Kefir

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Mar 252012
 

What is kefir?

Kefir is fermented milk . It has the same texture as that of a buttermilk and has a sour taste to it.

Kefir is a cultured yogurt made when “kefir” grains are added to any milk. Kefir can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep, coconut, rice or soy. 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.

What are kefir grains?

Kefir culture or “grains”, which are used to make kefir, look like white, semi-clear cauliflower florets. The kefir culture is referred to as “grains”, though it shouldn’t be confused with the ordinary sort of “grain”, which usually comes to mind.Kefir grains are a combination of yeasts and bacteria, along with some sugars and proteins.Kefir grains aren’t “made”, but rather grow as they are cultured.

How is kefir made?

Kefir is made by combining kefir grains with milk. The mixture is allowed to sit at room temperature for 12 hours or longer; the kefir is then strained and the grains are used again. The resulting fermented milk is the kefir!

Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow 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 hazelnut. Some of the grains have been known to grow in large flat sheets that can be big enough to cover your hand!. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly organisms to create the cultured product. The grains are then removed with a strainer before consumption of the kefir and added to a new batch of milk.

What does kefir taste like?

Kefir has a soured smell, and tastes very similar to plain yogurt. I think it resembles buttermilk after about 12 hours of fermentation, or a runny sour cream after 24+ hours of fermentation.

If you like yogurt, you will like kefir! Even if you don’t particularly care for plain yogurt, there are still many yummy ways to enjoy kefir. 🙂

Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar 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.

Why should we eat kefir?

Kefir has all the great health benefits of yogurt, and MUCH more! Kefir is full of probiotics, along with the protein and calcium from milk. It’s also easy to make and easy to digest (the yeast in the grains feeds on lactose in the milk)!

Benefits of Kefir

Easily digested, it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer. Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The regular use of kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

Kefir can also help eliminate unhealthy food cravings by making the body more nourished and balanced. Its excellent nutritional content offers healing and health-maintenance benefits to people in every type of condition.

Making kefir

How do I make homemade kefir?

Making homemade kefir is very simple! For every tablespoon of kefir grains, you will need a 7-8 tablespoons of milk (about one cup total, with the grains). (Kefir grains may be purchased from Cultures for Health.)

Just place the milk and grains in a glass jar, cover loosely, and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 12-24 hours.

Strain, and enjoy your fresh kefir! (Kefir will keep in the refrigerator for months!)

Add the grains to fresh milk, to make another batch of kefir. It’s so simple and quick to make homemade kefir!

What are some ways to eat kefir?

Some people like to drink plain kefir. If you like plain yogurt, you will like plain kefir.

A common way to eat kefir is by making a kefir fruit smoothie. The kefir adds a creamy tartness and, of course, lots of probiotics and extra nutrition!

Kefir can also be used as a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt in various recipes. This can depend on the recipe and how long you’ve cultured the batch of kefir, since the kefir gets more tangy the longer it cultures.

The above information is taken from the following two sites:

Home

http://www.tammysrecipes.com/about_kefir

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