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What's a good reputable source for kefir grains?

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Online sources would be nice, but any place near DC would be even better.

I wish I knew how to make the stuff at home, but apparently kefir can only come from other kefir. Makes you wonder where the original kefir came from...

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  1. Most natural foods stores carry packets of this - should be in the refrigerated section along with yogurt starter and rennet. Give them a call. Another strong option would be your area food coop.

    1. A little late, but perhaps still useful:

      http://www.gemcultures.com/index.htm

      This is a very good mail order source!

      takadi, how have your culturing adventures been going?

      2 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        Do you know how long it takes to get your order? I sent my order by mail on Saturday, as they do not accept Paypal or online payment. I emailed Gem Cultures to see if they have received my order and I have not heard back. I am excited and impatient to get my milk and water kefir grains! I am used to hit pay and immediate email back and then a tracking number in a few day.

        Sigh.....

        1. re: twelvepercentt

          Gem is a tiny outfit and not very responsive; they do, however, have good cultures although for kefir you might have been better off getting grains from other members on one of the Yahoo kefir groups; people are always looking to get rid of extra grains. However, you might want to enjoy your solitude and carefree life while you can...the rate at which milk kefir grains multiply can be likened to Mickey's water in The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence of Fantasia (which is why people are always looking to dump them, usually for just the cost of shipping). I used to fear being eaten in my sleep while I was "doing" kefir.

      2. The packets of starter found in health food stores won't perpetuate for more than a few generations. To keep a strain going, you need real kefir grains.
        GEM Cultures is indeed a reputable outfit (I got my viili and fil mjölk starter from them and am very tempted by their bread cultures now) but a cheaper option is to join a kefir group on Yahoo and ask if anyone has grains to share. There's almost always someone who'll let you have enough to get started for just the cost of postage. Kefir grains are VERY hardy and the likelihood of your getting "bad" ones is close to nil.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MacGuffin

          A friend of mine was given some water kefir grains. He has no interest in making any and passed them on to me. At this point they are probably 6 months old and have been in the refrigerator the whole time.

          How long do they last? Can you easily tell if they are no longer viable?
          Thanks!

          1. re: meatn3

            My guess is that they're probably dead (they need to be fed) but on the other hand, they might be dormant. Find a recipe online and try brewing a small batch. If they grow and your solution ferments, they're good. :)