Have you ever heard of kefir? Do you know how it’s made? Hmmm. Do you want to??
First, let’s talk about Kefir. Kefir is an awesome yogurt like (yogurt cousin) dairy product loaded with good bacteria also known as probiotics. These little friendlies are the good guys that keep things happy in your gut and ward off yeast, candida and other nasties.
I got turned onto Kefir a few years ago but you see, I have always bought the neat, nicely packaged store bought Kefir with the various flavor choices and pretty colors. The container is plastic so you can not actually see the Kefir inside. You have to shake it really well before pouring and when you do this attractive creamy liquid comes out. Blueberry, Raspberry and pomegranate are just a few of the flavors to choose from. We would inhale the thick yogurt like material in under 24 hours. Well, at close to $4.00 for not even a half-gallon of thick liquid, it was getting rather expensive to maintain our Kefir habit. [Light bulb] Being on my Suzie ‘O Homemaker naturale kick, I decided that I could (without a doubt) whip up some homemade Kefir for the crew that would rival the store-bought stuff. Now this is where the “do you know how it’s made” part comes in.
- In order to make Kefir you must have Kefir grains. They call them grains even though they are not really grains. Instead they resemble blobs of curdled dairy stuff…like cottage cheese.
- Then you plop the little critters in a 1 qt glass canning jar with room temperature raw cow milk and let them ferment for 24-36 hours in a dark cupboard covered with a cloth.
- Ideally the room temp should be around 72 degrees for the fermenting process to be the most effective.
- The longer you let them ferment the thicker and more sour the liquid becomes. It is also more difficult to separate the Kefir grains from the liquid Kefir if it becomes too thick.
- After the 24-36 hours the time comes to remove the Kefir grains (with a wooden spoon or plastic strainer – NO metal)
- Plop the Kefir grains in another batch of raw cow’s milk to begin making more Kefir or you can store them in cow’s milk in the fridge (slows the fermenting process) until you are ready to make another batch.
I was able to land some Kefir grains from a friend and bought the raw cow’s milk from a local diary farm. I was all set. My first batch was somewhat sour….possibly because I let it ferment longer than recommended because my kitchen was c-o-l-d and the little grains were shy getting started. I mixed it with some fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and although it was not attractively creamy, I proudly passed it off on the family. I had to make sure that they would drink it quickly before it decided to separate and resemble the curdled vomit that it was. Then…it hit me. I am feeding my children something that has been sitting at room temperature, in a dark cupboard, in raw cow milk, for close to 2 and a half days and I’m proud of it!!! All of my medical knowledge and education came flooding into my brain like flashing red lights, sirens, bells and whistles yelling “HALT, CEASE, STOP you crazy Kefir woman!” Had I gone completely insane? Off the deep end indeed.
We drank my homemade Kefir (some more willingly than others) and like the many Kefir drinkers before us, we are alive and well!