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Make Your Own Kefir

Kefir (pronounced keh-feer) is like thin yogurt, but much better for you. It is available in stores, but homemade is best for it contains many more strains of the good bacteria (about thirty!). These probiotics will live and colonize in your intestines; warding off toxins, bad bacteria and boost your immunity. (It also makes you smell nicer in many ways).

The long list of benefits is what got me hooked, not to mention the convenience of always having fresh kefir at a fraction of what you would pay in the grocery store. It’s tangy and creamy, similar to buttermilk or unflavoured yogurt.

To make it at home, you need the kefir “grains”. These grains resemble spongey rice pudding. The little curds are made up of live beneficial bacteria and yeast. Your “new pet” as my friend Darlene would say, is kept alive by feeding it milk; though I have read coconut water, soy and almond milk will also work. You can purchase kefir grains (also called Tibetan Mushrooms) on the internet, but it’s best shared from a friend (thank you Darlene).

Add your grains to a glass jar, don’t worry about sterilizing, it just needs to be clean. Pour in your milk, at a ratio of about one tablespoon of grains to a cup of milk (I used organic whole milk, but any type will do). Just experiment to see what texture and flavour you’re happy with. Cover with something that breathes as the fermenting milk will give off gas. A coffee filter and rubberband works great.

Leave it on your counter out of direct sunlight for 12-24 hours. I tend to strain it in the mornings for granola or smoothies. The fermenting time will vary depending on room temperature or amount of grains to milk ratio (the more grains or warmer temperature, the faster it’s done).

When the milk becomes thick and bubbly, you know it’s ready.

Pour the contents into a sieve, working back and forth with a spoon to help the kefir through.

Scoop out the strained kefir grains. Do not rinse, just put them back into a clean jar, add milk, and cover. A new batch will be ready tomorrow. Any leftover kefir can be stored in the fridge, loosely cover, for a few days.

If you are finding that the grains are multiplying faster than you can drink, then you can eat them, or share them, or put in the freezer as backup just in case some die. You can also keep your grains in the fridge with milk to slow down fermentation. If you do, be sure to leave it out for a few days to let the colony reestablish itself. Some of the microbes will die from the cold.

This is what happens when you leave it too long. You can see the milk has separated. It’s still okay though; just give it a stir and strain. Or pour off the liquid and make sour cream or cheese. The longer you leave it to ferment, the higher the folate content. It will also be thicker and more tangy.

Kefir can be enjoyed plain or try in a salad dressing or dip; wherever you need a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt.

Or spoon in some of your favourite fruit jam or syrup.

These are elderberries which we made into a syrup last summer. It’s a wonderful flu and cold remedy.

Or make a smoothie with frozen fruit and sweeten with honey. These wild blackberries were picked last August at the cottage.

We are very lucky to have this massive blackberry patch mysteriously appear one year. It covers the entire back hillside and provides us with an endless supply of berries all through August.

Henry enjoying his AND Betty’s blueberry smoothie. Pig.

  • deirdre - jill – i love this – it can’t get any easier – will you share some grains with me the next time i see you? does blueberry smoothie stain??!!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Deirdre, Of course I will share!ReplyCancel

  • katya jacobson - I think that everything you have on your website is cool.
    Especially Henry.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Thank you Katya, now drink you Kefir that your mother made you.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Parmenter - Jill, I want to smell nicer too! : ) I want to make kefir! Had no idea it was that easy – although, you make everything look easy. ‘Tibetan Mushrooms’ sounds suspect. If I try to order off the internet am I going to get flagged by the RCMP? LOL!ReplyCancel

  • France Simard - Oh Henry! That’s one lucky pig! He’s probably the healthiest little pig around.ReplyCancel

  • GullringstorpGoatGal - Hej from Sweden!

    I really love your blog and your recipe for chicken spring rolls I found! I really like your chickens and Henry. I would like to have a Henry. I see your chickens like the snow. Ours don’t they wont come out of their heated chicken condo.

