These are 'milk' culture grains.  

 Kefir grains - a unique living 'GOOD' Bacterial Culture thatreproduces itself!

 KEFIR  is a TRUE  ORGANIC  'PRO BIOTIC'

much moreso than store bought Yogurt -

producing a multitude of health benefits.

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POWER OF PRO-BIOTICS IMPRESSES SCIENTISTS  http://probiotics.mercola.com/probiotics.html

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The HISTORY of KEFIR click here

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    The following link is a video about

How to make Milk Kefir 

- but before watching it, there's a couple things I'd like to point out to you first.   This nice lady uses only Organic Milk, (great if you can afford it) but says not to use any pasteurized milk unless it's skim.  I've been 3 1/2 years making it with 2% store bought pasturized milk, as have dozens of others who've obtained grains from me.  Also there are many websites where the information does not make any such claim eitherThe one thing you can be sure of, is that whatever 'extras' may be in the pasteurized milk from the store, is readily devoured and destroyed by the Kefir grains during the fermenting process, producing a PURE product.  No bad stuff that the cows were fed etc. remain in your fermented Kefir, so it isn't necessary to spend all that extra money or time seeking specialty milk!  So in all truthfulness, it seems very appropriate to use 1 or 2% milk  in making your Kefir, as well as the many other types mentioned in another article on this page.

The other point I'd lik to bring to the fore, is that she is using  a fine mesh plastic strainer (plastic is always preferrable to metal - although Stainless steel is also ok) - I have a photo of a plastic strainer below with much larger, but not gigantic holes in it for straining ($2.00 at Dollarama), as using the mesh strainer simply takes so long, but by all means is ok to use.  Strainers with small holes will strain out the grains much more quickly & the thicker curd like part will flow through faster.  I use a mesh strainer like she has for making Kefir Cheese Spread, with a collee filter sitting in it over a catch all container, and it's perfect for that.  Also you will note that if you get your grains from me, they are considerably larger than what she has, so I can see her concern about losing the babies through the holes.  The grains I have are quite large and are directly from Russia brought here by a relative of an acquaintance.  So you can use either type of strainer, it's up to you.  Keep in mind too, that you'll be making 1 quart of Kefir, not a pint & 2 heaping tablespoons of grains will make a quart in about 24-30 hours.  She does bring out a good point though, that the earlier you strain your kefir, before the whey has separated from the kurds, the less tart your Kefir milk will taste.  Either way is hightly beneficial. This is where you may want to experiment a little.  After having viewed many demonstrations I chose this as being the better of them and it's an easy watch.  Remember that if you have any questions, you're welcome to phone me and ask.  Thanks,  Lori

Click here to watch the short video:   http://youtu.be/g8inJzX-6yE

I only have one disagreement with this video, and that is the type of strainer she uses.  I own one of these, and find it's quite difficult to strain the Kefir milk through it, and I much prefer the type I show below in the photo that is blue and white for this.  I find the small mesh strainer is ideal for making Kefir Cheese spread, as you can see from the photo below also.  As with any utensils or containers used for your 'grains' especially, but also the fermented milk, once you sterilize these items with boiled water, never use them for anything else but your Kefir products. And NEVER EVER wash them with any detergents, never in the dishwasher or use a cleaning agent on them.  You should use only the sterilized brush to clean the jars, along with very hot tap water, and perhaps wipe with a clean cloth.  Any chemicals that come in contact with the 'fermenting grains' can kill off some of your grains.  So dedicate a strainer, spoon, preferably wooden or plastic, a good bottle brush and bowl, and sterilize these for use only with your Kefir products.  Clean only with very hot tap, or boiled water there after.  Kefir milk once fermented, lasts a very long time in the refrigerator.  It does however become stronger in taste, the longer it is in there.  Always stir it before consuming.  Lori

 

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LINKS TO SOME VERY INTERESTING & INFORMATIVE 'KEFIR' WEBSITES where you can learn many different tricks of the Kefir trade, lots of RECIPES & suggestions of things to add Kefir to.  There's also information on the first link about making WATER KEFIR.  Also you can find out how to store your grains if you want to take a break; & freeze them if ever there was a need & how to bring them back to life.  Check them all out - you're bound to learn something from each site:     1st is the best one.

