4

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Kefir fermenters - do you do it in the dark?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 07, 2012 at 4:00 PM

I've just started fermenting my own milk kefir. I found some how-to videos on youtube and sure enough, now I have a little microbial zoo growing on my kitchen counter. How cool is that? My kids are getting probiotic smoothies for breakfast. But today, looking for an explanatory link to send a friend who didn't know what kefir was, I came across this on Wikipedia:

"If the container is not light proof it should be stored in the dark to prevent degradation of vitamins and inhibition of the culture."

Degradation of the vitamins? None of the videos said anything about keeping it in the dark. Anyone heard of this? My kefir cultures just fine in a 24-30 hour period, out on the counter. I even stuck it in the sun today to speed things up a bit (successfully).

My gut reaction (ok, sorry for the pun) was that I'm doing the kefir for the probiotics and not the vitamins, so it doesn't matter. What do you think? Does light degrade vitamins in milk?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 07, 2012
at 09:06 PM

thanks for your thoughtful answer, which makes infinite sense. I'll stick my kefir jar in a drawer from now on. The things you learn by accident!

06c0ce9ada45c9680344e22e28b3960f

on March 07, 2012
at 07:55 PM

I have been making it for a year or so - in a translucent rubbermaid can-like container - on my kitchen counter. I suppose it *might* be better with less light, but I really DO go by the 80/20 rule at this point... I am already doing a great job for my kiddos by MAKING the kefir, I will not sweat the rest until I have more time/less stress :) I would like to approach "optimal" in everything I do but sometimes my energy is best put elsewhere.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:46 PM

maybe it's just the direct sunlight you want to avoid, i.e. UV rays. Now that I think about that, it kinda makes sense.

E3d70aeba50c3b761ddd88512db8a971

(65)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I always put a close on and around my bottle to keep it in the dark. http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html#Storing - Here it says: "Place the bottle in a dark spot away from direct sunlight". I think that site is trustable, though I have no real proof that it's true.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 07, 2012
at 05:29 PM

LOL, my dirty mind re-read your question title!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 07, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I want to try to ferment water kefir now, too. Just have to locate some grains. I feel like a mad scientist. Wait- I am a mad scientist. :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 07, 2012
at 04:04 PM

Sorry, I just do water kefir. I brew it on the counter, but I place it in a shady corner and cover with a dish towel.

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2 Answers

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0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:45 PM

It is a good idea to keep any milk product out of the light.

UV light from sunlight or florescent indoor lighting will degrade vitamins in the milk such as vitamin C and riboflavin (B6) reducing their levels.

UV light will also cause some photo-oxidation of proteins and fats in the milk.

UV light can inhibit the growth of fermenting bacteria however kefir cultures are pretty robust so I doubt you would ever notice a difference.

None of these processes are going to harm your health but you might as well get the best nutrition you can from your milk and kefir. I would keep your kefir in the dark or in an opaque container. I would not recommend putting it in the sun.

Milk is intended to pass from the mother directly into the child and has not developed protection against sunlight.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 07, 2012
at 09:06 PM

thanks for your thoughtful answer, which makes infinite sense. I'll stick my kefir jar in a drawer from now on. The things you learn by accident!

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 07, 2012
at 05:28 PM

I don't keep mine in the dark.

I suspect that any loss is negligible, since exposure isn't that long. I'd simply make sure that it doesn't get too hot, since sufficient heat will kill the bacteria.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:46 PM

maybe it's just the direct sunlight you want to avoid, i.e. UV rays. Now that I think about that, it kinda makes sense.

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