    Welcome to my blog to see our animals. My blog is about a city girl turned city gal living in the Swedish countryside with my goats and other animals.

    Your photo are beautiful as well!ReplyCancel

  • Janet Eastwood - Just had my first Kefir smoothie. I added hemp hearts and chia with blueberries – delicious!! Thanks JillReplyCancel

  • Rosemary - Jill, I really enjoyed the Kefir Smoothie you shared with me today–so delicious. Thank you for the kefir grains, I am excited to try making my own kefir–I will be sure to share some with my neighbours.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I just love your website and have it as an icon on my home page. I’m delighted each time there’s a new post. Everything you and your family does is so wholesome and the recipes are delicious. I enjoyed your latest post on making your own kefir. I’ll have to try to order some grains and make my own. Updates and photos of adorable Henry are fascinating; he’s so sweet! Your family is so creative.ReplyCancel

  • Dana Venne - Wonderful information. You have inspired me to make my own kefir. I have purchased a particular brand of kefir, however it is no longer available in the grocery stores and I don’t like the flavour of the available brands. Maybe I will have more luck with my own.ReplyCancel

  • Preserving Citrus | Eat Boutique - handmade food giftbox, homemade, homespun, gift basket, food that hugs you back - […] been making the Kefir shown above religiously every morning. Today’s version is flavored with lemon and a spot of […]ReplyCancel

  • myra broadbent - I love the keifer milk which I do make with whole milk, but I seem to get a lot of gas from it. Im not really suppose to have dairy products, but a friend gave me some tabetian mushrooms to make the keifer and I just love it. Is there another milk I could use such as coconut or almond milk? Thanks MyraReplyCancel

  • Barbara Parmenter - Another huge success thanks to Freestylefarm!! Just made my first batch of kefir. It is delicious and stunningly simple. Thank you Jill!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Porter - Thank you for sharing some grains!! First batch of kefir just about ready! You truly are inspirational, Jill.ReplyCancel

  • Blackberry Peach Pie | Eat Boutique - handmade food giftbox, homemade, homespun, gift basket, food that hugs you back - […] The month of August blessed us with these beautiful berries.  Most are frozen, to use in kefir smoothies throughout the winter.   Henry and Rocco are right at our heels, gorging on ripe fallen […]ReplyCancel

  • Happy Belly Tangerine Blueberry Smoothie « The Lotus Manifesto - […] Cup organic berry-flavored Kefir (or you can make your own, which I haven’t YET […]ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - This looks awesome and easy! My problem is that I do not know anyone with the grains. Where can I get some to get me started??ReplyCancel

  • Katie - I actually have a question about the milk. I have been buying organic whole milk and recently decided to try another brand. After buying the milk I noticed the ingredients say that they have added fish oil to the milk for Dha-epa. So… What I am wondering, is can this contaminate my grains? Or will it just produce like normal? I have looked high and low for information regarding this but haven’t been able to find anything. I think I would like to switch back to my other brand but until this is gone, I still need to keep the kefir going with milk.
    Any thoughts? Thank You 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - I am so interested in starting the kefir. Have been having a lot of stomach problems due to over acidity. Can you tell me where the best place is to get the grains?
    Thanks so much,

  • Raising Backyard Quails » FreestyleFarm - […] times more nutritious than chicken eggs and best consumed raw (even shell and all). We like ours in kefir smoothies, sunny side up as a cute garnish on caesar salad, or dropped raw into a bowl of hot noodle soup […]ReplyCancel

  • Happy Belly Tangerine Blueberry Smoothie « Yoga and Yum - […] Cup organic berry-flavored Kefir (or you can make your own, which I haven’t YET […]ReplyCancel

  • victoria - Looks good. I also make water kefir using citrus juice. Turns out like a natural orangina! Great alternative to pop.ReplyCancel

  • bj - everything i read instructs one on what to do if you end up with too many kefir grains. i find that my kefir grains are not multiplying and i have very few so it takes a long time (like a couple days) to make my kefir.

