Kefir grains can be defined as small bacteria, kefiran and yeast communities which exist in gummy, solid grain looking masses that tend to multiply when they are cared for. The grains are produced by lactic acid bacteria and multiply when fermented. The microorganisms grow bigger and bigger leading to the production of bacteria which builds kefiran and eventually kefir grains.
When you have the live kefir grains, you can enjoy your kefir for a long time and any time you want to. The grains are separated (Kefir Maker) from the beverage and can be stored for later use. There is however a great need to know how to buy the best live kefir grains and how to store or preserve them well so you can enjoy your drink for a long time.
Buying Live kefir grains
Before buying live kefir grains, know that you have an option of choosing powdered cultures. Powdered cultures are easier to store because they have dormant bacteria and yeast but they expire and you will not get the full pobiotic benefit due to the lack of bacteria present. Live fresh grains can live for a long time when well preserved and you won’t have to buy new cultures ever again.
Freeze-dried Kefir Grains are a perfect way to purchase since they packaged air tight, easy to ship and store in cool temperatures for long periods of time. After “rejuvenating” them in your preferred liquid (cows, almond, coconut or even sugar water) they will return to Life Kefir Grains with the full spectrum of bacteria and yeast, to ferment a first class probiotic for years to come.
Buy from reputable commercial sources. Kefir Culture Natural is one of the best companies you can choose, they produce top quality kefir grains since 1996 and have been educating the public on the benifits of kefir and fermented food products ever since.
Next should be to ensure that you manage the grains properly and below are helpful points on preserving your grains.
Preserving kefir grains
For short term storage of the live grains, select a clean glass jar and wash using warm water to rid it off acidic residues and then dry the jar. Place your grains in the jar but don’t fill it to the top and then pour enough milk before covering completely. If possible screw the lid to the jar then place it in your fridge at 40 degree F for up to four weeks. If you wish to store the grains longer, change the milk every four weeks.
For long term storage, boil water in a stockpot after which you allow it to cool. Place a colander in your sink and place the kefir grains, then pour your cool water over them. Place a clean terry cloth towel over your counter then place the kefir grains on top and dry before placing them in a clean glass jar and put it in your freezer.
Rinsing of live kefir grains is however not that advisable but if you must ensure that you do not store them for more than a month because the nutritional value is greatly reduced. You can get more preservation advice from kefir forums that have hobbyists or from a knowledgeable supplier.