Saturday, December 5, 2009
Drying Kefir Grains
Some time ago, a good friend of my wife generously shared some of her kefir grains with us. These grains, also called granules, are used to make a healthy fermented milk drink, we have been enjoying this probiotic beverage in the form of morning smoothies ever since. Months ago we performed a little experiment with our grains, drying a small portion for storage. Drying the grains was as simple as straining away the fermented milk and allowing the remaining grains to sit out in a warm dry area for a few days. We then deposited the little treasures into a small muslin bag that was set aside in our cupboard for a couple months.
We recently rehydrated those same grains and after being reactivated in milk were happy to find them as healthy and alive as before. To reactivate, we placed them in a small amount of milk for 12-14 hours, strained and added fresh milk. This cycle was repeated a few times until the grains appeared soft, white, and begin to ferment and thicken the milk allowing us to combine them with our original batch. Kefir can also be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for extended periods of time but we were more interested in seeing how dried kefir would hold up if kept in a muslin bag without any type of refrigeration.
I find these remarkable "living" fermented foods to be quite fascinating. It's somewhat strange to think that only a few years prior I had never even heard of, much less consumed, fermented foods like kimchi, (real) sauerkraut, and kefir that have now become such a standard part of our everyday diet
Freshly strained kefir grains, they look just like cottage cheese
Some of the same grains a few days later drying in a dish on the kitchen counter