Friday, October 12, 2012
So What is Kefir Anyway?
As some of you know I'm quite obsessed with making food from scratch. It has little to do with my writing, though it helps inspire me and relax me, so I often find myself cooking something and writing in my head at the same time.
But that's not why I'm writing about Kefir today. I'm writing about Kefir because I love it, use it every day, and because I keep getting inquiries from friends about what it is and how to use it.
For years now, I've been making my own yogurt. Heating up the milk, then letting it cool, then introducing the starter, then letting it sit. It took a whole day of babysitting. But I gladly did it because we go through lots of yogurt in my house.
I came across Kefir, one day that I was doing grocery shopping in a hurry, and was very hungry. I had heard of Kefir before, but didn't know exactly what it was until I saw the beautiful bottle of something that promised to be a pro-biotic drink and tasted of berries.
I drunk the $5 bottle in one gulp and thought that it tasted a whole lot like yogurt. So I went home and researched it. I found out that you can't make Kefir in the same way you make yogurt. You don't do it from another batch, you buy the grains.
They came in the mail, dehydrated and I had to bring them back to life by soaking them in milk. In about three days I was in business.
Why do I prefer it to yogurt? First of all, it's a lot easier. You don't have to heat anything up. You just add cold (not ultra-pasteurized) milk from the fridge, and you let it sit on your counter for 24hrs.
You then strain the grains (always using plastic or glass jars, Kefir does not like metal) and put them back to work with a fresh batch of milk.
The strained product (the Kefir drink) is now ready for consumption or to be stored in your fridge. We make smoothies with it right away.
I like to add a handful of frozen pineapple, one banana and a few drops of coconut extract. I blend and listo! No sugar needed if you ask me.
You can of course add any fruits or berries you like and you can add any sweetener you like.
Or you can just add some sugar and stir. It's good that way too! The flavor is a lot like yogurt, with a little bit of an effervescent tang.
A Little History:
The actual Kefir grains, originate from the Caucasus area (Russia, Georgia) area. They were known as the grains of long life. They were handed down from one generation to another, and were that region's secret to health and longevity. It's really no small wonder. While yogurt contains 6 to 7 live cultures of good bacteria, Kefir has 30! Now that's a good pro-biotic.
If you'd like to take part in my sporadic from scratch cooking adventures, feel free to join my Facebook The Immigrant Woman group. It is a pun. ... Because, you know, I'm an immigrant ... .