Kefir is an ancient drink that has been used in various cultures throughout the years. It is said to be the drink of long life. Wikipedia has a great overview of kefir. Kefir is made by fermenting milk with a special starter grain (which is not really a grain at all but a culture of yeast and good bacteria) The milk and kefir grain are fermented at room temperature for about 24 hours. Kefir can be bought at a health food store or a specialty store, but it seems rather expensive for something that can so easily be made at home. I got a kefir start from a friend who has been culturing kefir for a while. I was interested in trying kefir but a bit hesitant. I finally asked for a start and was surprised at how easy it is to make.
To make kefir at home you will need:
1. A non reactive container, I used a mason jar
2. A piece of cheesecloth, a paper napkin, a cloth, or other covering for the container that will allow gasses to escape.
3. Milk or other liquid to ferment. Goat or cow's milk are traditional, but coconut milk, almond or soy milk and even sugar water will work.
4. Kefir grains
5. strainer (optional, but recommended)
|these are the kefir grains ready for the milk
About one Tablespoon of kefir grains are put in the container with about 1 cup of milk (leaving at least an inch of room for expansion). Cover with a cloth, napkin, paper towel or cheesecloth. Let the milk and grains set at room temperature for about 24 hours.
After 24 hours remove the grains (this is where the strainer comes in handy). Add the grains to another cup of milk to begin the next batch. It is seriously that easy. I was so surprised
After 24 hours the kefir will be ready for our morning smoothie
After a couple of weeks the grains will have multiplied. (I am about a month into it and my grains have nearly doubled so I am adding them to about 2 cups of milk). I can share a start, or continue creating more kefir. Currently I am creating more kefir because the children are beginning to enjoy it and I am finding more uses for it. Health food lover has over 80 recipes or ways to use kefir. Amazon has several books available on kefir. One such book that looked like it would be a great resource is, Cultured Food for Life: How to Make and Serve Delicious Probiotic Foods for Better Health and Wellness.
Mostly we use the kefir as a base for a morning smoothie. This makes it really easy. I just make my morning smoothie with the kefir, and then I start a new batch which is ready for the next morning. The amazing thing is that it can go for more than 24 hours without any negative effects. So I can skip a day and do not have to worry. I love that it is so forgiving. It is so much easier than yogurt and many people say it has more benefits. I know that I am enjoying the benefits of this health drink. It is all part of a master plan to get my gut back into order for a much healthier me.
What about you? Do you enjoy kefir? What is your favorite recipe? Do you have some advice for those who are just starting the journey? Leave a comment below so we can all learn.
This post shares as part of real food wednesdays