Crunchy Life Hack: Homemade Kefir WITHOUT Dirty Dishes


So, I love kefir. Well, not so much the taste of kefir, but he health benefits of consuming kefir. I swear by kefir, fermented cod liver oil, and a very low amount of refined sugar in the diet for staying healthy all winter long.

Swear by it.

What is kefir?

Kefir is a cultured dairy product made from milk. The end product is similar to yogurt, although the texture is a bit runnier. The culturing process not only results in a final product loaded with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, but lactose is removed during the fermentation, which means people with lactose issues can typically tolerate homemade kefir. (Store-bought kefir is not the same caliber as homemade kefir. Read more on that here.)

I’ve outlined the many benefits of this strong probiotic before– the purpose of this post is simply to save you some dish washing time.

Allow me to explain.

The old Ashley may have thrown a few silent (or not so silent… ahem) fits at bedtime upon realizing the kefir still needed to be switched over before bed. That would be because “switching over” involved:

kefir switchover with words Collage

Photo credits: All photos above from David Niergarth, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution, edited.

Did you catch how many dishes were dirty after that process? In addition to the used mason jar, colander, bowl, whisk (or wooden spoon in my case) pictured above, I also used a funnel to pour the completed kefir from the bowl into a clean mason jar for storage in the fridge.

This processes, while not that difficult, made want to feed my kefir grains to the chickens and just go to sleep.

(If you’re new to making kefir and you have no idea what just happened up there, see THIS post for step-by-step instructions on making kefir the easy way.)

BUT, all that has changed. I now laugh in the face of a late-night kefir switch over.

How? Why?

It’s simple. You just use a spoon (or your very clean hands will work also) to fish the kefir grains out of the top of the completed kefir.

Tah-dah! No colander, no bowl, no funnel, no nothing. Your completed kefir remains in the jar it cultured in- simply refrigerate. Then stick the grains in a new jar, add fresh milk, and leave on the counter to culture.

Let’s review. Gather materials- a new jar for your grains and a spoon to fish grains out with:

tools for kefir

Locate the grains. They will be floating in the top portion of your completed kefir, and they are pretty easy to spot:

kefir grains labeled

Scoop the grains our with your spoon:

scoop the grains

Put grains in new jar and cover with new milk. Leave them on the counter to culture. Stick the completed kefir in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

dirty dishes smaller

I’ve been doing it this way for about five months, and I’m loving every single kefir switch over. I feel like I am cheating the real food world!

I received a slotted wooden spoon set for Christmas (similar to this set), which works perfectly for fishing out the grains. Before I had a slotted wooden spoon I just used one of my regular stainless spoons and it worked fine. The slotted spoon allows me to scoop around and make sure I’m not missing any new baby grains in there though.




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  1. New reader here!! Found you through Cheerfully imperfect. Don’t you just love it when simple slaps you in the face like this!? Thanks for the tip! I’m a fermenting newbie… I would have bought the strainer.

    • I KNOW! I spent so long washing all the “parts” and now it’s so easy I can’t even believe it!

    • I had a spoon that should have been a perfect size for most anything….all it needed would have been some holes. My wonderful hubs drilled them, buffed them and now I have perfection. The spoon works also! (now I wish I had more spoons!) Do you start the kefir with the grains from the store? Would a yogurt ‘maker’ be any good since it has the individual cups that could be refrigerated? Thanks.

      • Suzi, for kefir you don’t even need a yogurt maker- you just leave the jar on the counter at room temp for a day or two and it’s done. It really is so easy. Once it’s done, then you store it in the fridge in whatever container you want- we use mason jars. You do have to find “milk kefir grains” from someone, but they are pretty easy to find locally usually. You can ask on Facebook if you’re on there, or at a local Weston A Price chapter meeting or even the Farmer’s Market. You can also order starter kefir grains online- Cultures for Health is a reputable place. Once you get some grains, you use the same ones over and over, so you never need to buy more. They also multiply, so you can give some away if you want.

  2. Kristen says:

    Hi Ashley, thanks for this post! I have been known to possible throw “fits” or forget kefir before bedtime, too. 🙂 Thanks for the hack! My grains have been growing so fast ~ what do you do when you have too many kefir grains?

  3. Where is the best place to get Kefir start? Locally there’s only the freeze dried stuff.

    • If you have a local Weston A Price group or even a local “crunchy” group on Facebook, you can usually find them. There are people who will mail them too, check places like craigslist!

  4. Heyy I love your tip, since the dishes cause me the same feeling of trowing them to the chicken and going to sleep haha! I just have one question, the amount of grains on the spoon seems so little, is that really all there is?


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