Freezing Kefir Grains, storing water kefir grains

Freezing Kefir Grains
One method for storing kefir grains for periods of up to 2 months, is by freezing the grains. To freeze kefir grains effectively, wash the grains with pre-boiled then COOLED water, pat them dry between pre-ironed cooled white towel to remove excess moisture. Place the grains in a jar or in a plastic bag, with the addition of dry milk powder [do not add fresh milk or other water based liquids]. Add enough dry milk powder [DMP] to completely cover the grains, seal the jar or the bag and then freeze. DMP is added as a protective agent. Although I’ve found that kefir grains are viable for up to one year when using this method, this length of time may completely remove the yeast component found in healthy kefir grains [when frozen for longer than 2 months, but not specifically]. Because of this potential, freezing kefir grains as explained above, is best performed for a period of no longer than 2 months. If DMP is omitted with the kefir grains, then a period of no longer than 1 month is recommended. Otherwise the yeast component of kefir grains may become damaged, especially so if thawed and frozen due to poor freezing conditions or poor freezer mechanism of the refrigerator or freezer.

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kefir health benefits

Kefir has antimutagenic and antioxidant properties, and can possibly be used to prevent mutagenic and oxidative damage in the human body. One can change the nutrient content by simply fermenting for shorter or longer periods. Both stages have different health benefits. For instance, kefir over-ripened (which increases the sour taste) significantly increases folic acid content. Kefir also aids in lactose digestion as a catalyst. The kefiran in kefir has been shown to suppress an increase in blood pressure and reduce serum cholesterol levels in rats. This does not necessarily imply the same for humans.

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what is kefir grains and where do kefir grains come from

Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros), purportedly from either the Turkish “keyif” (joy/pleasure) or “köpür” ((milk) froth, foam), is a fermented milk drink that originated with shepherds of the Caucasus region, who discovered that fresh milk carried in leather pouches would occasionally ferment into an effervescent beverage. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep’s milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. Dairy-free alternatives are available, such as coconut milk kefir and soy milk kefir.

Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. This symbiotic matrix forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower. Many different bacteria and yeasts are found in the kefir grains, which are a complex and highly variable community of micro-organisms.

Traditional kefir is fermented at ambient temperatures, generally overnight. Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverage, with a consistency similar to thin yoghurt. Kefir fermented by small-scale dairies early in the 20th century achieved alcohol levels between 1 and 2 percent, but kefir made commercially with modern methods of production has less than 1% alcohol, possibly due to reduced fermentation time.

Variations that thrive in various other liquids exist. They may vary markedly from kefir in both appearance and microbial composition. Water kefir (or kefir d’acqua) is grown in water with sugar (sometimes with added dry fruit such as figs, and lemon juice) for a day or more at room temperature.

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where do kefir grains come from

Where do Kefir grains come from?

It’s a bit of a mystery…
Kefir grains occur in nature. They are living organisms (not man-made). No one knows exactly where or when the kefir grain first appeared. What has been established however, is that kefir grains originated from the Northern Caucasus Mountain region of the former USSR.

A ‘Gift from the Gods’?
The local people of the Caucasus Mountains are said to have discovered kefir several thousand years ago, believing it was a ‘miraculous’ gift from Mohomad – exclusively for them. The grains were treated like precious jewels in each family, because of their ability to preserve and enhance milk.

As part of its mystery, kefir is closely linked to the longevity of the Caucasian people, who were known to live long and healthy lives, with many centenarians among them. The word ‘kefir’ comes from the turkish language and means ‘long life’ or ‘good life’.

Spreading the word…
According to legend, the Caucasian people were very possessive about their precious kefir, and wanted to keep their ‘miracle drink’ secret from the rest of the world. Luckily for us they didn’t succeed… and at the turn of the twentieth century, stories about kefir leaked out to Russian officials who wanted to make the kefir drink available for all Russian citizens… After some persuasion, the kefir grains were shared with the Russians. Kefir is considered a staple food in Russia.

Kefir is consumed throughout Eastern and Central Europe, where the kefir drink is associated with general well being. It is given to children in primary schools to help them concentrate, and it is given to the elderly in nursing homes.

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