Kefir is a cultured fermented milk drink, traditionally made from fermenting cow’s milk with kefir grains. Although, one of the advantages of making Home-Made Kefir is that you can use a non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk. Kefir grains (found on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains situated between Russia and Georgia) are not actually grains but gelatinous beads full of lots of varieties of bacteria and yeasts. It is this abundance of good micro-organisms which are harnessed within the Kefir drink.
I have been making Home-Made Kefir for a few weeks now, and it is honestly one of the easiest, fail-safe foods I have ever made. My grains are from Amazon and I used them for about a week before I achieved the consistency I wanted. There was only a small amount of kefir grains send to me, but they multiply so rapidly I soon had enough to give away to my mum! The kefir drink which is produced is a slightly tart thickened milk. I’m not keen on the taste as a stand alone drink, but as an addition to a smoothie it is perfect (as you can’t taste it at all!).
Making Home-Made Kefir
Firstly, I can not tell you how easy this is! Seriously, I am (like most home-schooling mums out there) busy and time poor, but this process takes less than five minutes each evening. I place the grains in a glass container – I bought one especially for the job, but I have friends who use a standard jar or bottle, and then top the container up with milk.
Twenty-four hours later (I do it at ten each night) I strain the resulting thickened liquid into another glass jar. It needs to be refrigerated overnight. We use it for smoothies the next morning. After straining, I pop the grains back into the washed Kefir container. I don’t ever wash the grain. A little like make yogurt needs a starter yogurt, making kefir requires some starter kefir. I place my kefir jar in the kitchen cupboard, so it is always in the dark. And I leave it. That’s it! Twenty-four hours later the grains will have done their magic and turned the fresh milk in a thick kefir drink.
The Nutritional Benefits of Home-Made Kefir
Traditional milk kefir, a probiotic food, contains protein, calcium and a myriad of bioactive compounds, including as many as 30 strains of good bacteria. These are known to help fight against tumors, bacteria, carcinogens and more. The thing which stood out the most to me during my research is that the bacteria found in yogurts are transient bacteria – they pass through the gut as visitors clearing out and offering their goodness whilst they are in the gut. Kefir bacteria are non-transient and as such are able to hold onto the gut walls and colonise there. Happily, this means that their health benefits are far longer lasting than yogurts. I have made up a nutrition file on Kefir for you to photocopy and pop in your home-making file.
The Health Benefits of Home-Made Kefir
- Boosts immunity
- Builds bone strength
- Potentially fights cancer
- Supports digestion and combats IBS
- Improves allergies
- Heals skin
- Improves lactose intolerance symptoms
(for more information on all this take a look at this article on Kefir Benefits)
Tomorrow, I will be sharing some of the recipes we have tried out using kefir.
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