 

>>>>> http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html

>>>> http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

>>>> http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kefir_howto.shtml

>>>>> http://gourmand2go.com/kefir.html

>>>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

 

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Articles of interest: 

 WHAT COMPARISONS are there BETWEEN KEFIR and YOGURT?

 How to introduce Kefir into your diet

and  HOW TO MAKE KEFIR  (a write up)

and 


'Probiotics Send Signals From Your Gut to Your Skin'


- can all be found at the bottom of this page.

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The above type of strainer works well for straining your Kefir grains.  It doesn't need to have a handle nor be huge or expensive, just as long as you don't use it for anything else, or toss it in the dishwasher.  It should be sterilized with boiled water once, and then only cleaned with hot water & a brush or clean dish cloth.  One that is only 4-6" across will work just as well as one that's 8 - 10".  The blue collapsible type can be purchased in some Dollar stores, or for $10-$12 if you prefer the Starfrit brand. But it doesn't have to be this kind, any plastic one with not too large holes will likely work well and clean up easily.  Stay away from metal, although some say Stainless Steel is ok.

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 I NO LONGER sell fresh Milk Kefir Culture (grains)
.  (I'm leaving this information here for people to be able to educate themselves about the marvels of this truly miraculous 'living culture' beverage.)

 

This link will show you numerous people selling Kefir cultures in the Burlington/Toronto/Mississauga area: click here and scroll down a bit.

http://toronto.kijiji.ca/f-kefir-grains-Classifieds-W0QQKeywordZkefirQ20grainsQQisSearchFormZtrue 

 Please note:  There are some people willing to mail these to you, but my advice is that you would want to wait until April-June, or Sept-Nov. for this, as it can be much too cold or much too hot for this culture to survive in the extreme temperatures for the amount of time it likely would take for Canada Post to deliver them to you.  I used to mail them, when I was selling them, but took precautions to pack them especially well to help them survive the journey, AND I only mailed on a MONDAY, that way they weren't sitting in a warehouse over a weekend.  If at all possible it's much better to pick them up if possible.  Check Kijiji in your area to see if someone is selling them. 


Also - if you want to make a quarts worth (1 litre) of Kefir each time you ferment a batch, you'll want to have two tablespoons of the grains (culture) which equals about a 1/4 cup full, (approx. 50g).  Then too as they multiply and grow you'll eventually be able to share some with family & friends..


Please feel free to use this webpage to educate yourself about the benefits of and how to make & use the True-Probiotic KEFIR!

        
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The best store bought ready-made Kefir you can buy is made by LIBERTE', as they make their Kefir from real 'live grains'.  This can be bought in many major chain grocery stores.  This is the closest to the real thing you can buy,but they do add a couple of other things, as well as now having flavors, to make sure the product lasts on the grocers shelf.

 

 2 heaping tablespoons of live culture (1/4 cup or 50 g) will make one quart (1 ltr) of fresh Kefir.

If you only have 1 tablespoon of grains, only make a 1/2 quart, or 500 ml, as you can overwork the culture trying to force it to ferment more milk than it can handle.

 

Average fermenting time when the temps are warmer, is 16 - 26 hours, depending upon how tart you like the flavor. In cooler temps 24 - 36 hours. The grains will grow & reproduce, after 4-6 weeks, you'll gradually have to separate a few of them each week or two, to start a second quart. They love to grow in milk (any kind, Raw, un-pasteurised or pasteurised whole milk, fat-reduced, non-fat milk. Goat, Cow, Sheep, Buffalo, Camel and Organic.)

(It is said that Kefir grains will also ferment milk substitutes such as soy, rice and coconut milk, however I did not have any success with these, as they don't have any milk in them to be fermented.-feel free to experiment.). If you have 2 or 3 people drinking 1/2 to 1 cup of Kefir a day, you'll want to have at least 2 quarts being made regularly to supply the demand. Don't forget too that you can make your own Kefir Cheese Spread & wonderful healthy smoothies with this remarkable pro-biotic. See list of benefits below.

2 heaping tablespoons are enough to make one quart of Kefir fermented milk beverage, in 20 - 36 hours depending upon how strong tasting you prefer the beverage.. -(all necessary instructions, can be found here on this webpage, including a video demonstration.)

