The First in a 3 Part Series about Kefir Grains
This started with a request we put in the November Moosletter for folks to recommend a good source for kefir grains. We had quite a few responses and we received a lot of good information. It was way too much for one article, so we decided to do a series of three: 1. Ordering them, 2. Growing them, 3. Using them and sending them to friends (Dec.8th). Note: These articles are based primarily on the responses we received-they are not meant to be the final word, by any means!
What are kefir grains and why should I grow them?
There are no actual grains in kefir. According to Wikipedia: Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and this symbiotic matrix forms “grains” that resemble cauliflower. For this reason, a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains.
There are few, if any, foods more loaded with probiotic bacteria than kefir grains. They are little living ecosystems, packing a whallup of good, disease fighting bacteria. There really is no comparison between living grains and the probiotic supplements you can buy.
If your diet is dairy-free, you don’t have to use milk to grow your grains. In fact, you can buy water kefir grains which have been raised in a mix of water and sugar and sometimes a little dried fruit. You can also convert some of your milk kefir grains to water grains which usually takes 4-5 days.
Living grains are not to be confused with freeze dried powder kefir cultures. We sell those, along with our other cultures, for folks who like the taste and texture of kefir without the fuss of growing grains. These cultures do have probiotics in them, but nowhere near as many as in the living grains.
Ordering the Grains:
There are so many sites online for ordering grains that we can’t even begin to list them all. The list we have here is limited to include only the ones recommended to us by the readers of our Moosletter after we asked for their advice. (If you were one of the many folks who wrote in-thank you!) Note: If you know of a source not listed, please make a comment (at the end of the article) with the information in it.
|Cultures For Health|
Products: Dehydrated water and milk kefir grains, strainers, mineral drops and flip-top bottles.
Support: On-site forum, live chat with customer service reps and a good trouble-shooting section. They also have their own You-Tube video.
Ordering: You can order by phone, fax, mail or credit card (but not with PayPal).
Price: Both milk and water kefir grains are $16.99 + 3.99 flat rate shipping (in Continental US). No international shipping for individual orders.
|Deluxe Kefir Grains Kit from Yemoos|
Products: Fresh and dehydrated water and milk grains, kits, strainers, lids, jars, jar covers, swing-top bottles, etc.
Support: No phone, but extensive FAQ, pictures, weekly interactive Q&A sessions, recipes, monthly drawings.
Ordering: By credit card and PayPal only, shipping is Mondays and Tuesdays only by Priority Mail. Will ship internationally.
Price: $10 + shipping ($5 for fresh and $2 for dehydrated) or you can “adopt a culture” where you order it, try it and if you like it- you pay the fee!
Products: Fresh milk kefir grains
Support: Online directions with pictures, 20 page direction booklet with order, toll free phone number
Ordering: Credit cards and PayPal, phone. Shipping is Mon-Thurs.
Price: Fresh grains – $14.95 + shipping, dehydrated grains – $9.95 + shipping. Call or e-mail about international shipping.
|Pockets of the Future|
Products: Live milk grains
Support: Two online videos of the family making kefir, instructions with 2 pictures
Ordering: Credit cards and PayPal
Price: $20 includes shipping. E-mail them about international shipping
Products: Kefir milk grains
Support: Online video, 2 hour course, online info section, phone (in Germany), e-mail
Ordering: PayPal or use credit card to pay as PayPal guest
Price: $13 includes shipping (from germany), Special now – $23 for 2 hour video course (sold separately for $17) and grains. Ships everywhere except Australia (which doesn’t allow kefir into country).
Here you have the convenience of easy ordering (if you’re registered). There are many listings. We received praise for Lifetime Kefir and Bain King (who may not be currently selling).
If you like to order from eBay, there are many folks selling grains. Prices range from $.99+shipping, $5.45, including shipping, and up. There are also complete kits in the $20 range available.
Listings on Etsy:
Prices vary wildly.
Kefir Lady – http://www.kefirlady.com
Products: Dried kefir grains and water kefir grains
Support: Grains come with 7 page instructions, online FAQ, phone
Ordering: Send cash or blank money order
Price: $15 + $5 shipping. (If you order more than one kind of grain (milk kefir, water kefir or Kombucha), the shipping remains at $5. Shipping on Mondays only. Will ship internationally.
GEM Cultures – http://www.gemcultures.com
Products: Fresh milk and water grains
Support: One page of links to info sites, phone number
Ordering: Check or money order
Price: Milk grains – $22 + $12 shipping, water grains – $20 + $12 shipping. Shipping is Mondays and Tuesdays only by Priority Mail, (list of many weeks in year when they do not ship). No international shipping.
Eat Yourself Healthy – http://eatyourselfhealthy.webs.com/kefir.htm
Support: Workshops, instructions with grains
Ordering: Cash, check or pick up (in Rehoboth, MA) (Note: she ships when you call, not when she gets payment-honor system)
Price: Pick-up – $15, Mail order – $20, Workshops (including grains) – $35, No international.
Cackelberry Farm – firstname.lastname@example.org
Products: Fresh milk grains
Support: Instructions with grains, e-mail questions
Ordering: Send check or money order
Price: $12 + shipping ($3 for first class, $6 for Priority Mail)
Lisa’s Counter Culture – http://lisascounterculture.com/
Products: Fresh milk and water grains
Ordering: Pick up in Palo Alto, CA (call first)
Price: $15 in a small glass jar
You look up by state and town (it would be great if the list was divided by state with town in them). A lot of the entries are for pick-up only.
|The Kefir Maker|
The famous Dom. Many folks recommended his site as a great source of information.
The kefir maker