Let’s talk about Kefir! If something is considered “good and healthy” , for millennia, maybe even before writing was around, there must be some truthful basis to it, don’t you think?
It’s for this reason that Kefir , the delicious beverage, derived from the fermentation of milk (but not only: we’ll check this out too), is still here,with us today… and I’m here talking about it to you.
Because, even though most things about Kefir have already been disclosed, so much that it seems like a mythological creation, like Bigfoot… in reality, I can’t hide the fact that I’m really fascinated by it too and recognize its awesome qualities, beyond using it in my private life!
But let’s not let ourselves get carried away and let’s start from the basics. Those being: what is Kefir … and how is it made?
Kefir is a probiotic beverage, obtained by using “Kefir granules” : a particular mixture of microorganisms, that look, kind of like cauliflower, that when submerged in milk, transform it’s sugars, and begin the fermentation process.
The result is a beverage, with a consistency, similar to that of “drinkable” yoghurt, with a slightly acidic flavor, even “pungent”, when left to ferment for a longer period of time.
“I understand Alice, thank you so much! So, it’d be easier for me to just buy some yoghurt from the supermarket, right?”— some would say.
Nope! Because its similarities with yoghurt, pretty much end here. In fact, Kefir boasts a bunch of really interesting properties.
The first one? It’s naturally poor in lactose.
This is because, during the fermentation process, the Kefir granules (that from here on, we’ll call little Kefirs ) require nutrients from lactose— a sugar— and they consume it and therefore, “eliminate” it, almost completely, from the final beverage.
This one’s for you lactose intolerant or allergic, friends: finally, a milk-based drink that you can enjoy without any problems, without going up against that dreaded “ballooning” feeling!
But, in being a probiotic drink, that’s rich in fermented probiotics , Kefir also has other qualities: for example, it aids in helping to balance your gut flora (the famous “human microbiome”), making digestion easier… and all of the other mechanisms that come into play “afterwards”.
Not only this, but it also stimulates the production of antibodies.. From a nutritional viewpoint, it retains, pretty much the same values as the milk you used to prepare it before.
Finally, according to a few highly regarded studies, ( quoted by Harvard Medical School), it seems that Kefir could have a role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Not bad for a “mere” beverage, right?
“Ok Alice, but where can I find this Kefir? I’ve never seen places that sell it! ”
The answer: you can make it yourself! 🙂 🙂
Prepare Kefir at home , even without using special appliances or tools, it’s completely simple!
Take about 2 teaspoons of little Kefirs and submerge them in 500ml of milk, in a glass container: you can use cow, goat, or long preservation time, milk , whatever you prefer and like! If you want, you can even use drinks like coconut or soy-based milks , that, even though they aren’t really “milks”… still work really well too!
Once you’ve submerged the granules, close the container, with a tea towel, securing it with an elastic band and leaving it all to ferment for 12-48 hours, at room temperature (20-25°C, ideally). You don’t need to do anything else!
At the end of this process, you’ll have some delicious homemade Kefir! Please, remember to drain your little kefirs, to salvage them and immediately re-submerge them, in fresh milk: so that you can have, even more Kefir production. Or, if for any reason, you just want to keep your granules, for another time, you can put them in a small quantity of milk and freeze them!
Trust me, you’ll come to love your little Kefirs , as if they were alive…and actually, they are! You’ll see: you’ll treat them well and take care of them, they’ll remain strong and will reproduce themselves, really quickly, so that you can share them with all of your friends too (at least they’ll stop trying to steal your Kefir all the time, and can make their own !)
Remember that they don’t like being in contact with metal, so you’ll need to preserve them in plastic or glass containers.. Even when handling the granules and mixing your Kefir, always use wood, silicone or other, non-metallic spatulas or spoons.
When it comes to your Kefir, once it’s ready, it can completely be stored and kept in the fridge : it’ll stay good and fresh for about a week!
Besides traditionally milk made Kefir, another variation exists, water Kefir, that is obtained by using different kinds of granules, (bigger and transparent ones), putting them in coconut, or in any case, sweetened, water (don’t worry: the sugars won’t add to your circumference, but they’ll provide the necessary food for the microorganisms to live and thrive, allowing, sub-sequentially, for fermentation to occur).
It goes without saying that, water Kefir has different nutritional values to the milk variation: it mostly contains carbohydrates and is lacking in proteins and fats, but still remains rich in probiotics. For this reason, it represents a really interesting choice for vegan beverages and can be enjoyed in any moment, even as an, out of the ordinary, aperitif, as a cool substitute for typical, carbonated, fizzy drinks, like coca-cola and others similar to it.
A tip: to make your water Kefir even better tasting, after the fermentation process, drain and remove the granules and add some pieces pieces of fruit (fresh or dried), or some fruit juice. Close it with a lid and let it rest, again, at room temperature, and after one day, put it in the fridge… and you’ll get a delicious, fruity, fresh and effervescent, drink, that above all, is good to your intestine!
Now, that Kefir is in style, there are no shortages of industrially produced options.. If you’re not home and are out and about, or in a rush, you can definitely grab one from a supermarket and have it on the spot, but if you can, I’d recommend making it for yourself as much as possible: it’ll be more flavorful and richer in probiotics, than a commercially sold one, which also, usually have some added sugar and flavoring in them, that are completely unnecessary.
Kefir can, of course, be drunk and enjoyed as is, but there are also many other ways that it can be used!
For example, you can use it as the liquid component in your smoothies , or as a delicious dressing for your salads, or you can even put it over your cereal for a really good breakfast, that really exudes the “pros” in the word “probiotic”!
Finally, some people use Kefir, as an ingredient in cakes and other cooked, or baked goods and foods: in this case, it certainly gives a fuller flavor to the dishes, but be aware that, by cooking it, it tends to lose a few of its qualities and properties, that make it so good and interesting.
It’s completely up to you!
Have some good Kefir 😉
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