How Long Does Kefir Last?

How long does kefir last? Kefir grains, kefir powder and kefir milk will last for different amounts of time, decreasing in the order given, when properly stored as described below. Kefir milk is considered a fermented food with similar, yet more, probiotic benefits compared to yogurt.

The shelf life of kefir is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the form, processing method, carton date, light and heat exposure, and how it is stored.

So, how long does kefir last?

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Kefir Expiration Date

(Unopened/Opened) Counter Refrigerator Freezer
Bottled Kefir Milk lasts for 2 hours 2 - 3 Weeks past printed date 2 - 3 Months
Homemade Kefir Milk lasts for 1 - 2 Days 2 - 3 Weeks 2 - 3 Months
Kefir Grains last for Indefinitely Indefinitely Indefinitely
Kefir Starter Powder lasts for 2 - 7 Uses 2 - 7 Uses 2 - 3 Months

Of course, all types of food and drink products last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember, dairy products usually have a sell by date - which is the last date by which a manufacturer will vouch for a product's quality, not its safety. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it to compliment your favorite meals even after its "sell by date" has lapsed, according to the table above if it is stored properly at all times.

How to tell if Kefir is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Since plain kefir milk will already have a sour smell and taste when fresh, it is harder to tell if kefir milk has gone bad. Look for any changes in color, texture or aroma of the product.

Kefir grains will begin to become compromised if left in fresh milk for longer than 24 hours. They will begin to slowly die off after that if not removed an either placed into fresh milk, properly dried or frozen.

If you have bad kefir milk, check our substitute page to find a proper alternative.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Kefir to extend its shelf life?

Keeping kefir milk cold is essential to extending its shelf life. You can help keep kefir milk fresh longer by keeping it away from light and by placing it back into your refrigerator immediately after each use.

Kefir grains should be kept away from sunlight and continually submerged into fresh milk every 24 hours. If they do not get fresh milk where they can feed on the lactose, then they will die. If they are are fed, they can survive indefinitely. For long term storage, without milk production, kefir grains should be properly dried.

Store milk on an interior refrigerator shelf rather than in the door, where the temperature fluctuates with frequent opening.

In addition, opened kefir milk should be stored tightly in its original container as the containers were specifically designed for this purpose.

Unfortunately freezing kefir milk, although safe, isn't a great option. Freezing is not recommended because freezing destabilizes the molecular structure and the resulting product will be less desirable than the fresh product. If you do freeze your kefir milk, it will keep for about 3 Months in the freezer. When ready to use, it should be blended for best results.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

How to use extra before your Kefir goes bad?

What if you have extra kefir grains and want to take a break from making kefir milk? Kefir grains can be dried for long term storage, they will rehydrate again when placed into milk. They do need to be properly dried, so follow instructions.

How long is Kefir good for when prepared in a dish?

How long do kefir grains last? That depends. How long does milk last? In general, drinks last only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient that they are mixed with.

What are our shelf life resources?

In determining how long Kefir lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Kefir.

*An important note about expiration dates...

Although the Kefir shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!

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