Have you heard of it?
Have you tried it?
I have to thank my Mom for gettin' me going on this “fermented” goody. It's always something that I had wanted to try, but never got around to it. When my Mom showed up with enough kefir grains to go around, I jumped on the band wagon. “Can't nobody break my stride… can't nobody hold me down…oh no, I've got to keep on movin.'…” Sorry. Sometimes I can't help but break randomly into a song that encourages me along my fermented and strange path.
So, essentially, kefir is fermented milk. (I can see your face right now and I gotta be honest, it's freakin' me out a little bit!) Although my husband would disagree with this statement, I must tell you that kefir is actually pretty good. Like kombucha, the flavor takes some getting used to. It's fermented, and therefore, has a slightly sharp flavor to it that Americans are not used to (as we typically steer-clear of this type of food). Think about kefir as yogurt on steroids. Millions and millions of beneficial bacteria, just swimmin' around in that milk for your digestive pleasure.
Please feel free to read the following information, which is far more specific and accurate than anything I will tell you:
Benefits of Kefir
Benefits of Probiotic-Rich Substances
Research on Kefir
As with all things I recommend on here, please research it for yourself! Don't take my word for it, or anybody else's. Find what works best for you and your family!
So, here's how it works. You take a couple cups of milk. Insert your kefir grains (think of these as the “scoby” of kefir). These grains are a culture of bacteria and yeasts that break down the milk and make nutrients more accessible to our bodies. If you are looking to start using kefir, you can buy the grains (use the live ones, not the powder!) at your local health food store. Or, if you live close by, I would be happy to share my extras with you!
After you insert the grains into the milk, you set the jar on the counter and leave it out for twenty four hours. Then, you strain off the liquid from the grains. Keep the liquid in the fridge and drink to your delight (it's like a thin yogurt). The grains will then be put into another batch of milk and allowed to sit out again. It's a continual milky cycle.
We have found that our favorite way to drink the kefir is in smoothies. It acts as a great yogurt and milk replacement. It's also pretty easy to just drink the kefir straight, like you would milk. Or even with a little bit of flavoring and sweetener (it's delicious with a dash of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of honey!)
I enjoy always growing and trying new things. Fermented foods (i.e.: kombucha, sourdough, and now kefir) are a simply, traditional, and easy step to take towards a healthier, whole food diet.
Come on, you know you want in on this action.
Even just out of curiosity. We're livin' life on the edge…
I’ve had it store-boughten before and liked it. This is one of those things I’ve been waiting to move to try. Now I’ve moved. And now I have no idea where to buy the grains around here. 🙂
We’re in a whole new and very different state (of confusion) called Idaho. Are we close by? 🙂 I’ll figure it out and get going on it in the next few weeks.
It’s so nice not being such an oddity anymore. Who would have thought a move could make such a difference? Most everyone I meet lives like us. Us including you. Cause we’re close like that. I have found my people. Now, if I could just find a decent food store…
OMG!!!! that is so funny! we just staarted making our own kefir and I was just thinking about posting about it! (except that my lens is totally broken so I can’t take any pics until I get it fixed 🙁 )
it makes me feel very hardcore!! let’s have kefir smoothies next time we’re together!
Shaye @ The Elliott Homestead
Kimberly, oh thank you for including me in the “us”! We are in Washington, so you actually are pretty close in Idaho! I LOVE Idaho. It is BEAUTIFUL. Any good health food stores nearby?
Hope, YES, let’s make smoothies. YUM! Can’t wait till you are backhere for longer than four days!
Thanks for such a nice post about kefir. I’ve been making it for about a month now and the kids and I are fans–hubby, not so much. We make fruit and kefir smoothies, use it as milk on homemade granola, add it to mashed potatoes and bake with it. The kids love it when I let it get thick, strain it, and make it into a cheese spread/veggie dip.
Where in the Pacific NW can you buy kefir grains? I can only find websites, and I would much rather buy them from a store, than online. Where did you get yours? Anyone have any suggestions? I am (sort of) driving distance from seattle, so thats an option if they exist!
Shaye @ The Elliott Homestead
The health food store in Wenatchee has them!
I’m in Spokane, I’ve been looking for kefir grains and haven’t been able to find any around here…
Can you use raw milk for this in the same way?
Shaye @ The Elliott Homestead
You sure can! Raw milk makes it even better!
When you leave out the jars, is it completely covered with a tight lid, or as it appears in the photo with a papertowel over the top and a lid ring holding that in place? I live in Sf and I’m looking for where to get some fresh kefir grains. I can’t wait to make this!!
Sara, I leave mine just covered with a paper towel or tea towel. I usually put a rubberband around the top so that fruit flys can’t get in – they love the stuff! Here’s a great source for high quality kefir grains: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-make-sourdough-bread?a_aid=4d59656a8a661&a_bid=7a9e65d4
when you soak oatmeal or cream of wheat and use kefir, are you refering to the strained milk or the grains? Is store-bought useful in a pinch?
I’ve been trying to make kefir for a couple weeks now and I feel like I’m not getting it right. I got kefir grains from a good source. The kefir grains are growing a lot already, so I know they are healthy. I’ve had to take some out a couple times already. No matter what I do, I can’t get it any thicker than just normal milk consistency, or even seems more watery than milk. It just ends up tasting like sour milk (not like it’s gone bad, just gets the sourness of kefir, but not thick at all). I’ve tried more kefir grains to milk, less kefir grains to milk, longer culturing time, shorter culturing time, leaving the kefir culture longer after I take out the grains, warming the milk a little first, etc., and no luck – I’ve just ended up with too much fermentation, or separated whey. Any tips or suggestions you can offer??
The only thing I could think to try is some fresh grains! Or raw milk, if you can get your hands on it. My kefir grains only like raw milk (they’re spoiled!).
We have been making Kefir for almost a year. We use it mostly for smoothies but have also tried lemonade which was very tasty sweetened wit a bit of stevia. We also have made frozen berry yogurt with part kefir and part yogurt. Very delicious! Straining it in cheese cloth,I have used it in place of cream cheese.
You are the bomb . 🙂
I just discovered kefir. I’m lactose intolerant and was recently diagnosed with IBS and was told taking a probiotic would help. Finding live bacteria in lactose free form is pretty difficult to find, so when I stumbled upon kefir while looking for acidophilus milk, I was pleasantly surprised to see it said 99% lactose free. I usually have to add lactase drops to my diary, so to find something I wouldn’t have to do that with brightened my day. Then I remembered you recently posted something about kefir and went looking to find this post. We just bought a house on an acre in Malaga and have been looking to become more self sufficient, so your blog has been awesome and so informative. I hope someday we can meet, seeing as we are literally just down the road. 🙂
Melissa, we should totally meet!!!
quick question! so i am full organic and avoid milk products. i dont have any sources for raw milk. would it be okay to use coconut or almond milk?
Nope, it won’t work the same. You could use organic, pasteurized milk.
I use coconut milk all the time. You just have to use regular milk about every 4 or 5 batches to feed the grains so they don’t die.
I’m sorry if I missed where you said this but how much milk to how much kefir grains to you use?
I have never made kefir but definitely want to try now that we are getting more milk than we can consume.
We have tried the store bought and my daughter absolutely loves the flavors. How can you flavor it? Now that she’s a teenager I have to make it appealing. LOL