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I have been lucky enough to get some Kefir grains from a friend of mine. Kefir grains resemble cauliflower, and is used to make a fermented milk drink, which has good qualities to your gut flora.

Kefir grains are kept in organic milk for 24 hours, then sieved and the milk can be drunk. (In the picture below the milk is with the Kefir grains) After you rinse the grains and add more milk and have another drink next day. Or you can use the milk in your morning muesli, I often add some in my yoghurt and muesli or if I make a smoothie I add it in that.

Normally Kefir is used in animal milk, but I read from wikipedia that “Kefir grains will also ferment milk substitutes such as soy milk,  rice milk and coconut milk, as well as other sugary liquids including fruit juice, coconut water, beer wort and ginger beer.  However, the kefir grains may cease growing if the medium used does not contain all the growth factors required by the bacteria.”

If you are truly interested of Kefir, read the following. It is copy pasted from a document I got from a friend.

Kefir

Kefir is a living culture, a complex symbiosis of more than 30 microflora that form grains or cauliflower-like structures (sometimes called plants) in the milk. As the culture ferments the milk these structures grow, creating new grains in the process. Real kefir from live culture is an endlessly self-propagating process. Easy to make, it is superior to commercial yogurt and an absolute must after antibiotic use. Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract.

Microorganisms present in the grains include lactic acid bacteria. They give kefir excellent keeping qualities by keeping putrifying bacteria that might otherwise colonise the milk at bay. They’ve been shown to inhibit both salmonella and E. Coli in laboratory tests.

Kefir has many reputed health benefits. It has antibiotic and antifungal properties. It’s been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and allergies, tuberculosis, cancer, poor digestion, candidiasis, osteoporosis, hypertension, HIV and heart disease. You might find it odd that that a drink containing yeasts would be good for treating candidiasis but it has been helpful to many people, both by restoring a better balance to the gut flora and because some elements of the microflora will kill off Candida Albicans. Not all yeasts are harmful.

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Particularly calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin D and Folic Acid. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also has an abundance of calcium and magnesium, also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves.

The abundance of enzymes brings more health benefits, especially to lactose intolerant people, many of whom can tolerate kefir without difficulty, as long as the kefir is raw and not cooked (cooking destroys the enzymes)

Care instructions

  • A 500ml glass jar like a kilner jar
  • About kefir culture
  • Organic whole milk
  • Plastic sieve
  • Large glass jug

Put the kefir culture in the glass jar, then fill it with fresh milk about 1/3 or so full. As the Kefir ‘plant’ grows and it’s depth becomes about 2cm all over the top of the jar, you will need to increase the milk to 1/2 full. Put the lid over the jar but do not shut leave slightly open.

Let the contents stand at room temperature for approx. 24 hours depending on your taste. 48 hours will make a thicker, sourer kefir, 12 hours a thinner, sweeter kefir. The temperature will effect how quickly the culture works. So during the warm summer months the kefir will ferment faster.

While it’s fermenting the kefir grains will float to the top of the milk along with any cream. When it’s ready swirl the liquid to mix up the liquid and the grains. Strain what is in the jar through the plastic sieve into the glass jug. Use a spoon to gently stir the solids in the sieve. This allows the thicker creamy kefir to go through. Do not stir too vigorously  or the Kefir solids will break up too much. You will now be left with some large and lots of small grains in the sieve. The small grains will grow into bigger cauliflower like clumps.

When the larger clumps get to more than 2 cm break up with your fingers which will make the fermentation quicker and the Kefir grow.

Clean out the kilner jar with soap (‘ecover‘ washing up liquid is best as it does not contain harmful detergents) and hot water. Rinse really well the last rinse being cold water to cool the jar back down.

Put kefir back in the jar and put a 1/3 (or 1/2) organic whole milk over the top to make the next batch

Make sure everything is very clean when handling kefir. It’s a living culture, a complex system of bacteria and yeasts and you don’t want risk contaminating it. Use freshly cleaned hands, clean jars and clean implements.

For sharing this wonderful gift:- Run cool water gently through the sieve to wash the grains. Place about a desert spoonful(10ml) in a clean plastic ziploc bag. If posting put in a padded bag. Tell the recipient to immediately put the grains in a Kilner jar  – (a jam jar with the lid balanced on top and pushed a little to  one side will do as a temporary measure. Kefire has to be able to ‘breathe’) and put 1/3 (or 1/2) organic whole milk over the top to make the next batch.

Timing and Temperature

Making kefir is a pretty simple process, put the culture in the milk, leave it to ferment and there’s your kefir.  Kefir is a living food and subject to a fair degree of natural variation and people have a range of tastes.

There is a wide variety in the length of time the kefir is left to ferment. In the end, how long to leave it depends on how sour you like it. The longer you leave it the sourer it gets. Some people like a lightly fermented kefir, they let it ferment for only 12 hours, others like it much stronger and more active and leave it for 2 days, past the point at which is separates into curds and whey.

Real kefir from live culture is an endlessly self propagating process. After each batch you’ll have a few more grains as the culture grows. Eventually you’ll have quite a large batch of grains and they’ll speed up your fermentation time. You could pass spare culture on to a friend.

For more information and a video go to

http://www.adjusthealth.info/general-health/eating-for-health/best-probiotic-drink

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