I got my kefir grains in the mail on Friday. I was so excited that I went in right away and poured a cup of milk over them per the directions. Apparently, while they are being shipped, they go dormant, so you have to pour milk over them for 3-4 days and let it culture to revive the cauliflower-like “grains.” My first batch did nothing as expected, but today I had the creamiest kefir when I got home. It seems my little cauliflower buds only took two feedings to get back in action.
Kefir is a cultured food like yogurt and kombucha. I used to make my own yogurt, but you have to keep it warm until it is ready, and it just got to be too much dealing with an appliance for a specified number of hours. I stumbled across an article a couple of weeks ago that said kefir was even easier than yogurt because you don’t have to heat the milk, and it doesn’t have to be kept at a certain temperature. You just pour cold milk over the grains, let it sit for about 24 hours in a 64 – 74 degree space and drain the grains when it’s done. I buy kefir, but it’s about $3-$4 per quart. Making it at home is cheaper as all I have to buy is milk, and they say the homemade version has more probiotics and no additives.
I went to Our Daily Bread, the local health food store to see if they had kefir grains since Whole Foods didn’t carry them. They sold me a culture, but further research told me that it’s not the same as the grains. It still makes kefir, but the cultures don’t grow and make more grains that you can use indefinitely. I was able to get about 4 batches of kefir from each of the two packages I used, and I’ve been enjoying about 2 cups of kefir every day. I blend it with fruit or cane syrup or just drink it plain. It helps take care of my sweet tooth because of its creamy, naturally sweet flavor. It is a bit sour as well, but the fruit seems to counteract that, and, the more that I drink it, the less sour it tastes to me. I’m beginning to really like it.
There are lots of health claims out there about kefir. It’s considered a superfood because of its nutrient profile and a healing food because of the probiotics. Claims abound about kefir healing high blood pressure, stabilizing blood sugar, lowering anxiety and even cleansing your colon. I’ve known for awhile that probiotics are recommended for my anxiety because gut health is important in calming our central nervous system. I could buy probiotics, but why spend all of that money when I can make something at home that has up to 56 different kinds of good gut bacteria and tastes yummy, too? Apparently, yogurt only has seven kinds of good bacteria, and they only stay in your system for 24 hours. Kefir bacteria sets up house and lives there.
Even Ashok likes her kefir! I give her a couple tablespoons twice a day.
I found the below video today which talks about how to make kefir, and, apparently, you can make kefir cheese which is like cream cheese for dips and spreads, kefir sodas and regular kefir that is flavored with fruit through a second ferment. You can watch this to see how easy it is to make kefir. And, as I make my kefir, my grains will reproduce, and I can share them with my friends. Right now, I only have about a tablespoon of “grains”, so I can only culture about a cup of milk. But, as they grow, I can do more. And I’ve noticed the kefir made with my new grains is much smoother and creamier than the kefir made with the powdered culture. It was still good, but it wasn’t as creamy as the kefir made with the grains.
I got my grains off Amazon from a store called Mr. and Mrs. Kefir. (Note: They are not really grains; they just look like grains.) It was a little cheaper off Amazon than off their personal site because of shipping costs. Besides, this particular retailer and their grains got great reviews. I’m using mason jars to make my kefir, so the only thing I had to buy was a plastic strainer (stainless steel works but is not recommended for straining kefir grains) that cost me $1.67 at WalMart.
On another note, I also made my own cold brew coffee this weekend in my french press. All you have to do is pour room temperature water over the ground coffee and let it sit for 12-24 hours. I strained it this morning, and I had the best coffee laced with half and half I’ve had at home in a long time. It makes a concentrate, so I added some water and heated it in the microwave before adding the fresh half n half. For iced coffee, all I have to add is lots of yummy milk and ice. Delicious!
So, I have my own homemade kefir and cold brew coffee at my house. I’m saving money and feeling very accomplished with my homemade healthy treats. I’ll leave you with some links about kefir and cold brew coffee in case you are interested in making your own. And if you need kefir grains, give me a little time. I’ll share the love and share my grains. Maybe we need to start a Louisiana strain of kefir grains. They ought to love this heat and humidity!