Kefir: What, Why & How

(FYI: I do not have any milk kefir grains to share at the moment!  Thanks!)

I’ve recently begun making my own kefir (thanks again Rini!) and it has been an absolute hit here at the Odells!  Have you ever tried it before?  Do you know why it’s good for you?  Do you want to learn how to make it yourself?  Yes, you say?  Well come along and I’ll do my best to answer all those questions.

Let’s start with the WHAT:

  • Kefir (click here for correct pronunciation and click here for my pronunciation) is a fermented/cultured milk drink that has a zesty, slightly tangy taste.  By putting kefir grains (pictured below) into milk (cow, goat, raw, pasteurized, full-fat, skim, etc.) and letting it sit at room temperature for about 24 hours, the milk becomes fermented and infused with active, live, good bacteria.  The kefir grains will continue to multiply and grow each day, allowing you to share these grains quite easily!

Kefir grains!

WHY:
  • Kefir helps to repopulate your gut with good bacteria/organisms.  These good organisms will help promote balance and well being within your digestive tract.
  • Rich in protein, calcium, B12, niacin and folic acid.
  • Full of digestive enzymes.
  • Helps to regulate bowel movements; eradicating diarrhea/constipation.
  • The grains feed off of the lactose (milk sugars), converting it into healthy lactic acid.  For this reason, many people who are lactose intolerant can still successfully consume kefir.
  • After taking antibiotics, or consuming diets high in pesticides or chlorine which deplete healthy gut flora, kefir can help reestablish what’s missing.

HOW

  • First, you need to find kefir grains somewhere.  By doing a simple google search, I’m sure it won’t be too hard.  For my American friends and family, check out the Kefir Lady.  (Brother Jeff, she lives in Ohio and also sells goats, fyi) She ships within the United States.  And if you’re in Hong Kong, just let me know and I’ll grow you some from mine and give you the extra!  Once you have a starter, you will never need to buy more again, because the grains will continue to multiply, as long as you continue to use them daily.
  • What else will you need?  Strainer, bowl, 2 mason jars (one to use for fermenting and one to store the finished kefir in) and of course milk!
  • Make sure all of your utensils are plastic (I didn’t know this when I took the above picture.  Oops!)  Because the grains are active and alive, they are able to die.  Metal does not mix well with them and can kill the good bacteria.
  • What kind of milk do I recommend?  If you can get your hands on raw, full-fat milk, then you’re one lucky person and I’m officially jealous.  Check out Raw Milk Facts to learn more.  Here where I live, the best I can find is hormone free full-fat, so that’s what I use.
  1. Put grains in mason jar and cover with 2-3 Tbsp of kefir (this is optional) and milk. Stir.  I use 1 Tbsp grains for 2 cups milk.  This is plenty of kefir for us each day.

    Kefir grains


    Grains covered with fresh kefir

    2 cups of milk added to kefir grains and fresh kefir

  2. Store at room temperature out of the sunlight for 24 hours.  I use my yogurt maker actually and it’s been working quite well.  Otherwise, just store it in a cupboard or something.
  3. After 24 hours, strain the kefir from the kefir grains.
  4. Refrigerate made kefir and serve chilled.  (I think it’s much better served cold but you can drink it straight away too if you prefer it that way.)
  5. If kefir grains have grown and you have too many for the amount of kefir you’d like to make, just pull away the excess and eat them or give them away!  A great way to recycle what you don’t need.
  6. Start the process all over again to keep those grains going.  Such a fun process!
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14 responses

  1. Ask and you shall receive! Thanks, Lisa. This is great. I will be contacting the Kefir Lady soon. I’m thinking kefir, along with spinach and some occasional nuts, is the long-term and sustainable solution to keeping me regular.

  2. Looks so interesting I think I’ll have to pop over to get some . . . . . . . Wonder where one can get it here in SA. Actually it looks similar to a yoghurt culture to me. Does it have a sour taste?

  3. Placed my order with the Kefir Lady today. Thanks again, Lisa. I’ll be coming back to this post when we get the grains are ready to get started making some kefir!

  4. Hi Lisa! I just tried kefir on holiday recently and I’m amazed by how good it is.
    Am living in HK recently, and wonder if you would be kind enough to share some of your grains? I’d love to try growing my own.
    Please email me. Thanks!

    • Hi Ling! Yes kefir is so good isn’t it? I’m on holiday at the moment but will be getting my grains going again once I get home. I can definitely grow some for you and will let you know once I have some ready. Most likely, it will be mid to late Jan. Hope that’s okay!

  5. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the quick reply! That’s perfect. Have a great holiday, and Happy 2013!
    Drop me an email when convenient, would give you my mobile, but don’t wanna post it publicly. Seeya back in HK!

  6. Dear Lisa, I recently moved to Hong Kong as well and I’m looking for a local source of Kefir grains. Do you still have some or know where I could get them? Whatever you could suggest would be very helpful as Yogurt and other (decent) probiotics seem to be very expensive here!

  7. Pingback: May 1, 2013 = 1 Year of Total Healing « The Healing Project

    • Hi Stef, thanks! You need someone to first give you milk kefir grains and then you can continue to grow/populate them by following the above directions. So you need to find someone who can share with you. I’m sure there’s someone in your community!

      xoxo

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