8 Uses for Extra Kefir Grains

image by tarikgore

Those funny little cauliflower/popcorn looking blobs are dairy kefir grains. Kefir is an amazing probiotic beverage that is great for your gut and helps populate it with good bacteria. If you’ve ever cultured dairy kefir, you know that healthy kefir grains will rapidly multiply and soon you will have enough grains to be able to culture kefir for your whole neighborhood or you’ll start looking for ways to use up the extras.  I think that there’s a truth to that old saying, “waste not, want not.” If you’re anything like me and hate wasting perfectly good things, then hopefully you will enjoy this list of ways on how to use extra kefir grains.

  1. “Convert” dairy grains into water kefir grains

    You can use extra dairy kefir grains and convert them to make water kefir, which is like a homemade soda with probiotic benefits. Granted, dairy kefir grains will never actually be water kefir grains, as they are different, but you can make a tasty carbonated beverage using your converted “water kefir grains.” My 7 year old absolutely loves the water kefir made with grape juice. Cultures for Health has a some wonderful suggestions on different flavor variations for water kefir. Check out their t 10 ways to flavor your water kefir.

  2. Put kefir grains in smoothies

    There are a whole variety of smoothies out there,and adding a few kefir grains would be an awesome addition of hidden probiotics- especially to sneak some extra probiotics to the kids. Just be careful to start out with a small amount and work your way up to more, as you may have an undesired reaction if you do too much  all at once (which is a sign of your body detoxing.Here are a few of my favorite smoothies

  3. Add them to the soil in your potted plants

    Mix in a few of your extra grains for added nutrients for your house plants.

  4. Share extra kefir grains with friends

    Use your extra grains to give to friends and introduce them to the benefits of this delicious probiotic beverage. If they’re not familiar  with it you can share how to make kefir with them. New England Cheesemaking Supply has a tutorial on how to dry kefir grains to ship them to others.

  5. Feed them to your pet

     You can give extra kefir grains to your pet for probiotic benefits, just make sure not to give them too many at once. I give our dog up to 2 tablespoons at a time and he loves them.

  6. Compost the extras

    -Toss your extra grains in the compost bin!

  7. Store them for emergencies

    Take those extra grains and dehydrate them in case of an emergency. Then you can keep some as a backup in case your grains get messed up or accidentally killed. Wardeh over at GNOWFGLINS has a great post on how to dehydrate and store your dairy grains.

  8. Eat them!

    The simplest idea for extras is to simply eat your them plain. Just don’t eat too many at once or you may experience detox type symptoms if your body is not used to having such a strong influx of good bacteria all at once.

Note: I am not a doctor



19 comments to 8 Uses for Extra Kefir Grains

  • yay! i was wondering if they would work in compost or not. look what I did to my supply. i wept. not. even. kidding. thanks for sharing. i can’t feed these to my kids but i can feed the garden with them. almost same diff. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152317500750035&set=a.10150600124790035.680658.441147605034&type=1

  • Super great idea Katie. Love this post.

  • Katie,
    I’m featuring you again on the Deep Roots ‘EOA’ WEdnesday link-up!! This is so practical! Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to get healthier and more sustainable! Blessings!

  • Awesome! I’ve wondered that before, but now I’ll need to find new kefir grains. My kefir was getting too fizzy, probably even alcoholic (Is that possible? so I eventually tossed the grains.

  • Marjorie

    I left my grains in the cupboard for 4 or 5 days and ended up with a pink tinge of color almost or like mold. What are your thoughts on the safty of continuing to use them? How long can they sit dormant in milk in the refridgerator and still remain active? Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom.

    • Shoot!It sounds as if they have spoiled. When the grains run out of food from the milk then they start to spoil. If it were me, I’d start over with fresh grains.

  • Never thought of feeding them to my cats, I am sure one of them would like them. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  • Hana

    Before I travel I put kefir grains with little milk to the freezer, when I come back I take it out, pour more milk and exchange the milk until kefir is good again

  • This is the best list I’ve seen! You covered them all. With eating them I’ve heard you can also dry the grains and season using dried herbs. Supposedly they can be a crunchy snack this way, but I’ve never tried it myself.

  • Mary Butler

    I have a question I can’t find answer to. I will not have any milk available for 3-4 months so what is my best option. Make kefir with powdered milk, soy or almond milk or ultra high temp pasturized (cartons)? I will have refrigeration & storage space to take products & grains with me. Also wonder how long referigerated kefir will keep. It’s a boat frig so not as cold as one with electricity. Any help or referred info is hugely appreciated. Thank you

    Just a note for you to share. I’ve been diagnosed with”IBS’ & nothing I did helped-until I started making & drinking a large glass of kefir daily. Now my system works beautifully! How many people out there need to know that

  • I’m very interesting in Kefir. Staying in South Africa, never heard of this before. Yesterday, an old lady told me about it, and that she will share her plant with me. If this can improve the your health, why not trying? Hope it taste good!

  • Frances van den Bergh

    I live in South Africa. I started with a spoonful of Milk Kefir grains. Now they have increased to at least 5 tablespoons full. I use cartons of full cream milk and it is becoming quite expensive as I make close to a liter of Kefir a day. I am giving the Kefir away as I cannot drink it all and I suffer from High Cholestrol so maybe I am killing myself softly but improving other parts of my body with Kefir. Cats should not drink milk only water but my cats go ballistic and want Kefir. I do not want to disrupt the growth of the Kefir grains by keeping them in the fridge or freezing them. I use my Kefir for smoothies and now drink it plain but sometimes add Vanilla Essence and some honey or syrup. Great stuff!

  • Jamal Beitelmal

    I left my Kefir grains in the fridge for about 4 months in full of milk jar, when I came back, and started to use them back, I felt that the drink has different unpleasant taste, I’m adding milk almost every day, I think the grains still in sleep or inactive (dead). do you know how can I bring them back to active after this long time of sleep, please can you contact me through my E-mail.

  • I’ve been mixing kefir grains into my smoothies. I don’t have anyone to give them to yet. Yesterday I used more of the grains than usual into a delicious drink. Today my stomach and intestinal areas have a cramped feeling. Is there a remedy or do I have to wait this out? I have made my own kefir for about four months now.
    Thank you!

  • I have been using milk kefir grains for about a month in coconut milk. The last two batches, some of the larger grains started to float and turn a tan color. Are they okay?

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