August 26, 2017
The name Kefir comes from the turkish word ‘keif’ which means ‘good feeling.’ Now if this is not a selling point on why you should try this probiotic rich beverage than perhaps I can convince you throughout this post. In fact, Kefir grains are not grains at all and are actually a delicate balance of yeast and bacteria and, in 24 hours these so called ‘grains’ can transform a milk or non milk product into a beverage that has many medicinal benefits. Kefir has benefits of boosted immunity, helping to heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), build bone density, fight allergies, improve lactose digestion, fight off candida, and supports detoxification.
Though the values differ based on milk, cultures and region where it is produced. This beverage can have supreme nutrition benefits and may contain high levels of vitamin B12, biotin, folate, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, enzymes and probiotics. It is especially beneficial after taking any course of antibiotics, by helping to repopulate the gut with favourable species to replace those killed by the medication.
Types of Kefir
Dairy kefir is widely available and discussed though it is not the only type of kefir available. There are other Kefir’s containing many of the probiotics and other benefits but being completely dairy and lactose free. All types of kefir must have sugar either added or naturally present for the healthy bacteria to grow and for the fermentation to take place. As well as warmth and time. In the end the product is relatively low in sugar because the live active bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar. It is really great to make these kefir products at home to avoid additives and extra sugar.
Milk Kefir – is made using starter culture which allows the probiotics to form, always try to use organic milk to avoid any other added harmful substances. If the taste is not desirable, try adding raw honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup, or puree’d fruit before consuming.
Coconut Kefir – using either coconut milk or coconut water. Coconut kefir becomes carbonated during fermentation. It is a good idea to use coconuts because it naturally contains the carbs (sugars) needed to feed the starter culture and contains the benefits of coconuts like electrolytes and potassium.
Water Kefir – has a more subtle taste and texture and is made by using sugar water or fruit juice.
How to Make it
You will need: Kefir ‘grains’, water free of chlorine and fluoride, stainless steel pot, thermometer, storage container, cane sugar, cheesecloth and rubber band, mesh strainer or nut milk bag
You will need to activate the kefir grains, instructions will come with the package of starter that you can get at a local health food store in the refrigerated area. Or if you are getting some grains from a friend, refer to the internet for further instruction. Activation normally takes about 4 days and then you are ready to make the kefir which takes about 24-48 hours
Activate Kefir Grains
- Make sugar water
- Empty dehydrated grains into sugar water
- Cover jar with filter cloth and let sit for 3-4 days in warm temperature (68-85 degrees)
- Strain grains and discard water
- Heat half a cup of water and add to a large jar
- Dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar
- Add 2 and a half – 3 and a half cups or room temperature water (total volume to be 3-4 cups sweet water)
- Temperature needs to be 68-85 degrees fahrenheit
Making Water Kefir
- Prepare sugar water
- Add activated grains to jar
- Cover with cloth and let sit 24-48 hours in a warm spot
- When complete, prepare more sugar water to continue the cycle
- Strain kefir grain from water kefir and place in new batch, continue every 24-48 hours
Water is the most simple form of Kefir to try at home first. If you are going to try your hand at coconut kefir it is best to make it from fresh coconuts.
*Sometimes it is necessary to keep the kefir in an insulated cooler or something to maintain a temperature of 68-85 degrees fahrenheit.