Kefir is a delicious, slightly effervescent, slightly tart cultured beverage that is loaded with microbial life. Made from milk, it is a natural antibiotic, containing strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast in a symbiotic relationship. It is thinner than yogurt, more like a thick milk, but more tart. Kefir does not feed yeast, and most people with lactose intolerance can usually consume it without being bothered. This is because most of the lactose in kefir has been consumed by the friendly bacteria and yeast, which also create beneficial enzymes.

The kefir grains are small, white gelatinous clumps consisting of casein and polysaccharides. The grains are capable of fermenting milk by incorporating their friendly organisms into the final product. Once the grains are done fermenting one batch of milk, generally done in a 1 quart canning jar, you simply strain them out & add them to a new batch of milk, & the process continues indefinitely. The grains, will soon increase in number, and possibly size, producing babies that get larger with each batch of milk. They can then soon be divided, a few at a time & a new 2nd quart begun. If you have no need for more than making 1 quart at a time, the extras can be given away, or even eaten - also healthy for you.
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 Kefir milk is a cultured-milk beverage with a somewhat creamy consistency, and has a slightly sour or tart flavor, but still a refreshing taste "with a subtle carbonated zesty tang to it" as described by others.  

Kefir is easy to prepare and may be fermented, or cultured to individual taste preferences. Fermenting the Kefir milk for a shorter period, produces a less tart tasting product. The longer the fermentation, the stronger the tartness.  It's always encouraged that you experiment with your Kefir making process,  Online you'll find many differing opinions from many individuals, so take these suggestions all into consideration and develop a procedure that works best for you.  What works well for me is what I teach, which may or may not be in agreement with others.

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 Another tid bit I learned recently, for those who may find that Kefir is too tart for their liking, try adding Vanilla to it, or Stevia to alter the taste slightly,, or perhaps a bit of juice. Remember too, that the shorter the fermenting time, the less tart the flavor will be.  If you strain the batch at 16-20 hours you'll get a supple mild pleasant tasting drink - ferment for 30 hours - mush more tart, approximately comparable to plain yogurt, and 40+ hours - wow - you'd better like the taste of Buttermilk! 

Again back to TEMPERATURE (ideal is 62-74 degrees) - in the Winter months, fermenting takes a little long than it does in the warmth of the spring and summer months.  So where I mention 20 hours above, you' may want to add 3 or 4 hours in the cold of winter.  ALSO worthy of NOTE:  I believe it's mentioned somewhere on this page already, but bears repeating -- in the heat of summer, if your kitchen isn't air conditioned, it may be too hot & the fermenting should be done in a cooler location, perhaps on the basement stairs, or where ever a slightly cooler location is, where you live. It isn't necessary for the grains to be in bright light.  A darkened cupboard or other space will suffice too.  I have a shaded shed where I put mine. 

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The mesh screen strainer (above) is the same as is being used (below) for making Kefir Cheese Spread, but is hard to find. Also, this type of strainer does NOT work as well for straining your KEFIR Grains, as the blue type below which can be bought at some Dollar Stores, or something similar. It is said that, a 'Stainless Steel' strainer can be used, just not a plain metal one.

Read here how you can ferment your kefir in the Frig., or under airlock.

http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html#Storing  


 I use the refrigerator method of fermenting, as I don't drink it all that quickly, so I ferment for about 6 hours on the counter, then put it in the frig for 2-4 days and find it's thicker and not too tart when I strain it. Nice!

This page is mostly INFORMATION about this wonderful natural product called Kefir, but the issue comes in finding people who reproduce their own cultures that can supply others with enough 'culture' or 'grains' to start making their own Kefir milk.  Over a period of 4-8 weeks the grains reproduce themselves to the point of needing to be divided, as you only need about 2 heaping tablespoons (1/4 cup or 50g) of grains + the milk, to produce a quart jar of homemade Kefir, which takes approximately 20 - 36 hours.  The Kefir sold at the grocery store, which, although made from a 'starter kit', as opposed to the fresh grains, is still of some benefit. It isn't as strong or quite as beneficial as the real thing, but none-the-less is better than not taking anything at all!  The 'LIBERTE' brand as mentioned above is made from actual grains, not a starter kit, and is made with Organic Milk.  This may be the only brand available in our area that actually uses the real grains to produce the KEFIR they sell, & is by far more beneficial than anything made from a starter kit, . So if you can find the LIBERTE' brand, then it's the best you can buy, ready made, albeit more costly, if you don't want to make your own.  

