Kefir (from milk)

Kefir is amazing.

The Wonder Probiotic Drink shares a lot of helpful information, including:

Kefir is a strong source of digestible protein…. Because of naturally occurring sugars within kefir, it is a good tool for regulating blood sugar for those who struggle with diabetes. Kefir boosts the immune system to effectively fight external germs and potential diseases. It treats constipation, diarrhoea, colon cancer, ulcers, respiratory conditions, eczema, psoriasis, acne and diseases bourne from gut dysbiosis (a destructive imbalance of microbial flora which is linked to e.g. inflammatory bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome). Being high in lactase (because the bacteria and yeast within the kefir interact in such a way to form this enzyme) it absorbs the lactose that results after the cultured process therefore those who are lactose-intolerant can still consume kefir without getting the usual symptoms that come from ingesting dairy products such as yogurt, milk or cheese.

Kefir is teeming with vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed by the body such as vitamins B and K, folic acid and phosphorous. Particularly abundant are calcium and magnesium.

Why I Love Kefir and What Are Kefir Grains? also has a lot of great info, including:

Kefir boosts our immune systems by keeping healthy bacteria in our digestive tract (and remember 80% of our immune system is in our digestive track!). The fermenting bacteria produce lactic acid which heals and soothes the gut lining. Kefir is rich in vitamin A, B2, B12, D, K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and typtophan.  It has anti tumor properties, prevents disease, increases digestibility and it controls toxins.

and:

Commercially made kefir sold in the stores is not fermented long enough. In addition the pasteurization process after fermentation kills the probiotic microbes.  So my next statement only applies if you would like to make your own – Start SLOWLY.  Just a spoonful a day for the first two weeks should be enough to slowly introduce your body to this magical substance.  I had some digestive issues the first two weeks (I felt like I had a brick in my stomach) and my daughter got a rash.  Some people call this period ‘die off’ because it is the kefir killing off bad substances and this shows up in different ways for different people.  After a few weeks of this, I could actually tell when I was ready for more because I suddenly wanted more kefir.  I am now able to drink almost 2 cups a day!

How to make kefir? Easy!

1. Get milk. I recommend whole raw milk, either from a grass-fed cow or from a goat, but you can also use coconut milk. I do not recommend soy milk or almond milk (unless you get imported raw almonds and make it yourself).

2. Get kefir grains, preferably live and healthy. While you can buy them online, you can often find them in your community. Ask around!

3. Place some grains in a jar (anywhere from a tablespoon to a cup’s worth) and then add milk. Leave some air space in the top of the jar and leave the lid on LOOSELY. Tighten the lid to shake, now and then, but always loosen it again. If you leave it tight for too long your jar will EXPLODE. :o

4. Leave your jar on the counter. If the temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees, taste it in 12-24 hours. If you want it stronger, just leave it on the counter longer. If it is warmer than 70 degrees it will ferment faster. If you want to slow it down, just pop it into the fridge. Keep that lid loose!

5. When it seems done (you can tell by tasting or even just smelling), pour through a strainer. Put the grains back into the jar and add more milk to start the process again.

6. You can now drink the kefir you have poured off, OR … even better, ferment it again! Put it in a new jar with a couple of slices of organic oranges, complete with peel. Leave it on the counter, with a loose lid, for about 6 hours. If you want to drink it right away, just take out the orange and drink. Or put it in the fridge. The orange can stay in for a few days in the fridge, and is pretty yummy to eat too.

Why ferment again? The second ferment makes the kefir even heathier and tastier! You can read more about twice fermented kefir here:
How to Second Ferment Kefir.

And here’s a great account of the history of Kefir which includes:

Nikolai, sent Irina Sakharova — a beautiful, young employee — to the court of a local prince named Bek-Mirza Barchorov with instructions to charm the prince and obtain some kefir grains for the operation. Although the prince Bek-Mirza greatly desired Irina, he feared violating religious laws and refused to give away the “Grains of the Prophet.” Recognizing that her mission was a failure, Irina and the men accompanying her left to return to Kislovodsk. The prince, however, was not going to let Irina escape; as it was a local custom to steal a bride prior to marrying her, Bek-Mirza sent the men of a local mountain tribe to capture the hapless beauty. Following her kidnapping, Irina remained steadfastly silent while the prince proposed marriage to her, buying herself enough time for her employers — the brothers Blandov — to organize a daring mission to save her from a forced marriage to the besotted prince.

After Irina’s rescue, Prince Bek-Mirza Barchorov was brought before Tsar Nicholas II who ruled that, in compensation for the kidnapping and other insults to her person that she was forced to endure, Prince Bek-Mirza give Irina ten pounds of kefir grains.

You can also make water kefir — very similar probiotic benefits, tastes great, and is dairy free!

We have plenty of happy kefir grains to share. You can find us on Kefirhood.com, or find someone else to share with!

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