Kefir, kefīrs, keefir, or kephir (/ka’fiar/ka-feer), alternatively kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter) and has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains around 3,000 BC. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat or sheep milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.
This short insight to Kefir is a precursor to a series of articles in the next few issues of the 1910 Lifestyle Magazine on fermented Probiotics. Why not check out the latest issue of the latest 1910 Lifestyle Magazine – Jan 2014 issue out now at http://issuu.com/stephenhogwood/docs/1910_lifestyle_magazine__-_jan_2014
I use Kefir for Sauerkraut fermentation and pickling – it’s delicious! Marco Polo also mentioned kefir when recounting his travels and he did a lot of travelling!
No, this is not a cauliflower, they are very healthy Kefir grains out of their milk solution.
The health benefits of Kefir – Research is showing these attributes:-
Preliminary research recently has shown Kefir to have some amazing properties, such as it can clean your digestive tract making sure that no toxic or pathogenic contents in food enter your bloodstream. It is also said that it also cleans out the bad bacteria from your intestines and regulates digestion, metabolism, and the colon, which makes it very effective in treating diarrhea, leaky gut syndrome and even colon cancer.
Kefir regulates your immune system, which means it makes you more resistant to any disease and can also potentially prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. The immune system is like the gatekeeper to good health. What exactly can we do to fortify these gates against diseases? Take in the probiotics found in a kefir drink.
Kefir is said to help regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels because Kefir grains are made up of lactose- and sugar-eating bacteria. This is good news for lactose intolerant and diabetics. Probiotcs don’t die easily inside your intestines. They will keep on munching on the lactose and sugars that come in and pass through the digestive tract.
This is not just as a health drink either but also a beauty drink, since it has been shown that Kefir can make the hair and skin smoother. And since it balances sugar levels, it is also a helpful drink for weight watchers.
Kefir through research with rats has shown there is potential re treating a variety of diseases and health conditions, which could include ulcer, tuberculosis, eczema, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and hypertension in order to promote an over-all feeling of good health.
But surely this little baby has to have a downside. Nothing is ever perfect, right?? Kefir does come very close.
So what are kefir’s side effects and how does it affect pregnant women?
The beauty with kefir is that it is organic. It is a gift from nature and not a product of lab experiments or chemical processes.
Some say it is a gift from God and go so far to say that God fed Moses and the Israelites with some kind of kefir in the form of manna. The Bible describes manna as how I would describe kefir grains today ñ white, fluffy and very nutritious. Since kefir is organic and all-natural, it is no surprise that it has no known side effects.
So what is this and how do you produce Kefir?
Production of traditional kefir requires a starter community of kefir grains which are added to the liquid one wishes to ferment. Kefir grains cannot be produced from scratch, but the grains grow during fermentation, and additional grains are produced. Kefir grains can be bought from or donated by other growers.
The traditional, or artisanal, method of making kefir is achieved by directly adding kefir grains (2–10%) to milk in a covered acid proof container which is traditionally agitated once or more times a day. It is not filled to capacity, allowing room for some expansion as the kefiran and carbon dioxide gas produced causes the liquid level to rise. If the container is not light proof it should be stored in the dark to prevent degradation of vitamins and inhibition of the culture. After a period of fermentation lasting around 24 hours, ideally at 20–25 °C (68–77 °F), the grains are removed from the liquid by straining using a non-corrosive straining utensil which can be stainless steel or food grade plastic and reserved as the starter for a fresh amount of liquid. The temperature during fermentation is not critical as long as it is not above one that will kill the culture (about 40 °C / 104 °F), or much below 4 °C (39 °F) where the process will cease.
The fermented liquid which contains live microflora from the grain, may now be consumed as a beverage, used in recipes, or kept aside for several days to undergo a slower secondary fermentation which further thickens and sours the liquid. Without refrigeration, the shelf life is up to thirty days. The grains will enlarge in the process of kefir production, and eventually split. Grains can be dried at room temperature or lyophilized (freeze-dried) or frozen.
The Russian method permits production of kefir on a larger scale, and uses two fermentations. The first step is to prepare the cultures by incubating milk with grains (2–3%), as just described. The grains are then removed by filtration and the resulting liquid mother culture is added to milk (1–3%) which is fermented for 12 to 18 hours.
Kefir can be produced using lyophilized cultures commonly available as a powder from health food stores . A portion of the resulting kefir can be saved to be used a number of times to propagate further fermentations but ultimately does not form grains, and a fresh culture must be obtained.
Hey, I also drink this stuff everyday and I’ve kicked two bouts of the big ‘C’ – FACT! that’s right, I’m living proof Kefir is a gift from the Gods!