Over winter break, our family was hit by a nasty stomach bug! After it passed I still felt like my body was still off. To help improve digestion I started drinking kefir. It is similar to yogurt and loaded with lots of active cultures and probiotics. I started feeling better almost right away! I wanted to keep drinking it, but it is kind of expensive - about $4 for a small bottle. I was shocked when I stumbled upon a blog that talked about how easy it was to make kefir at home! I looked at several other sites, and they all recomended checking out Cultures for Health. They sell all different kinds of cultures for cooking and health. They also have a lot of great information, videos and recipes for making and using kefir.
After learning how easy it it was to make, I decided to go ahead and order the keifer starter kit. (25$) It came with kefir grains and a fine mesh plastic strainer. (you never want to use metal when making kefir) The grains aren't grains, but actually live active cultures consisting of yeast and bacteria. You add them to fresh milk and within 24-48 hours you have kefir. You can use the grains indefinitely! The grains come in the mail dried. It takes a few days to rehydrate them (directions are provided) and then they are ready go.
I thought I would just show you the basic steps for making kefir, but I recommend reading all the info at culturesforhealth.com before you decide to make your own or buy a starter set.
So here is how you make keifer. You start with the batch of kefir that is finished, plastic strainer and another clean glass jar.
You pour the kefir through the plastic strainer into the empty glass jar.
The strainer will catch the kefir grains. It kind of looks like cottage cheese.
Then you take the grains out and then put them into a clean jar.
Then add about 2 cups of milk into the jar.
Next, cover the jar with a coffee filter or a tea towel and secure with a rubber band. Keep in a warm place in your home between 65 - 85 degrees.
In about 24 hours you have kefir. I will admit it was hard to drink the first time. I couldn't believe I was drinking milk that had been left out on the counter for a day! (never drink anything if it smells bad or weird) Now I love it. I'll drink it cold from the fridge, but the kiddos prefer to drink it in smoothes. It taste great and we all have happy tummies!
a few tips:
* never touch the kefir with metal
* don't sweeten with honey - the honey is antibacterial and will kill the live active cultures.
* you can put the grains in a glass of milk for a week or two if you are going out of town or want to take a break from making kefir. If you want to stop for a longer time, you can even dry or freeze your kefir grains.
* you can make kefir with any kind of milk - even soy, almond or coconut milk. You just don't want to use ultra pasteurized milk.