I have a plethora of grains; I've been raising them up to share with eCourse members. However, I couldn't raise enough because the eCourse is quite full.
But back to those dairy kefir grains. I asked Julie at Cultures for Health how to dehydrate kefir grains, because I figured they'd ship much more easily if they weren't wet. She gave me very simple instructions, and that's the point of my post today.
Why Dehydrate Kefir Grains?
You might wonder why'd you want to learn how to dehydrate kefir grains. For one, if you want to ship them. 🙂 But two, and much more personally practical, you should dehydrate grains as backup cultures for the future. Perhaps your raw milk source dries up and you need to save grains for when milk is in season again.
I've read that grains don't all revive (one source said 40% viability), so it is a good idea to put back several kefir grains. Dehydrating is not the only way to put back grains, though. You can keep grains in the refrigerator in a small amount of milk that you change weekly, or you can freeze grains as-is (wet). Finally, and the topic of this post, you can dehydrate them.
How To Dehydrate Kefir Grains
Rinse the grains thoroughly with good water: well water or mineral-rich spring water. Don't use chlorinated city water. Water from a filter is okay, even though it strips out minerals; as minerals are not so much of a concern for making the grains dormant. Lay out to drip off on a clean towel or paper towel.
Lay the grains on a piece of unbleached parchment paper, cover with a loose paper towel (to keep dust off), and dry at room temperature until they are hard and yellowish. Or use an Excalibur dehydrator at the lowest temperature. The ParaFlexx sheets will work, too. I chose to use parchment paper because I knew it was sterile. Turn the dial to where it barely turns on. According to Julie, this is the perfect temperature.
Drying time will be 3 to 5 days for the largest grains; smaller grains will be done sooner. Store in cool storage, the refrigerator, or freezer when dry.
They look much smaller now, don't they? Yellowish — no, quite yellow! — and all shriveled up. Tomorrow, many of them will be off to Traditional Cooking School members.
Wondering if kefir is for you? Have you seen my 7 Yummy Ways to Eat Kefir? I can almost guarantee you'd like some or at least one of those uses!
How do you save your cultures for the future, whether dairy kefir, water kefir, Kombucha, sourdough, whey, or other?
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