Great, so now you are ready to harvest your kefir! You will need to get ready your spatula, strainer, straining bowls, and a second clamp locking jar . You can revisit the details about that equipment here if you need.
Tipping the fermented mix out of the jar into your strainer can be a bit messy , so the sink is tea best place to do this.
Okay, pop the strainer on top of the bowl and place it in the center of the sink . Shake the jar vigorously until all of the curds and whey recombine fully, then open the lid and with two hands pour into the strainer as much of the mix as you can without overflowing.
It will become clear at this point, that because you definitely need two hands on the jar, and you don’t have a third one to hold the strainer in place, this is why the strainer must sit securely on top of the bowl . Else, the most horrible of accidents might take place, and your precious grains end up going down the plug hole.
You can now set the jar down and take hold of the strainer. Using your spatula, stir the mixture firmly , maintaining contact between the spatula’s head and the strainer mesh, until all that’s left in the strainer are the grains . You don’t need to worry at all about damaging the grains as you do this, in fact, breaking them up a bit will help them multiply faster in the next ferment if that’s what you want.
Without rinsing the grains, transfer them to your other straining bowl, and repeat until all of the grains have been separated from the freshly harvested kefir.
The only time you should ever rinse your grains is if they have become contaminated or dirtied in some way. The kefir that coats the grains after straining contains important probiotic organisms and the valuable water-soluble polysaccharide kefiran. Starting a new batch of kefir with grains that have had his coating washed away will produce kefir with less kefiran and probiotic diversity, with the fermentation period extended as a result. It is also theorized that the external coating protects the grains and subsequent fermentations, by inhibition of the growth of unwanted organisms.
Mission Accomplished! You are now free to either consume your kefir on the spot, pop it in the fridge , or continue with a secondary fermentation . As for your grains , you’ll either use them to immediately start a fresh primary fermentation , gold less ideally, rest them in the fridge .
Once you have finished either the primary or a secondary fermentation , kefir that isn’t slated for immediate consumption should be transferred to the fridge . As some fermentation will continue even at 4 ℃, the best container is still the clamp locking jar . After straining, you can just pour the harvested kefir straight back into the jar it fermented in, close the lid, and give it a good shake to dissolve any kefir cheese that had formed around the inside of the jar and lid (if you didn ‘ t scrape out and eat most of it, as I can never resist doing). With the lid safely closed, you can rinse off the outside of jar with cold water, and it’s ready for the fridge.
Kefir is said to be safe to drink almost indefinitely, with some people reporting consuming kefir upwards of a full year old even! Goal the flavor of kefir does change significantly over time even when refrigerated (as fermentation continues), so we find keeping it in the fridge and consuming it within at most a month is good advice , and perhaps ideally, within a couple of weeks.