|My Kefir Grains|
I delayed making my own kefir for the longest time because I thought it would be too much of a hassle. But as I learned more and more about nourishing foods, I realized kefir offered a lot of important benefits. Namely, it's loaded with its own unique package of probiotics, which are vital for gut health. So, I took the plunge and ordered some milk kefir grains, and it turns out making my own kefir is incredibly easy! And the benefits are more than worth taking the time to make it.
When I spring for homemade, I like to use the simplest method possible. This makes it easier for me to stick with it and make it a regular habit. And making kefir has become part of my routine for several months now (I drink it every day!), so you know it must be easy! Here's how I make my own raw milk kefir:
1. In a glass jar or pitcher, mix kefir grains with raw milk (non-homogenized regular milk can also be used, but raw milk makes a much more nutritious kefir). The amount of milk you use depends on how many grains you have. When you first order grains, you'll most likely only be using 2-4 cups of milk at a time. But don't worry - kefir grains grow fast! After a couple batches, you'll be able to easily make 2 quarts at a time.2. Cover the glass container tightly and set out at room temperature (if you have a cold kitchen in the winter, you may need to find a slightly warmer place, like on top of the fridge).3. For a milder, thinner kefir, leave out overnight and refrigerate in the morning. The kefir will continue to culture (much more slowly) in the fridge.4. For a stronger, thicker kefir, leave out for 18-24 hours before refrigerating. The longer you leave out the kefir, the more probiotic cultures it contains, and the less lactose and casein. So if you are really trying to get those probiotics, or if you are very sensitive to lactose or casein, leaving it out a little longer may be the best option for you.5. Strain out the grains (see below for how to handle the grains). Store kefir in the refrigerator. Voila! A great, homemade probiotic drink.
Kefir is fairly tasty and versatile. It's a little sour, like plain yogurt but a little different. I drink mine plain (sweetened with stevia because it's a little too sour by itself for my taste), or I make kefir smoothies.
I use kefir grains because in the long run they are much more economical. There's a small $15-20 investment at first, but you only have to buy them once! You can use kefir grains indefinitely, and here's how:
- Strain the kefir grains from the kefir.
- Store covered in a glass container with enough raw milk to cover grains.
- Use at least every 48 hours to keep cultures alive.
These grains will not only continue to thrive, they will also multiply. So, you can either make even more kefir, eat the grains for a super dose of probiotics, or share your new grains with a friend!
Note: There are two types of kefir cultures: water kefir grains and milk kefir grains. Water kefir grains are for making homemade kefir sodas and beverages, while the milk kefir grains are for milk kefir. These grains are different and can't be used interchangeably. Be sure you order the right kind!
Kefir is a cultured milk product, which means it's even more beneficial than raw milk! Read more about cultured dairy here.