Monday, February 22, 2010

Homemade Kefir and What Does One Do With It?

Homemade Kefir and What To Do With It
I had the best breakfast this morning; a hearty granola with fresh blueberries and kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk product much like yogurt but even healthier because it has even more probiotics. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try it because I tend to have all the modern food phobias; you don’t eat dairy product that have not been refrigerated, right? I remember being at a picnic and rushing around to get all the perishable food back into the cooler when everyone was finished eating only to be told by my husband’s aunt that her granny left everything out why she even left the mayonnaise on the middle of the table with the catsup all the time. I made up my mind I would never eat anything his family brought to gatherings. I haven’t changed my  mind much. But I have reconsidered properly fermented kefir.
You start with kefir grains which look like cottage cheese but are very spongy. In a clean glass jar put the kefir grains and fresh milk, cover with a coffee filter or paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Let set on the counter for 18-24 hours, that’s right.  I restart mine every morning so while I get the cereal out I pour the fresh kefir through a plastic sieve, don’t use any metal because the kefir reacts to metal, then I use the kefir on the cereal, wash the jar, put the kefir grains into the clean jar add some milk and start all over.       
Kefir is not as tart as plain yogurt but you may prefer to sweeten it a bit with honey or stevia if you don’t like tangy flavors.
Don’t limit yourself to milk, you can make kefir with cream too for a healthier version of sour cream or butter. Kefir can be made with whole milk, 2% or skim, I have a friend with a milk cow who makes it with raw milk but I use store bought organic.
Kefir grains can be purchased online just search “kefir grains”, I got mine from a friend so I really can’t recommend anywhere.
If you want to try kefir before buying grains and processing it yourself you can find it at most of the larger grocery stores and most health food stores.
Properly fermented food is healthy and tastes good, for more information on fermented food and other traditional techniques see Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions. One of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time.

1 comment:

  1. Nourishing Traditions is an excellent book with lots of new ideas and ways to cook--at least for me. I really like the Breakfast Porridge on p. 455.