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Can Kefir Go Bad? (Yes & How To Store)

Quick Answer

Yes. Much like any other dairy product available across the world, Kefir can in fact go bad over time. However, it takes much longer for Kefir to go bad, especially when compared to some other dairy products such as standard milk.

Kefir is a highly popular alternative to milk that is served as a health drink, thanks to its various benefits for the gut.

It’s rather similar to a thin yogurt that can be drunk straight or mixed in with various other ingredients to create unique drinks. 

It’s a form of fermented milk made using kefir grains, which are a form of live symbiotic culture that is fantastic for your continued gut health.

Can Kefir Go Bad

The only problem is, due to its nature as a dairy-based product, many people find themselves wondering whether Kefir can actually go bad. 

Can Kefir go bad? What causes it to go bad? How can you prevent it from going bad? Why don’t we take a look to find out?

Join us down below to find out all that you need to know about Kefir and its unique properties. 

How Long Does It Take For Kefir To Go Bad?

Generally, most Kefir products will have labels that directly indicate their best-by-date.

You will want to aim to consume your Kefir product before the date listed on the label. Luckily, this label usually tends to list a date around two to three weeks in the future.

Once the best-by-date has passed, the drink will tend to taste a bit too strong. Once the best-by-date has passed, you should aim to consume it within a week.

Kefir will still hold up for up to a week after its best-by-date, but it will begin to taste very strong, and very sour, which may be unappetizing to many. 

How Long Does An Opened Kefir Product Take To Go Bad? 

Now that we know how long a sealed Kefir product is able to last, the question naturally arises as to how long Kefir will last once a product has been opened. 

Generally, a Kefir product that has been opened should last for around two weeks, provided it is cared for adequately. 

However, there is the chance that the active ingredients in the Kefir will begin to spoil much sooner than the two-week time frame, so you must make sure to look out for signs of this before attempting to consume the product. 

How Do You Know If Kefir Has Gone Bad?

Do you have a Kefir product that has been sitting in your kitchen for some time, and you are now hesitant to consume it, for fear that it might have spoiled?

Luckily, there are a few things that you can check for in order to tell if Kefir has spoiled well past its best. 

One of the first things that you should look out for in order to determine if Kefir has gone bad is signs of mold. Mold is the most immediate and obvious sign that Kefir has gone bad.

Check for fuzzy patches on the Kefir, especially towards the upper surface of it. You may notice a few spots that are unique in color, such as orange or pink.

Kefir also begins to separate when it has spoiled significantly. You will notice that it has separated if it begins to take on a watery consistency, and there are large solid chunks floating around in it. 

If you cannot spot any visual signs of spoilage, you can also try to see if the Kefir has spoiled by smelling it. Open the container and check for any strong and pungent odors.

Kefir naturally has quite a sour smell, which can make it slightly more difficult to tell if it has gone off, unlike ordinary milk, but if that sour smell has become much stronger than usual, then it has likely past its best!

Finally, if you are still unable to tell whether your Kefir has spoiled, you can try to give it a taste test.

Similar to its smell, Kefir is naturally very sour tasting, so it may be difficult to tell by taste if it has gone too bad.

However, if the taste of your Kefir becomes too strong, and you find that it has become unappetizing, then it may be best to discard it at that point! 

Generally, if there are no visual signs of spoilage with your Kefir, then you can still safely consume it.

Even when Kefir becomes incredibly sour, it is still safe for consumption, it just may not be appetizing anymore. When it does become incredibly sour, you may want to use it in recipes that mask its sour taste!

How Should You Care For Kefir?

How Should You Care For Kefir

Do you have a Kefir product that you want to ensure reaches its best by date? If so, then there are a few things that you want to make sure of.

First, the most important thing to do is to keep your Kefir products in your refrigerator.

Refrigerating your Kefir helps to prevent the drink from fermenting at a faster rate, which in turn allows it to last much longer before becoming intensely sour. 

Keeping Kefir in the fridge helps it to last for around two to even three weeks provided it is still in a sealed container!

Once you have opened the container of Kefir, you should make certain that you are always keeping it in the fridge between uses.

As well as this, you should always reseal the container that it is kept in, or transfer it to a new airtight container, to help keep bacteria from reaching it. 

Once your container of Kefir has been opened, it should generally last for around two weeks, before you will begin to notice visual signs of spoilage. 

Can Kefir Be Placed In A Freezer?

While Kefir already lasts a very long time, especially when kept in a refrigerator, you may find yourself wanting to keep it in good condition for much longer.

To that end, you may wonder whether it is possible to place it in a freezer. 

Technically speaking, Kefir can be placed in a freezer, but it is not best for its quality. When Kefir is frozen, it naturally begins to separate.

The solid elements of the drink begin to separate from the water found in the Kefir. This means that when the Kefir is thawed, its consistency will be lost.

You can blend the solid elements and the water back together, but the Kefir will never quite regain its once creamy texture, which can then make it very unsatisfying to drink. 

However, you could very well freeze your Kefir if you only plan to use it as an ingredient, as, when used as an ingredient, the texture of the drink will matter much less.

What Would Happen If You Consumed Kefir That Had Gone Bad?

Luckily, because of its nature as a fermented product, it would take some significant time for Kefir to become dangerous to consume.

When Kefir begins to spoil, at worst the flavor begins to become incredibly sour, which simply makes it less appetizing to the average consumer. 

It is only when visual signs of spoilage, such as intense separation or buildups of mold begin to make themselves appear that you should try to avoid consuming Kefir.

If you were to consume Kefir which had gone significantly past its best, you would not need to panic, as it is unlikely that you would experience any truly extreme adverse effects.

At worst, you may experience slight stomach pains and stomach cramps within around 24 hours of first consuming the Kefir.

In very rare cases, you may find yourself becoming ill, and developing a much stronger stomach ache.

Allow your body time to recover, but if symptoms of stomach pains extend for more than 24 hours, you may want to contact a doctor for a checkup to ensure that there are no worse effects. 

To Wrap Up

Due to its nature as a fermented drink, it can be incredibly difficult to tell if Kefir has ever gone bad.

However, we can tell you with absolute certainty that Kefir does in fact go bad, provided it is left lying around for too long, or it is not cared for properly.

Generally, you can tell that Kefir is well past its best because it will begin to show visual signs of spoilage, such as pockets of mold, as well as separation.

If you spot those signs, it is best to dispose of the Kefir, in order to avoid developing stomach pains. 

You can also help your Kefir to last much longer by ensuring that you place it into your refrigerator between every usage, and that you keep it in an adequate container that is air-tight.

Jess Smith