Learning how to manage kefir grains at home is an inexpensive way to make your own probiotic drinks, but learning how to freeze the grains will help prolong their life and help save you money. Here’s everything you need to know to start the process.
How To Freeze Kefir Grains
How Long will They Last?
Kefir grains frozen for 4 weeks or less will retain over 90% of their health benefits when defrosted. If you store the grains for longer than 4 weeks, they will start to lose some of their beneficial factors.
However, kefir grains will keep for 6 months in the freezer. Still, it’s best to make a fresh batch of kefir with them at that point.
When thawing frozen kefir grains, you’ll need to discard any liquid that has formed as this will contain the cultures you want to keep.
Can Kefir Grains Survive Freezing?
They absolutely have the ability to survive the freezing process and they do it pretty well. Make sure you freeze them flat (spread out) on a baking sheet for an hour before transferring them to ice cube trays. This will make it easier to pour off excess liquid when defrosting them later.
When freezing kefir grains, make sure they are completely dry because if there is even the slightest amount of moisture present, they will start to go moldy when you defrost them.
Proper Way To Defrost
When defrosted, your frozen kefir grains will start producing new milk right away. So, continue as normal by adding fresh milk and leaving it to culture at room temperature. Once your new milk has soured, strain out the grains and store them in fresh milk until you’re ready to use them again.
Just like with live cultures, the length of time kefir grains can be left out is determined by the temperature. Ideally, leave them out at room temperature (18-25C) for 12 hours or so each day with a cover over them to stop dust and insects from landing on them.
Can I Freeze Milk Kefir?
You can use frozen milk kefir. However, milk and water kefir behave very differently when thawed. So, there may be some noticeable changes to taste or texture.
Do I Need To Wash The Frozen Grains Before Using?
No, there’s no need to wash your thawed and ready-to-use kefir grains. Just pop them straight into your container of choice and start culturing.
What Can I Put Kefir In?
- Smoothies / Parfait
- Salads / Salad dressings
- Substitute for milk or water
- Add to dips
- Add to smoothie bowls
- Add to coffee or tea
- Add to cereal
There are many benefits to adding kefir to your diet including increased energy, better digestion, and improved nutrient absorption.
When kefir cultures are applied to milk (or another food), they will ferment the sugars in that food, turning lactose into lactic acid and carbohydrates into carbon dioxide gas and other acids. The fermentation process slightly reduces the carb content of foods while increasing levels of vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin K2 present in kefir.
Kefir also contains enzymes that break down proteins found in milk so it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction for those with lactose intolerance. These enzymes can also be effective against arthritis medications like ibuprofen which makes them ideal if you’re taking these types of medication or want to take kefir as part of a natural arthritis treatment.
Kefir also contains antimicrobial agents that help the body fight a wide range of bacterial strains. This makes it a useful addition to your diet if you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy gut flora or have had recurring problems with urinary tract infections.