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What IS kefir?

   Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals & valuable B vitamins.

·       Kefir is simple and inexpensive to make at home.    ·     Kefir is used to restore the inner eco-system after antibiotic therapy.   ·       Kefir can be made into a delicious 'smoothie' that everyone loves, as well as a 'cheese spread' for bread & crackers, or used as a dip.  Flavor to your personal liking.    ·       Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant & nursing women, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or who are LACTOSE INTOLERANT!

List of 78 known kefir health benefits:  

 Natural remedy against some allergens   Strongest natural antibiotic without side effects   Treats liver disease   Treats gallbladder, dissolves gall bladder stones   Clears the body of salts, heavy metals, radionuclides, and alcoholic products   Cleans the body of chemical antibiotics   Treats kidney stones   Good bacteria in kefir are able to fight off pathogenic microorganisms   Lowers level of LDL cholesterol   Cleans the gastrointestinal tract   Irritable Bowel Syndrome   Treats gastritis   Treats pancreatitis  Treats ulcers   Prevents and treats colon cancer   Improves digestion   Improves the body functions   Improves the human immune system   Cures Candida   Cures hypertension   Stops growth of cancer cells    Speeds up healing process   Treats psoriasis    Treats eczema    Treats inflammatory diseases    Reduces size of tumors    Treats heart disease    Reverses calcination of blood vessels    Clears the blood vessels    Boosts the bodies energy    Natural “feel good” food    Treats lung infections    Normalizes metabolism thereby can be used as for weight loss    Cures acne    Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties    Nourishes hair    Treats the gum disease parodontosis    Lessens adverse effects of medicines    Replenishes body of good bacteria after antibiotics    Balances the microflora of the body’s digestive system    Helps regulate blood pressure    Lowers blood sugar    Lowers blood lipid levels or cholesterol and fatty acids    Treats diarrhea    Treats constipation    Promotes bowel movement     Anti-stress properties    Treats sleeping disorders    Treats depression    Treats (ADHD) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder    Improves the brains neuro functions like reflexes, memory retention, attention, & the five senses    Reduces flatulence    Lactic acid fermentation enhances the digestibility of milk based foods. People who cannot otherwise digest milk, can enjoy the vital calcium rich Kefir   Treats yeast infection    Eliminates vaginal odors    Cures wrinkles     Treats arthritis    Treats colitis    Treats gout    Reduces migrane pain & frequency   Treats rheumatism    Treats other stomach disorders     Detoxifies the body    Improves protein quality of milk, & enhances absorption & digestion    Good bacteria manufacture B vitamins such as B3, B6 and folic acid.    Aids in treating tuberculosis    Treats stomach cramps    Treats chronic intestine infections    Treats liver infections    Treats asthma    Treats bronchitis    Treats sclerosis    Treats anemia    Treats hepatitis    Healing effects on catarrh, digestive nodes, astral nodes, bilious complaints    Treats leaky gut syndrome    Prevents metastasis    Cures bad morning breath.

 

  Basic Kefir Cheese (spread)

A great spread for crackers, bread & bagels, or thin it out with fresh kefir or drained Whey, to  make a chip or veggie dip!   Using your ready made Kefir, you’re now going to drain away the ‘whey’ to you get your kefir cheese.     Ingredients:   • kefir      • salt  (if preferred)     • herbs & spices of your choice.     

Directions:   1.  Using your ready made Kefir, pour some into a paper coffee filter (not a nylon stocking I’m told) to near the top edge & set inside a strainer,  which sits over a relatively deep bowl, to collect the whey that drips out of it.   2.  Lightly cover kefir with a paper towel or some plastic wrap to keep from drying out around the edges.  3.   Place the kefir on the counter for 24-48 hours.   4.  when most of the whey has been drained out of the kefir & dripped into the bowl (use it – it’s very healthy – add back into your ready made Kefir, drink it or use in a recipe.) Note: Pour out whey in the bowl if it gets so much that it touches the bottom of the strainer, & keep letting your Kefir drain, until it has drained enough that the Kefir easily falls from the sides of the filter when tapped with your finger. Shake it out of the filter into a bowl,    5.  the remaining whey-less kefir is your ‘Kefir cheese’.   6.  Now season with [salt if you wish], herbs of your choice, adding a small amount at a time, fold into Kefir until you obtain your preferred flavour, then simply spread this onto crackers, bread or bagels & enjoy!

