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Kefir - Probiotic Health Drink

Updated on October 3, 2013

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink thought to have originated among shepherds in the Caucasus Mountains.  Kefir is an easy-to-make food, usually taken as a drink such as a smoothie, which is said to be an excellent source of probiotic enzymes - or "friendly bacteria." 

The Kefir grains are a living yeasty bacteria, a complex symbiosis of more than thirty microflora which if properly kept will multiply and sustain themselves, so you can re-use them time and time again. 

Regular use of Kefir is believed to cleanse the digestive system, improve immunity, soothe intestinal disorders (including Krohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), and calm some nervous disorders (such as ADHD, depression and insomnia.)  It is also believed to help AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Kefir is made with milk - preferably raw milk, though some people prefer goats' milk or soy milk.  The Kefir grains will absorb most of the milk's lactose, making the end result ok for most people who have any lactose intolerance.  As always, if in doubt, ask your doctor first before trying.

How to Make Kefir

Equipment

  • two (or more) storage jars with airtight lids
  • bowl
  • sieve
  • long-handled spoon
  • milk - raw milk or goats', sheeps', or cows' milk.
  • heating pad (optional)

Put the sieve over a bowl, then pour the gloopy Kefir culture into the sieve.  A sieve with a small mesh will serve to better catch the Kefir grains which look like a combination pulpy, gloopy cauliflower florets and stringy skin. 

You can use the spoon to remove any clumps from the culture jar and to give the contents of the sieve a stir.  Without mashing your grains at all, move them around to shake as much fluid as possible through the sieve and into the bowl.

Pour the contents of the bowl into a sterile jar, and you're ready to drink this.  You may want to add some honey to taste.

Next, take the Kefir grains in the sieve and put them back in their jar, and top up with room temperature milk.  Leave this to ferment once again, and repeat the process after a day or more.  The longer you leave it, and/or the warmer the room is, the thicker and stronger-tasting will be your Kefir drink.

Some people prefer not to use any metal instruments when making Kefir.  Also, cleanliness is important to reduce the chances of contamination from unwanted bacteria.

The videos above also demonstrate how to make Kefir.

© 2010 Adele Cosgrove-Bray

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    • AdeleCosgroveBray profile imageAUTHOR

      Adele Cosgrove-Bray 

      5 years ago from Wirral, Cheshire, England.

      Thanks, Gail. I've tried both drinks, and prefer Kombucha also - but that's probably just down to personal choice. :)

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      5 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      I have tried kefir with a culture a friend gave me, but I ended up liking my kombucha better. I think that was just only because the kombucha ferments for a week, but I have to deal with the kefir daily. So it is really just that the kombucha is more convenient for me personally. I enjoyed your hub. Voted up, useful and linked.

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