What’s to fear about a little Kefir?

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Shannon and I have taken the plunge.

Nope, we didn’t go swimming – seriously guys, it’s January – no… we have taken the plunge into the world of probiotics.

That little bit of lactose based moonshine-like goodness pictured above is Kefir. (The Adam’s Jar makes it taste better) Recently our neighbor a street over with whom we often share wonderful conversations about homesteady topics, gave us a REALLY good Kefir starter. She’d been feeding it on raw milk for a while, and it had absolutely taken off, in fact was getting away from her a bit, so she split it and gave us a good sized gob of the kefir grains and home we went to experiment, (prancing with excitement) and immediately placed the grains into a mason jar 3/4 full of raw milk… it did it’s thing, one time, two times, and now 3 batches later, the picture above was taken.

Kefir, for those that are not aware, is a fermented milk beverage. The Kefir grains which function as the starter are a symbiotic collection of bacteria and fungus that just so happen to LOVE lactose. They go flat ballistic in raw milk, and in the space of 12-36 hours at room temperature – will ferment the milk that they’re sitting in into a liquidy, yogurty substance.

It’s good – but it is an acquired taste. It’s sour, sweet, yeasty… kind of all rolled into one. One of the primary reason people consume it however is that it is an incredible probiotic, capable of repopulating and fortifying intestinal flora. While yogurt contains anywhere from 5-7 different probiotics… Kefir can contain up to 30+. It’s fantastic stuff for folks that have digestive issues, and even if you’re lactose intolerant, letting the Kefir ripen on the counter for a while allows the microbes to digest most of the lactose giving you a beverage you can safely consume without explosive after effects…

It has been around for 1000’s of years and the peoples of Caucasus mountains produced and consumed Kefir regularly, with anecdotal evidence that it was beneficial to their longevity.

So back to the image at hand.

This is our 3rd batch of Kefir so far and it seems as though the Kefir grains are getting stronger and more effective with each batch. They are just rip roaring at this point. In the picture you can see the divide between the Kefir and the whey. The whey is the clearish-yellow liquid on the top – that can be used in all manner of things, from various recipes, soaking grains in it, making fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, and a whole host of other uses – the bottom stuff is the kefir. You can drink it straight, mix it into smoothies, drizzle it over fruit, etc. in order to get all your necessary probiotic goodness.

I think we’re going to use our whey to make sauerkraut with – since as we understand it, it helps to make a more consistent product each time. If there’s anything that can be said about our sauerkraut experiments thus far… “consistent” would not be one of those things. “Good” might not be mentioned in the same sentence either. We need some help…

We’re having fun with the experimentation process though… seriously, it’s the dead of winter. What else are we going to do? If you’ve never given Kefir a shot – you should give it a whirl, it’s fun to watch it do its thing.

If you want to find out more about Kefir, or want to find out anything and everything you could ever want to know about Kefir – check out Dom’s Kefir Site.

Prost!

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2 thoughts on “What’s to fear about a little Kefir?

  1. About 18 months ago I discovered the world of gall stones and a gall bladder chock full of them. These pesky little stones had a nasty habit of leaving the “nest” and going out to explore the world (aka: Bile Duct). Alas, they were too big for the adventure and would get stuck, never to return home again. Mama GB apparently had so many little stones she couldn’t keep track of them. Or she was so tired of them that she kicked them out. Either way, they kept sneaking out and getting caught. The neighbors (aka “Liver” and “Pancreas”) started to complain. And when they complained, they got really really agitated and it was truly something I had no interest in continuing to aggravate. Mama GB and all her little stones are now evicted and the neighbors are happy. But, recognizing that I may have inadvertently contributed to this adventure, I took a long look at my diet and how it impacted my digestive health, which had been suffering for a very long time. Enter “Kefir” and the lovely world of probiotics. I make mine every week and just recently discovered that the grains love it when I let them sit on top of the refrigerator to do their thing (as opposed to the kitchen counter). My breakfast is a kefir smoothy and is my favorite meal of the day. Yay for Kefir!!

  2. I love making kefir. she did get mad at me for leaving her for 3 weeks last fall, but she is back to her happy self multiplying like crazy and giving me beautiful thick kefir. I want to use some to make pancakes, let the batter sit overnight so it’s nice and fermented. I wonder if cooking them will destroy all of the probiotic effect.

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