Suggestion: If you like the taste of Caraway seeds, one of my favorites is to powder some seeds in a small coffee grinder and sprinkle these into your Kefir cheese, along with a couple of herbs or spices and it’s a great taste.  Use your imagination & experiment!

 

Below:

photo 1:  strainer, container or bowl to catch dripping whey as it separates from Kefir,  & coffee filter.

photo 2:   Kefir milk filled to near top of coffee filter, like in photo here >>>

photo 3:   note the 'whey' which has dripped through the filter into catch container, as it separates itself from the kefir milk.

photo 4:  after about 24 hours, the kefir is more like a soft solid and easily falls away from filter sides.

photo 5:   Kefir cheese spread in bowl all ready to add flavoring - spices, herbs or whatever you wish to add, to flavor it.

If you want to make a chip or nacho dip of the Kefir cheese, just add back some of the drained whey to thin the consistency to your liking. 

CLICK PICS FOR CLOSE UP!

 

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'Probiotics Send Signals From Your Gut to Your Skin'

- a very worthwhile read, click here for article.

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HOW TO MAKE KEFIR  IS THE LAST ARTICLE ON THIS PAGE ... 

 

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 How to introduce Kefir into your diet


Some people thrive on kefir right from the start and others may need to proceed much more slowly.  Remember that people with Candida's, lack milk-digesting bacteria, so you may have to build up your "tolerance" of kefir.  Start with about 1/2 oz. to 2 ounces in the morning on an empty stomach. If it upsets your stomach, or causes acid reflux, then you've taken too much.  Reduce your daily amount for a couple days, then a bit at a time, increase slightly each day. If you seem to tolerate the 1/2 oz. in the morning, you can perhaps repeat this intake a couple more times throughout the day, within an hour or so of eating (as this shouldn't upset your stomach.) Every second or third day, increase amount gradually until you're eventually able to drink as much as an eight ounce glass over the course of a day, for optimum benefits over time.  It could take your body a week or two, or longer to accept that much, but try to have at least some each day.  Everyone is different & some people take longer to adapt.  It isn't necessary to drink that much, but the more you take in a day the more benefits you'll receive overall, but realize it may take a couple weeks to see specific results.  Some people find it causes them to be burdened down with too much mucous - that's possibly an indicator that they're taking too much too quickly, and should stop for 2 or 3 days altogether.  Then gradually begin again but only take 1/3 to 1/2 an oz. a day for up to 2 weeks, THEN begin to gradually increase the amount taken.  If you begin again to produce excess amounts of mucous, then perhaps you're one of those few who can't tolerate this culture.

     As your body becomes accustomed to it, it doesn't have to always be taken on an empty stomach, but it's to your benefit to start off your day this way.  Making Smoothies with your Kefir is a real treat too, due to the Kefir taste itself, (somewhat like Buttermilk [but nicer] somewhat like unflavored plain yogurt [ but stronger], not always being something that everyone in your family will drink on it's own, but as a Smoothie, the taste will be altered considerably & can be quite refreshing.  You can always add something like honey, or Stevia as a sweetener as well, perhaps even a little chocolate to change the flavor.  Food Basics sells a large 3 kg bag of flash frozen mixed fruits, & a 2.5 kg. bag of a frozen Berries mix for about $9.99.  These prices are comparable to what Costco charges.

   Of course the other problem here is, only being able to produce about 1 quart every 3-4 days, so if you and others in your family are taking the Kefir, you won't have enough to go around.  As your 'grains' continually reproduce though, you can eventually split them into two jars & so on, thus making twice as much every couple of days.  About 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons full is plenty to make a jar of Kefir.   A ready batch is evidenced by the separation of the whey within the jar as shown below.

 

             ABOVE:    The GRAINS                                            Making KEFIR                   When  WHEY  &  CULTURE separate - you're ready to strain !

