Kefir has several health benefits, and it is something that you can easily produce at home. With that said, there are certain challenges that you may encounter when you are making kefir. For example, you might not know how you can tell whether your kefir grains are dead. 

Kefir grains on a wooden spoon above a jar of homemade milk kefir
Kefir grains on a wooden spoon above a jar of homemade milk kefir

Monitor Your Grains Closely 

The easiest and most effective way to determine whether your grains are dead is to keep a close eye on them. You should be regularly monitoring your grains to look out for signs of problems.

You should not just be relying on your eyes when you are trying to figure out whether or not there is an issue with your grains. You should also be using your nose as well. 

If your kefir grains have an unusual smell, or if they appear to be discoloured in some way, that is a sign of a problem. You should also look for signs of mould. If you pay close attention to your cultures, you will be able to spot these kinds of issues right away.

Try to Revive Your Grains 

If your grains have become mouldy, or if they smell rancid, the safest thing to do is to throw them away. However, if you are just starting to see warning signs, it may be possible for you to revive your grains so that you do not have to start over from the beginning. 

Reviving grains is easier than you might think. In many cases, simply storing your grains in the freezer for a period will be enough to revive them. You can also try straining the fermented milk. This can be especially helpful if you are trying to revive grains that were shipped to you. 

Wooden spoon with grains on top on white background

Make Sure You’re Properly Storing Your Grains 

If you are frequently having issues with your kefir cultures, it is likely that you’re not storing your grains properly. You should try to find a better storage solution so that this is not an issue for you going forward. 

Your grains should be stored in an area where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. For example, you may want to keep them inside a dark cupboard.

You will also want to make sure that the area you are storing your grains in is not damp or humid. This could have an impact on your kefir cultures. Proper storage is key if you want to make your own kefir. 

Break Up Grains When They Become Too Large 

When you are producing kefir cultures, you will be nourishing your grains. This could cause the grains to grow, which could cause issues for you. That is why, if you notice your grains are starting to get large, you’ll want to take the time to break them up. 

This might sound like a complicated process, but it is a lot easier than you might think. In many cases, you can break up grains simply by shaking the jar that they are stored in.

If this does not do the trick, then you should be able to break the grains up by gently rubbing them with your clean fingers. 

Make Sure You Have A Reliable Guide 

One of the biggest reasons people have issues when trying to make kefir at home is that they do not have any real guidance. You should make sure you find a detailed guide that will tell you exactly what you need to be doing and what you need to be watching out for. 

If you have a guide that you can follow along with, you will not have to rely on guesswork. You will be able to follow clear instructions, which means you will get better results. 

Since there are a lot of people that are interested in making their own kefir, you’ll find plenty of guides out there. You can even find video guides, which will allow you to see what you should be doing. Stick to the instructions, and you will get better results.

It is best to Be Cautious 

If you do not know whether your kefir is safe to drink, it is best to start over. There is no reason to put yourself at risk if something about your grains seems off.

If you have a good guide, you can revive dead kefir grains, but that does not mean you should drink something that seems unsafe. 

Trust your own judgment when you are enjoying the kefir that you have made at home. If you suspect that there are safety risks, then you should listen to your own instincts.

Once you become more comfortable with producing kefir at home, you will have a better sense of what is and is not safe.

Making kefir at home can be rewarding, but you should make sure you do things safely and correctly. If you know how to tell if your kefir grains are dead, it is far less likely that you will have issues going forward.

Does kefir fit well into your diet? Is it something you would like to try? It is something I am intrigued about, maybe we should all try it this summer?

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