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OK, Kefir-making mamas, a few questions... - Page 2

post #21 of 38
I would like to try this. someone pm me if you would like to get rid of some. Thanks
post #22 of 38
GaleForce,

Mine are 'growing slower' too lately. It's been COLD here though, and I am putting them in a new spot that isn't as warm, I guess (and there are less grains to do all that work). I usually have thick Kefir by morning, but this afternoon, it was still fairly milky, and just starting to thicken.

Mamacarey, you should PM Gale with your info...as it might be longer for me to get enough to start sending out again...I hadn't realized what a difference it would make with this cold front we have here atm...

Gale, heck, I might need to PM you myself to get enough for some 'Kefir d' Aqua!!' heheh
post #23 of 38
I would like some grains. I am in MN.

what do I need to make this stuff - (I have been buying it pre made from my local co-op - helliouse (sp?) brand)

xenabyte did you get your grains from a store? I have read there is a freeze dried version that is only for one use.
post #24 of 38
Suseyblue sent me my first Kefir grains. I have tried the powder packets too, but the live grains are SO much easier:

Just add cold milk from the jug to a jar, add in the kefir grains, close jar and let it sit on your counter from 12 - 48 hours. Decant the Kefir, repeat.

There are some other ways to do it, but that is the 'basic' way.

You will be hard prtessed to find live kefir grains in a store, usually you have to arrange for someone with extras to mail you some. It'll be at least a week or two before I will have enough grains to ship again, so try Gale Force, heck, I might be trying Gale Force too if mine don't start growing fast enough again!
post #25 of 38
I'll be mailing Monday with proper education of the local postmaster, Tuesday otherwise with a more friendly postmaster. PM me with your addy and you can paypal shipping or send me a check ($3.85 out of Calif)
post #26 of 38
GaleForce,

I spoke to our local postmaster, and as long as the box is marked 'Perishable', jic it ends up in the 'dead maill' area, and they know to toss it, so it doesn't stink up the place, we are ok. If there is a LOT of milk, you need to mark it, 'contains liquid', also jic of spills, so they know it's not a toxic substance.

I mark the outer baggie, Kefir 'yeast' grains in whole milk, so if it is opened, they will know it's harmless and not a toxic substance (or some other funny stuff).

If going 'across the border' I mark the customs slip, 'Kefir Sourdough Yeast Starter' - Perishable' and that way customs officials will know it's not some toxic or other wierd stuff (I didn't figure many of them would know what Kefir grains are, so I just called it a sourdough starter as most folks know what bakers yeast is.

So far, this complies with shipping regulations. Hope this info helps anyone wanting to ship Kefir grains and was worried about all the regulations they have now days.
post #27 of 38
Thanks Heather. I am about to write a note to the postmaster put in each package as well. We have an itty bitty PO here and as much as the postmaster loves controversy in the community, he doesn't want to be the center of it, so he's just extra paranoid. I haven't attempted to educate him, we've just used other POs (and explained what was in the package). I think simply showing him that most of what is in it is grains, not liquid, is probably enough.
post #28 of 38
Oh, and a tip for expanding your grain stash: put the grains in a lot of milk and let them sit for 2-3 days, strain and do it again. When I started with about 2 tsp I did this until I ended up with about a cup. It took 2 weeks or so. Luckily I've got some nice gallon glass jars so I am able to brew about 3/4 gallon in on jar.
post #29 of 38
would a sprout jar work for brewing and straining this stuff?
like this
http://www.sproutpeople.com/devices/jar/jar.html

what else do I need.

I need to get everything together before I order some.
post #30 of 38
Deb -- Any old jar will do, so I'd save the sprout jar for its job. I use a glass jar and put a loose fitting lid on top. I use a plastic lid and when none are clean, I just put a plate on top. So you can see, no high tech equipment is necessary. You're ready. PM me your address and you'll have it next week,
post #31 of 38
I wouldn't use the sprout jar because, as I found out the hard way, fruit flies LOVE kefir! My daughter is obsessed with bananas and 2 weeks ago I didn't notice that one of the bunches I had on the counter had a gash across the back. We ended up with a huge fruit fly infestation as a result and they got into the kefir jar! I had a solid lid on but left it loose to allow air in. there were bunches in there just overnight. I know usually we don't have fruit flies but I've been really screwing the lid on tight. Since i started really tightening the lid my kefir has been coming out much thicker too.

Anyway, the goat kefir came out really runny and really goatie. I ended up using them in my rye pancakes and even my husband who's not a big fan of goatie flavor, really liked them. I think next time I'll try half cow & half goat to try and get something a bit thicker for making cheese.
post #32 of 38
I was thinking of the sprout jar for straining (I dont have a plastic colandar/strainer or cheese cloth) I was mainly concerned about the straining for equipment needed.
post #33 of 38
I don't have a plastic colander either. I've been using a plastic slotted spoon, when I get a pile of grains I use wooden chopsticks to pull them off the spoon. I keep thinking I'll get a colander but honestly this works fine. If your straining as much as Gale Force though you probablly need a colander.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrheka
If your straining as much as Gale Force though you probablly need a colander.
LOL I hadn't really thought about that. But I suppose most people just need a slotted spoon. I am not sure how well the sprout jar lids would work to strain, probably fine. I let my kefir brew a little longer than most so it is extra thick and wouldn't go through cheese cloth or a regular strainer.
post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gale Force
Oh, and a tip for expanding your grain stash: put the grains in a lot of milk and let them sit for 2-3 days, strain and do it again. When I started with about 2 tsp I did this until I ended up with about a cup. It took 2 weeks or so. Luckily I've got some nice gallon glass jars so I am able to brew about 3/4 gallon in on jar.
Thanks Gale, that's a great tip! I actually did add a bit more milk than usual, and have been letting it sit out for two days! I will check them today. The whey seperated but I just swirled it back in to the curds. I was worried about getting out the grains, but I can water it down and make bread with it. Then add more milk and let it keep doing this.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!
post #36 of 38
Well, I used my very best powers of persuasion and the postmaster won't mail the grains. He agreed to ship them ground if I don't include the milk. That won't work, so that's out. I'll talk to another postmaster tomorrow about it in town and we'll see if I have any success. Basically, he is worried that the milk will leak and they will have to call in the hazard materials team. He said that there is no rule against mailing a milk product but that he is supposed to use his common sense. And there is no container that he would agree is foolproof enough to send them in.
post #37 of 38
ACK, that sucks, Gale!

I triple baggie mine with the expensive 'ziplocks' and use just enough milk to keep the grains 'washed' in it...so it's not all that liquidy (ergo, no problems yet). It sounds like your postmaster is giving you needless grief!

I read somewhere to 'vacuum seal' the baggie with one of those electric sealers, but then you'd need a sealer. I have heard you can 'iron' the edge closed on a mylar bag, but you'd need mylar bags....

I'm trying to think of a container he'd approve of, for a tiny bit of milk...gee, it's not like it's a haz mat!

Maybe a baby food jar, wrapped in plastic bubble wrap (up goes the shipping costs) or some other small, sealing plastic container so you don't have to worry about glass.

You know, technically once the Kefir grains arrive, it's more curds, not really liquid milk.....

The other option would be to dehydrate the grains and store them in powdered milk to ship.
post #38 of 38
I discussed this with him backwards and forwards. The container doesn't matter. He won't ship it. "What if I double bag it, put a washcloth around it, and put it in a tupperware container?" No dice. It could get crushed, leak on the PO floor, and require the hazmat team. It would be curds by the time it got to bellafin, but it could leak all over in Bakersfield while it was still milk. Anyhoo, we went through all the scenarios.
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