Milk Kefir

February 05, 2021 2 min read

Milk Kefir

Some of the most nourishing foods are fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and others.

Milk kefir (pronounced keh-feer) has been growing in popularity for years, and with good reason. Kefir is easily digestible, boosts your immune system, supports digestive health, and aids in the absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals.

Milk kefir is widely known and celebrated as a delicious probiotic beverage, but few people know its fascinating origins.

Kefir has been made by the people of the Caucasus mountains in Russia for centuries. Known as “grains of the Prophet”, it’s believed that kefir grains were gifted to the prophet Mohammed gifted to the Orthodox Christians in the region. Mohammed then taught the people how to make kefir, which became a staple of their diet.

The method for making kefir was kept secret for many generations, and owning the grains was a symbol of one’s wealth. It was also believed that kefir’s health benefits would be lost if its recipe was shared. Revered as a powerful medicinal food, the secret to making kefir wasn’t shared until the early 20th century.

When the recipe for kefir was finally sourced by the All Russian Physicians’ Society, it became a medicinal food in Russian hospitals. Kefir was found to benefit many conditions from digestive ailments to atherosclerosis, and tuberculosis. Today, hospitals in Eastern Europe still offer kefir to patients.

By the 1930’s, demand for kefir had increased significantly, and it was produced on a large scale. However, it took several decades for the commercial process to be perfected. Milk kefir finally reached the western world by the 1960’s, and has become more and more popular ever since.

It is now readily available in supermarkets, but it is also possible to purchase your own kefir grains and make it at home.

Keep in mind that commercial forms of kefir are usually made from powdered cultures, which contain considerably fewer probiotic strains than ‘natural’ kefir grains. Kefir grains can be very easy to find online, but it does depend on where you live.

Because milk kefir grains multiply so quickly, people tend to sell their excess on websites like Craigslist for a few dollars. If you can't find a local seller and you live in the US or Canada, you can order them online from the Kefir Lady (kefirlady.com).

If you live elsewhere, you should still be able to find a seller. Kefir grains can be dried and sent long distances without deteriorating.

If you take good care of your grains, they should last forever. This recipe calls for milk kefir grains, but you may also have heard of water kefir grains. Instead of milk, these cultures ferment sugar water or coconut water. They do a similar job but have a completely different mix of bacteria and yeast.

 

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