Saturday, March 22, 2008

Starting Kefir

Kefir is pronounced keh-fear, I'm not sure that I have enough knowledge to explain what it is any further than that. I have been reading and studying it and it's effects for the last few days. I have read many incredible testimonies about it's benefits and stories about it's rich history. At one time being valued more than jewels or gold, the property of Kings and a family's wealth determined by it's ownership.

It arrived in my mailbox yesterday in a little envelope, the kefir jewels or grains as they are properly called were dehydrated and looked like small pale yellow nuggets. There was a paper included with instructions on how to begin my new venture. I had paid for the postage and the grains themselves were free because it is very bad to sell kefir grains, they are a gift from God.

Kefir is a milk beverage and was used as a milk preservative before the time of refrigeration. Kefir grains are a living Probiotic as opposed to an Antibiotic, BIOTIC means "life", PRO means "for" and ANTI means "against". So, probiotic means "for life" and I'm all for that! When hydrated and active, Kefir grains resemble cauliflower and are pure white.

Since I don't have a goat that has come fresh yet and milk is so expensive right now, I asked for dehydrated grains instead of the moist and ready to go variety. My plan was to hydrate my grains as soon as I had fresh goat's milk. However, after reading so much good information and hearing all of the wonderful things that kefir can do for you, I just couldn't wait and started half of my grains.

The instructions said to put the grains in 1 to 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar. I did this and after a few hours my grains were no longer yellow, they were white, fluffy and rubbery. I strained them out of the water and rinsed them in a plastic strainer because I have been told not to let them come in contact with metal. Then I placed them in a glass cup of milk to sit on my kitchen counter for 24 to 48 hours for fermentation.

My 24 hours were up at 9:00 this evening and the milk smells very yeasty, I will let them set for another 24 hours, then pour the milk off and give it to my dog, then put the grains back in fresh milk for 24 more hours. The next milk that the grains are strained out of will be the kefir that I will be drinking. It is suppose to be the consistency of buttermilk but has a different taste. The grains themselves will grow and multiply as long as you keep them in fresh milk on a continual basis, straining it every 48 hours. You can also eat the grains when you get enough or give them to friends.

There are many recipes online using kefir and I will be trying some of these. I will probably be keeping you posted on my kefir adventure.
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