Freeze Kefir Grains?"

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How Can I Make Kefir Grains At Home?

Is It Possible To Make Kefir Grains Without Buying Them?

Can I Make Kefir Grains At Home?I get this question a lot and it was a question I had as well. There are not too many things I won't try if it is not too complicated, so I went about researching how to make my own kefir grains. I found most sites said that it was not possible. That in order to make kefir at home you had to purchase kefir grains from someone who had an overabundance. 

I did find one site where a gentleman claimed to do something with an ant hill. (see here… it is funny but be warned he uses the 'f' word a couple of times.) Now I know there are people who will believe anything if it is written on the internet, but I KNOW you won't be making kefir grains this way so please do not try it, or if you do try it, please do not drink it. OK you have been warned! 

Now, on to the real way to make kefir grains. No one had ever successfully made kefir grains that they could then take and use to culture milk. That is, no one until Motaghi, et al. These Iranian scientists took goat hide and formed a sac. Then they added milk, and bacteria from sheep feces. They shook the bag several times a day, kept it at a consistent temperature of 24-26 Degrees celcius for 48 hours and then changed the milk. 12 weeks later they were able to scrape some coagulated residue stuck to the inside of the bag and put it in milk in a glass jar and make kefir. 

So the answer to "can I make kefir grains" is YES. Yes you can. But hey, if that's too much trouble,

we sell kefir grains. :- D