Kefir Grain ABCs; Easy and Cost Effective

Back around Christmas I posted about making kefir for improving the health of your digestive system. I was making it with dehydrated kefir powder I got at a health food store. I had heard about kefir made from “grains” that could be reused. Again and again.  Sounds kinda magical doesn’t it?

Well, I did some research online and found that yes, there is such a thing as kefir grains.  They are not grains like we think of, more like a starter clump.  I couldn’t find the grains at any local stores but I found a guy on Craig’s List who was selling enough to get started.  We met in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts in Montgomerville, PA. Seemed somehow illicit swapping kefir curds in a baggie for my $10!  He turned out to be a very nice young man who enjoys making and drinking kefir with his wife.  He gave me some advice and coaching on the process for a couple of weeks via emails.

Basic directions: all you do is put the gently rinsed grains (they look like soft cauliflower cut into small flowerets) into a glass or ceramic jar, pour in milk; no need to heat.  Best is raw milk, next best organic whole milk or try two percent. I don’t suggest you make it with skim milk.  I do the raw milk but my quart of it doesn’t keep very long…as I only make a pint of kefir at a time.  Anyway, pour in the milk, put a loose lid on it and let it stand on the kitchen counter top for a day to 36 hours.  I stir mine occasionally as I walk by.  It will clump up – the curds rise to the top. Plastic or wooden stirrer….no metal.

Once it gets thickened you strain out the curds, being gentle with them.  Put the jar of kefir in the fridge to chill and put the curds in a glass jar and just cover with milk, put that also in the fridge; retards the kefir grains; basically brings the process to a halt. For detailed information check out this site: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-milk-kefir-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202022.

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I drink it cold for a snack.  You can mix it with fruit juice. I sometimes have it over crushed pineapple. It is sort of like buttermilk and yogurt had a baby; thick liquid, tangy flavor.  Great for your gut.  Full of far more probiotics than the stuff you can make using the powdered kefir. Which is what I did before.  Now I have my kefir grains and I don’t need anything but the milk to make it with.  And it is better for you.  I did buy a small plastic strainer; you shouldn’t really use metal in connection with making or storing kefir.

If you have celiac or any sort of gut issues kefir is a great healthy choice to incorporate into your life style.  I hear you can even make it with coconut milk.  Not tried that yet.  Maybe someday…  Meanwhile I have tasty, healthy authentic kefir when ever I want it.

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