    how do you get it to multiply MORE?ReplyCancel

  • Bye Bye Raccoons » FreestyleFarm - […] mush of applesauce, quail eggs, mashed bananas and kefir was quickly slurped up for the first few days. High-protein cat kibble was added when they could […]ReplyCancel

  • Kefir Smoothie » FreestyleFarm - […] I first posted about kefir and all it’s benefits, I am happy to report that the grains are still growing, and we are all […]ReplyCancel

  • Carl - This is something new to me. I sometimes make yoghurt, but it’s so cheap to buy it hardly seems worth the effort. This kefir however is not so readily available and I know my family would really go for it. Yup, got to be done. Thanks for that. Lovely site by the way, I love your aquaponics set up.ReplyCancel

  • tammy - i made pancakes with this, good. but probably killed the good bacteriaReplyCancel

  • INAYAT Shakoor - Can I take twice a day or only once is enoughReplyCancel

  • Joseph Butts (Sonny) - I’m turned onto Kefir mushrooms–where can I but some or do you know of someone in San Diego or surrounding area that would share some with me–nothing but good things have I heard Thanks SonnyjoeReplyCancel

  • Joseph Butts (Sonny) - I’m turned onto Kefir mushrooms–where can I purchase some or do you know of someone in San Diego or surrounding area that would share some with me–nothing but good things have I heard Thanks SonnyjoeReplyCancel

  • Brew Your Own Kombucha Tea » FreestyleFarm - […] making kefir, cover with something breathable (like a coffee filter) for gas to escape and keep fruit flies out. […]ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Do you live in TO. I have tried to find kefir grains with no luck,as a matter of fact just heard about them and I am 73yrs. Hope you can help as I believe this food could cure my health situation. I am in TO on Easter Sunday could we meet and share those wonderful grains you have. Please help

    Thanking you in advance


  • ANdrew - Hello,

    I am relitivily new to kefir . I got it from a nieghbor. I am currently experimenting using coconut milk.

    Question for you, Why are you using a metal strainer and spoon ? It seems very clear on everyone’s site that metal is bad for the kefir .

    Thank you in advance..ReplyCancel

  • alegria - Hi,

    I need with some urgency to consume kefir mushrooms for a problem in my stomach. Where can I found the fresh kefir or the fresh kefir milk in Miami ???

    Best Regards

  • Sandy Gavilanes - Hi my name is Sandy , I live in Los Angeles , I want to know if somebody can share with me some kafir , I feel very weak most of the time and I’m loosing lots of hair , please let me know if I can have some of this wonderful nature cure . my email address is ( ) Thank you so much…..
    Sandy G.ReplyCancel

  • Julia - I enjoy greek yogurt and like to buy it for it’s high protein content. Does this have similar protein?ReplyCancel

  • Lois Gilbertson - Just wondering if kefir can go bad? Was just diagnosed with kidney infection and supposed to be from a bad bacteria! Not sure if this is what it is?ReplyCancel

  • brendha mansfield-cadieux - Hello there, where can I get hold of / buy the best keifer grains. For years I have been using keifer but unfortunately my keifer died. A friend gave me some Tibetan grains and she has moved back to her country.

    I would truly appreciate a reply.

    Cheers – BrendhaReplyCancel

  • Lorraine - Working with the grains I love them experimenting with dates and different fruits I add he Kifir to my smoothies and I’m really enjoying itReplyCancel

  • Christine Ryland - Where can I purchase the Kefir grains?ReplyCancel

  • jasmine - hi, can u tell me which internet website is good to buy kefir grains.

    or, u mind to share some with me.

    jasmine +60132808333ReplyCancel

  • Helena - Hello,

    I am interested in the Tibetan mushroom.
    How much it cost? How to receive them?
    I live in Oakland, California, USA.

    Thank you for your replay.

    tel. 510-454-9196ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Is it possible to use almond ‘milk’?ReplyCancel

  • Maria - Where to buy the grains?ReplyCancel

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