Kefir grains have got to be one of the most wonderful, useful & fun gifts I have ever received. And just imagine, I was not impressed with the gift! Was I crazy or what!
But, thankfully, I have a wonderful SIL, who knew what she was doing & handed me a small jar with kefir grains in milk as we were leaving their house after a visit last year.
What is kefir you ask? Well, I won’t try to answer that. I’ll just give you a lovely link for you to enjoy. here
now, I’m going to show you step by step how I care for my kefir grains & at the bottom of this article, I will link to a few things you can do with the kefir after you have it.
Step 1: Tools
A large jar or pitcher. Around a quart size.
Another small bowl or picture.
Please note that while fermenting milk might not like to be in metal. It would be ok to use these items as long as you do not leave them there.
* I have found that my grains are not too fussy. But, they do have preferences. They are happiest in full fat milk (from living animals) with the least amount of processing you can afford. I have placed them in no fat & heavy cream. You can even try non-animal milks & to make water kefir. (i have not done this). They will work, but they may not stay healthy & they may die. That’s ok! Experiences are fun! . I just want to warn you ahead of time. If you are ever worried, return them to full fat milk for a cycle or two.
Step 2: the beginning
When you receive your grains, they will be in milk. You will need to strain them. Place them in your pitcher & then cover with milk. Then place on counter. That’s it. Nothing else but to wait. Yes, it’s so hard to wait.
Step 3: testing
In 24 hours, stir & taste. If it’s thicker than the milk you poured it & tart, it’s ready. If not check back in 12-24 hours. After that, It’s really a matter of taste. The tarter it is, the higher the benefits but don’t leave them so long they starve.
Step 4: it’s kefir! Now what?
Now, that your kefir is ready, you need to pull out your tools & strain your grains. What I like to do is pour the kefir into my strainer over a large glass measuring cup. Then, when that measuring cup is full, I pour it into a glass jar & place in fridge.
Now, I go back to my grains. I have a choice. I can wash them in filtered water or not. Either is fine. But, I have noticed the kefir is not as tart if I wash.
I also wash out my pitcher & once a week, I place it into the dish washer to wash.
I then place the grains back in my pitcher & pour more milk into the pitcher.
Now, we are back to the beginning.
Step 5: what to do with an over Abundance.
Well, let see. I ferment half & half and make kefir cream (like sour cream), I use regular kefir to make ranch. I also pour it through cheese cloth to separate the whey from the curd & make kefir cheese (like cream cheese) & of course, ice cream! Yum!
I use the whey in place of water in homemade bread, waffles & pancakes. I also use it to ferment salsa & pickles. (I will make separate posts on all those & link them this week. )
As you can see I love my kefir grains! I hope you enjoy yours too!