 

 Note too, that perhaps you're going away for a couple of days & don't want to make any Kefir, or you have more than you can drink -- then you can simply store the strained grains, covered slightly with a couple inches of fresh made Kefir, or plain milk, put the paper towel & elastic on the bottle & store in the frig. for up to 6 days.  When ready to make a new batch, take jar out of the frig., add milk, cover & set it where you want it while a new batch ferments.  Worthy of note:  It doesn't hurt it at all to sit for up to 4-5 days - but the Kefir will get a bit stronger tasting the longer it's left fermenting.

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Go to this link to find a recipe for making butter using Kefir, as well as numerous other recipes:

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#Links

  

WHAT COMPARISONS are there BETWEEN KEFIR and YOGURT?
 
 
Kefir is a cultured, creamy product with amazing health attributes.

Kefir's tart and refreshing flavor is similar in consistency to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains 'beneficial 'yeast as well as friendly 'probiotic' bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins.

For the lactose intolerant, kefir's abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process.  (Taste is somewhat like Natural Yogurt & a little like Buttermilk, but nicer, & you can add Stevia or honey to it if you can't tolerate the flavor.)


 
Both kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products...
...but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains 'transient' beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there.  But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match. 

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites. 

Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy.

Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.

 

More than just beneficial bacteria!

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with healing and maintenance functions. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also offers an abundance of calcium and magnesium, which are also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly profound calming effect on the nerves.

Kefir's ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy. 

Kefir is rich in Vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin which aids the body's assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity.


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 How to Make Kefir

Kefir can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep. Although it is slightly mucous forming, the mucous has a "clean" quality to it that creates ideal conditions in the digestive tract for the colonization of friendly bacteria.

Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellowish particles called "grains." This makes kefir unique, as no other milk culture forms grains. These grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars. They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a walnut.   

You start with 2 tablespoons of healthy Kefir grains placed in the bottom of a 1 quart/1 litre jar. If you have any fresh Kefir, pour over the grains about 1 1/2 to 2" of it to just barely cover the grains. (Some people skip this part & go right to the next step.)  Fill the jar up 2 inches below the top of the jar with whatever milk you prefer to use.  Cover the top of the jar with a folded paper towel, or a coffee filter & hold in place with an elastic.  Set on the counter or frig top out of direct sunlight.  Let sit for 24-36 hours & once you see the whey (clear liquid above) separating from the white, check the top of your jar.  If the Kefir is rather solid looking, thick with little things poking up (grains) your Kefir is ready to strain & use. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly organisms to create the cultured product, noticeable when there is a separating of the 'whey', (also beneficial). The grains are then gently separated and removed with a platic strainer before consumption of the kefir, and the grains are then combined with a new batch of milk back in the jar.  Covered with a folded papertowel and held by an elastic, so the culture can 'breathe'.  If enclosed, it will eventually expand and explode the jar.  The fresh made Kefir must be refrigerated, but is now ready to drink or use in a smoothieMaking the Kefir is not done in the frig, but is set on a counter or top of the frig (out of direct sunlight) in a semi-cool spot (in the heat of summer).  If you have a basement this is a good place to put it while it ferments.  During the winter months it's fine in the kitchen & prefers temps btween 62-74.

 

  Worthy of note, is that you shouldn't use any type of soap or cleansers in the jars you make it in or store it in, just wash out with papertowels or a brush and hot water, as these cleaning residues will have an adverse effect on the grains and Kefir.  I bought a brush that I use only for cleaning my containers.  It isn't necessary to always wash a container thoroughly between uses, just a quick rinse and you can re-use the jar.  But every third time or so, they should be more thoroughly cleaned out.  And if you choose to do so each time, that's fine too.

A ready batch is evidenced by the separation of the whey within the jar. as seen in above photo.

However. the separation may look like the photo below also, not so defined.  The second shot below shows the Kefir in the top of the jar thick & concentrated with the grains popping up a bit.  This is ready to be strained & separated. But always stir it first. 

And stir also the ready made Kefir  before you drink it as well - once it sits for a short time it begins to separate.

 

 

I hope this information has been of some value. 


 

KEFIR MILK

                MIXED BERRY Kefir SMOOTHIE
 

 

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