Some Background on Kefir
In the not-so-distant past, food preservation was done using lacto-fermentation. But the introduction of mass food production factories eventually led to alternative methods like pasteurization in order to help standardize the system. The bummer is that we’ve lost so many of the advantages of traditionally fermented foods. That’s why my sisters and I have begun a journey back to the ways of our grandmothers, in hopes of rejuvenating our children’s digestive and immune systems.
The Difference Between Kefir and Yogurt
Kefir and yogurt have similar tastes and both contain live and active probiotic cultures. But Kefir is a drink that contains many more probiotic cultures than typically found in yogurt (around 10) for greater digestive and immune system benefit. Kefir is also 99% lactose-free too.
Serious Eats describes kefir as “slightly thinner than yogurt with a tangy, somewhat sour and yeasty flavor.” Some even refer to it as “the champagne of milk” due to its slight effervescence. It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a try. Especially when you can make it using farm fresh milk – so refreshing!
The Many Benefits of Kefir-ing (is that a word?)
- Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair.
- Kefir contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2
- The complete proteins in kefir are already partially digested, making them more easy to use.
- And like many other dairy products, kefir is a great source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and phosphorus.
How to Make Kefir in 3 Simple Steps
- Toss 1 tablespoon of your new kefir grains into fresh, raw milk (if you don’t have access to raw, go for grassfed organic). I use a quart-sized mason jar about 2/3 full. Be sure to stir the kefir grains into the milk with a plastic or wooden spoon.
- Cover it with a coffee filter (or cheesecloth), secure with a rubberband and let it sit out on the counter for about 24 hours or until it starts to thicken and separate. You can play around with the timing as you begin to figure out how you like your kefir to taste.
- Strain the kefir grains out with a stainless steel strainer, rinse them with water and toss them into your next batch. Or if you’d rather take a break, rinse and store the grains in the fridge with enough milk to keep them alive.
That’s it! The kefir grains will multiply so you’ll have plenty to share with friends.
You too can become a homemade kefir master! My favorite way to drink it is in my morning smoothie with fresh blueberries and little bit of stevia. It’s a perfect balance of sweet + tart = YUM!