Kefir grains are what make Kefir or Bulgaros (in Spanish), the healthiest probiotic beverage. The health benefits of kefir are endless, and it’s easily one of the most affordable drinks there is. All you need are some live grains and some milk or water-sugar placed in a glass jar and you’re good to go!
The best way to have kefir is to make it at home with real live grains. Not those commercial kefir starters or cultures, but with Real Certified Live Kefir Grains. There is just no comparison to having the real deal.
Kefir grains are a strain of complex structures of bacteria and yeasts with proteins, lipids and sugars. At first glance, the grains look a lot like cauliflower. Inside these grains are countless beneficial bacteria that are good for the body. To take care of your grains, you have to place it in milk or a sugary solution so the grains have “food” to eat and grow. More about this later.
All real kefir grains are said to have originated from the Caucasus mountain area where kefir is believed to have been discovered. Kefir was first enjoyed by shepherds in the region of Caucasus (between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) who kept raw goat milk in leather bags. By doing so, this accidentally fermented the milk and, lo and behold, they discovered kefir. And since the grains, when taken care of, last forever and actually grow and become more, you only need to buy one or get a single batch of these grains to make all the kefir you will ever want. Some say they were from Prophet Mohammad, while some believe it was first mentioned as “manna” in the Old Testament.
For thousands of years, shepherds and townspeople in the countries within the Caucasus region benefited from kefir. They did not have any medical know-how or technical understanding about how it worked, but they just knew that they felt healthier, were freed from debilitating diseases, and lived longer lives.
The first official investigations on kefir were made by the Russians, and the first proven medical benefit was that it was a cure for tuberculosis. Soon, word of this wonder beverage caught on, and in the following years after that marvelous discovery, it was found out that it can treat more than one disease.
Kefir grains come in two varieties: the white creamy cauliflower-like type that makes milk kefir, and the yellowish crystal type that makes water kefir. Both kinds can do a lot for your health, body and life as a whole. You don’t even need to be sick before trying it out, since kefir drinks are both preventive and curative. If you want to know more about the benefits you get from milk or water kefir, go to this section of the site.
More information about milk kefir and water kefir on the next posts.
Kefir Culture | A Quick How-To In Making Your Kefir Drink
Here are two quick and simple ways on how to make kefir at home. And after that, see if you can make dairy out of water kefir grains and water kefir from milk kefir grains.
Milk Kefir Drink
Make milk kefir by getting 2 tablespoons of milk kefir grains, 2 cups of milk (raw milk if possible), a clean glass jar with a lid for fermenting, bottles to catch the liquid kefir after fermenting, and a non-metallic strainer and spoon.
Next, put your grains and milk in the jar. It shouldn’t fill up more than 3/4 of the jar. Stir gently with a wooden or plastic spoon and then place the lid to cover. Allow a little air to escape. Place at room temperature and let it stand for about 24 hours—allowing your kefir to ferment longer than that will result to a sour kefir with more curds and whey. Do not place the jar under the sun.
After the kefir is fermented, separate the liquid kefir from the grains by using a non-metallic strainer. It has been observed that metal substances can damage the grains, so make sure to use plastic or nylon when straining.
Wash your fermenting jar since you will perform this process a second time. Reuse the kefir grains for your next batch of drink.
Now your bottles of milk kefir are ready for drinking, but you can also store them in your fridge for some time to serve chilled later on. You can also let the bottles sit at room temperature to “ripen” the drink a bit. For those who love to experiment, milk kefir may be turned into a smoothie or ice cream.
Water Kefir Drink
Now it’s time to make water kefir. While milk kefir grains feed on lactose (milk sugar), water kefir grains eat sugar, and so the first step to making the drink is to sweeten your water base with sugar.
First, make sugar water by dissolving sugar; any type of sugar is fine. Put 1/3 cup of sugar in a cup of water in a pot. Heat the mixture, but don’t let it boil. Add 3 more cups of water after cooling, place in a bigger jar, and add 1 1/2 more cups of water.
Some use 1/4 cup sugar in one quart of water. Make sure to let the sugar completely dissolve first.
Second, put your water kefir into the jar of sugar water. Use about 1/3 cup of water kefir grains or a couple of teaspoons. Some people like to put half of an egg shell in the water. Apparently the grains love it.
Third, cover with a coffee filter or tea towel. Just as you did with your milk kefir, allow to sit for 24 hours in room temperature. Many water kefir users, however, allow a much longer fermentation time of up to 72 hours. Since the grains eat the sugar, the more you allow them to ferment in the liquid, the less sugary your drink becomes.
Fourth, strain out the grains to make another batch while enjoying your first drink of fizzy, bubbly water kefir.
Some allow the drink to sit for a few more days, while others prefer to drink the kefir after 24 hours and use lemon, ginger, fruits, raisins or vanilla to add flavor to the beverage. Water kefir grains are clear and translucent. Like water, they take on the color of the sugar (if brown sugar was used) or fruit flavor.
Milk To Water And Water To Milk
Both milk and water kefir drinks are easy to prepare especially after you have gotten used to making them for some time. The question most kefir users ask, however, is whether milk kefir may be used in sugar water to make water kefir and whether water kefir could thrive in milk to produce dairy kefir.