Friday, July 10, 2009

The Champagne of Milk

Kefir grains will literally last forever. You can keep reusing and reusing them, and you will never run out. So as well as being hugely beneficial to your gut flora, Kefir is also a very economical health food.  

How is Kefir different from your morning bowl of Greek yogurt? Kefir's cultures, unlike yogurts, are robust enough to make it through your treacherous stomach. Kefirs bacteria count is in a whole other league than yogurts. Kefir contains 10 strains of bacteria, whereas most yogurts generally have only two or three.

The gut is filled with all different kinds of bacteria; when things are in balance the body fends off colds, your digestive system is in check, you’re operating at optimal wellness. But things get unbalanced due to stress, diet, fighting off germs. When you consume Kefir, the live and active bacteria cultures populate your intestines with beneficial bacteria.

This was an impromptu video I created for my niece 
who was making Kefir for the first time.

Video Notes: When placing my Kefir grains into hibernation I use powdered milk. Personally I don't care for the taste of powdered milk; it's on hand as a backup. I rarely have fresh milk in the house; it's used for the most part in cooking and when I'm actively making Kefir. This is one reason why I say in the video, "It's taste is not really good, yet not bad either", and,"When Kefir is coming out of hibernation (as the Kefir in this video was) it takes a few days before the regular taste of it is back again using the milk of choice. 
Organic, raw, milk from grass fed cows is my milk of choice, however not so easy to obtain in my area. Any milk with lactose (what the grains feed on) will do fine.

Shoot me off an email E-Mail to let me know you'll be stopping by and I'll keep an eye out for you. If I'm not home I'll leave the Kefir grains out on the front deck, and you may leave the 5 dollars under the doormat. The $5.00 is a gratuity/service fee to cover my time and materials. I'm a private person, this is not a business, I make no money. If the gratuity is a hardship, it's happily waived.

*Bring milk in a glass jar, so you'll have something to put your new grains into for the trip home.

I don't take orders or mail out, you can use ebay or Amazon for that service.

Making Kefir is as Easy as Pouring a Glass of Milk:
Place your kefir grains in a glass of warm to room temperature milk, cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter (you want to keep fruit flies/insects out, yet still allow the grains to breathe) and in 24 hours you will have kefir, ready to eat. Place colander over bowl, pour in the grains/milk, use a rubber spatula to work the thick Kefir through the holes, and put the grains that are left in the colander into fresh milk.

1/4 cup of grains will inoculate one quart of milk.
These are the items needed to start making Kefir. 

Orange Kefir Popsicles
1 Cup Kefir
2 Cups Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Honey
2 Teaspoons vanilla

In a pitcher, use a wire whisk to mix all the ingredients together. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze.

Note:  If you want to make smoothies out of this recipe, mix all the above ingredients and 8-10 ice cubes in the blender until smooth. These make wonderful smoothies for breakfast!

While both Kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products, they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep your digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that already are present. Kefir actually helps to colonize your intestinal tract -- a feat that yogurt cannot match.

Additionally, Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt: Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces Kefir and Torula Kefir, which help balance the intestinal flora, including promotion of beneficial yeast in the body by penetrating the mucosal lining. They form a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and helps strengthen the intestines.

Kefir's active yeast and bacteria may provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. The curd size of Kefir is smaller than yogurt, so it's also easier to digest, making it an ideal food for babies, the elderly, and anyone interested in digestive health.