I’ve been enjoying my daily glass of homemade kefir now for the past month and am very excited to share this great food with you!
Kefir (the ‘ke’ pronounced as in ‘kettle’ and ‘fir’ as in ‘fear’) is a powerhouse of good stuff for the body. Homemade has a much higher content of beneficial microflora as compared to store bought.
I want to share with you an easy way to have your own homemade kefir ready for you to consume every single day! It really doesn’t take too much effort to prepare, and it is so worth it for your body.
In case you’re not sure it may be worth it, here is what some say about kefir:
Kefir is the champagne of yogurt. ~ Unknown
Kefir contains 30 – 35 major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found inyogurt, kefir is a turbo charged energy-anti-biotic-colonic cleanser drink. ~ Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food Life
Kefir is one of my top healing foods! ~ Antonio Marxuach, former vegan-turned omnivore, recovered from Crohn’s on GAPS Diet x2 years
Kefir, because it is such an easily digested nutritious food, is ideal for infants, pregnantwomen, nursing mothers, convalescents, the elderly, people who suffer from constipationor those who have other abnormal digestive activity. ~ Dr, Steven Novil, Ph.D. (National Kefir Association)
Constipation is a thing of the past. If you drink Kefir at night no acid reflux. ~ Donna Schwenk, Cultured Food Life
First, let me explain a little bit about what kefir is. Then we’ll jump into the steps you can take now to get ready to make your own homemade kefir.
What is Kefir?
- a fermented milk beverage, much like a drinkable yogurt – tart, fizzy and slightly alcoholic (1%), loaded with probiotics (good bacteria to support your immune system), B vitamins, protein, calcium, fiber, and amino acids
- “Grains of the Prophet” Mohammed
- made from ‘kefir grains’, which are a symbiotic mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, polysaccharides, and proteins, the matrix resembling pieces of cauliflower of various sizes
- believed to be the reason for longevity in cultures where it was widely consumed for centuries – the Russian Caucasus Mountain people lifespan exceeds 110 years of age, which is primarily because of kefir consumption
- self-perpetuating grains increase in size over time, allowing for excess to be shared with others
NOTE: You may also use water kefir grains, but my personal preference is milk kefir. Check the resources I have provided below for more information about water kefir.
- Purchase your kefir grains or find someone who can give you some of their excess grains. (I purchased my milk kefir grain kit here.)
- Purchase (if necessary) glass jars (32 oz are great!) to use — you’ll want to have at least 4-6 of these on hand or at least plenty of other glass jars. I also recycle my large glass jars and bottles for kefir storing. I love my 80 oz. recycled raw honey jar for storing kefir in the fridge during the week as I keep producing more along the way.
- Purchase a tightly woven cheesecloth to cover the jar with (I use a rubber band to hold it in place).
- Purchase the milk product you will use to make your kefir. Preferred is raw milk. Where raw milk is illegal or difficult to obtain, try to find the best source of low heat pasturized and non-homogenized <em>organic, whole (full fat) milk. I use the Kalona brand that I get at my local Whole Foods Market.
- Now the fun part — once the grains have arrived, you are ready to add your grains to the milk as per packet instructions. I first used one cup of milk to the initial packet of grains that I received from Cultures for Health. After 4 weeks, my grains have almost tripled in size (they are still mostly small, but I have about one tablespoon in volume). Stir to mix the grains well with the liquid.
- Cover your glass jar with cheesecloth, secure well, and allow to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours (and up to 36), stirring the mixture 2-3 times during the 24-hour period is recommended.
- Using the provided strainer (in the milk kefir kit) or one you purchase separately (ensuring it is not metal — you do not want metal to come into contact with your grains), strain the kefir into a clean glass jar by pouring the contents through the strainer, using a wooden spoon to gently push through the liquid. You will separate the grains, which at first may seem tricky. In my experience, the grains were difficult to differentiate from the curds (they appear cottage-cheese-like). Allow yourself to place your clean fingers in the contents of the strainer and feel the difference between the curds and the grains. You can find the grains because of their slightly hard, rubbery texture. I set these aside in another clean 32 oz. jar. Notice the creamy kefir collecting on the underside of the strainer as you strain and periodically scrape it and allow it to fall into your jar of kefir. Once this is mixed into the liquid, it becomes nice and creamy textured.
- Reserve your strained kefir for consumption. Add fresh milk to the clean jar with kefir grains and start the process all over again!
NOTES: I do this each day in the morning as part of my normal routine now. It takes only 10 minutes each day and is well worth it! I save money by making it at home vs. buying at store, it is much higher quality due to greater number of beneficial microflora vs. store bought, it replaces the need to purchase a probiotic supplement, and it is a wonderful health tonic. If you want to store your kefir grains and not make any more right away, place them in a jar with fresh milk to cover well and keep in refrigerator until ready to use again. You may also dehydrate them and store for future use or to give away.
I believe you have enough to get started from here, but be sure to check out these other great websites and resources to learn more about making kefir, health benefits, the history, and more.
Here is my favorite recipe for our kefir smoothie:
Strawberry Banana Kefir Smoothie
Place hot water in cup and stir in the gelatin. Stir to mix well until dissolved and set aside for about 5 minutes. Add kefir to blender with desired sweetener, vanilla, and gelatin mixture. Blend to mix well. Add frozen banana and strawberries. Blend for about 2 minutes. Serve in glasses. This yields about 6 cups!
Optional ingredients: cocoa, coconut oil, raw egg yolk (pastured eggs from a trusted source).
As promised, below are several great resources for you as you learn more about kefir and for once you decide to accept my challenge to introduce it into your life!
Here is where I purchased my milk kefir grains kit (only $21.99): Cultures for Health
My favorite go-to kefir (and other ferments) website: Cultured Food Life by Donna Schwenk
The kefir guru: Dom in Australia Sidenote: funny thing… I first learned of kefir in my own research several years ago, but I was not yet at the point in my journey that I could really grasp it or wrap my head around it. This has been a frequent occurrence for me as I’ve traveled this natural health journey of my own for the past 35 years (since my teen years)… yes that does age me. I am in great health for a 53-year old grandmother!
The Probiotic Revolution document has great information to explain what probiotics are, why they are important, etc.
I really hope that I’ve inspired you to give kefir a try — I am convinced that daily consumption of kefir is what will help me to support a healthy immune system and much more!
Let me know about your experience with kefir! How long have you been consuming kefir? What great benefits have you seen with consumption of kefir? What is your favorite kefir recipe?
What I’d like to do is to have you share your own kefir story here on my blog with a guest post after you start making it yourself. I’d love to see great recipe ideas, creative ideas to make the best use of your kefir, etc.
Please share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, too! Let me know if you’d like to share a guest post about your own kefir experience.
Your Partner in Health,