Can You Freeze Kefir Grains? Easy Guide to Freeze Kefir Grains
In this article, you will know the answer to the query “Can You Freeze Kefir Grains? Easy Guide to Freeze Kefir Grains“.
A kefir grain is a healthy culture filled with living and probiotic bacteria.
Kefir grains, scientifically known as ‘kefir anomices coagulants,’ are a gelatinous matrix of bacteria, yeasts, and lactic acid bacteria that can digest lactose and produce beneficial probiotics.
Using Kefir grains is simple, inexpensive, and lasts for a long time.
Only problem is that you’re not sure what’s the best way to store them, and how often you should use them. If you want to freeze your kefir grains, that’s fine.
The grains are preserved by freezing, allowing you to enjoy their probiotics on demand.
You may find this especially useful if you’re eventually going to make cheese or kombucha from your grains.
What works and what doesn’t work when freezing kefir grains will be detailed in this article.
What are Kefir Grains?
Here’s a brief overview of kefir grains for those who aren’t familiar.
From the Caucasus Mountains between Russia and Georgia, kefir is a probiotic cultured milk drink.
Since it has been consumed for centuries, people wanted to save some grains and make more later.
Kefir grains are a gelatinous matrix made up of various strains of bacteria, yeast, and lactic acid bacteria that can metabolize lactose to produce probiotics.
Kefir is made by adding kefir grains to milk or water, letting it ferment for 12-24 hours, and then straining it.
The majority of the yeast in kefir grains is Saccharomyces, specifically a few strains.
In addition to Lactobacillus and Acetobacter, there are many other kinds of bacteria and yeasts.
It is possible to make kefir with them, but you cannot make cheese or kombucha from them.
Does Freezing Affect Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are not affected by freezing. Kefir grains are quite resilient and can survive freezing and thawing, as well as drying out in the refrigerator.
As long as you freeze your grains, they will last for a long time, so you can use them for as long as you want.
Some people don’t even like the taste of kefir, so freezing grains is a convenient way to ensure that they will always be on hand.
How to Freeze Kefir Grains?
Once started, kefir making is a tedious process that can be repeated daily.
It is important to find a way of storing your grains so you can activate them when you return to making kefir.
Before your kefir grains can be successfully rested, they need to be active for at least 3-4 weeks.
Cooling them is the best way to keep them active and fresh. To extend the break from kefir, freeze your grains.
With cool water, you’ll need to rinse them off. Lay them out to dry on the paper town.
After that, pat them down to absorb any remaining moisture. Up to an hour can be spent covering them with paper on your counter.
As soon as your grains are dried, you can store them in a glass container that is freezer-safe and sealed with an airtight lid.
Sprinkle powdered milk onto the grains before sealing them for best results.
You can store your kefir grains in your freezer for up to six months.
How to Thaw Frozen Kefir Grains?
Depending on how quickly you want your kefir grains to thaw, you can either place them in the refrigerator or on the counter.
If your refrigerator is deep enough, you can place your frozen kefir grains inside to thaw and extend their life.
Your frozen kefir grains will thaw within six hours when placed on the counter if you’re impatient.
Thaw your frozen kefir grains inside a sealed container with a little bit of milk powder sprinkled on top.
This will prevent the grains from becoming too dry while defrosting and activating any microbes in the grains that may be dormant.
Keeping kefir grains frozen for an extended period of time can help prevent them from going bad.
Once the grains are defrosted, you can make kefir with the same grains again.
How to Reactivate Kefir Grains?
After you have saved your kefir grains and stored them in the freezer, they still need to be reactivated.
When your grains have been stored in one of the ways mentioned for a while, you may need to give them some time to get back to their best kefir-culturing condition.
You can reactivate them in the same manner as when you first activated them.
1 cup of milk should be mixed with 1 to 2 teaspoons of grains. Cover the filter with a breathable screen for 24 hours and place it in a warm place.
As long as your milk culture is working well, you can start harvesting grains.
You can also separate your grains and place them in another cup of milk for 24 hours if the milk is still not thickened.
If your milk isn’t thickening after a while, keep going.
How to Use Thawed Kefir Grains?
The thawed kefir grains can be used to make another batch of kefir or milk in less than a day.
In order to make a second batch of kefir, follow the steps in “Activating Kefir Grains” above.
You can make one cup of kefir by adding 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of grains into your milk and covering it with a breathable screen.
If you’re not going to use your thawed kefir grains right away, place them in the refrigerator so they stay fresh.
Can You Dry Kefir Grains?
Keeping your kefir grains fresh and ready for longer periods of time is possible with dry kefir grains.
The dried kefir grains do not culture milk as quickly as liquid kefir, but once you have used them, they can be used again after they have been defrosted.
A dry kefir grain is a good option to have around in case your kefir becomes contaminated.
Then, you will be able to use them again while keeping your milk supply safe and healthy.
By simply leaving the kefir grains out on your counter for 5 days, the grains will dry.
The drying time is determined by the temperature in your home. When they’re ready to be used, transfer them to a container with a lid and cover them with buttermilk powder.
They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months if they are sealed.
We can conclude that freezing kefir grains prevents them from going bad for a long time.
If they are kept thawed for too long, they will become dry and freezer-burned, so keep a close eye on how long they have been in the freezer.
Defrost your dried kefir grains and let them sit in some milk for 24 hours to rehydrate them.
When they are ready, store them in powdered buttermilk and store them in the refrigerator for several months.
Can You Freeze Kefir Grains? Easy Guide to Freeze Kefir Grains
- Kefir grains
- Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
- Labels and markers
- Prepare all the mentioned equipment and ingredients in the article.
- Follow the steps for proper freezing.
- Label the container with the date and contents.
- Depending on the recipe, thawing time may vary.
If you want to read more about food preservation, read here: FOOD PRESERVATION.