Long ago, actually just about a year ago, I wrote about my dental problems and the Homemade V8 that I made to help keep me nourished when I was unable to chew vegetables.  At the time I planned a post on kefir which I hoped I could get my daughter to write since she is both better informed and more experienced.  In fact, she gave me my first kefir grains way back then.  That has not come to pass and the time has come for the kefir post.

Like yogurt, kefir is a cultured milk product but contains several strains of friendly bacteria not found in yogurt.  It originated in the Caucasus mountain region, was reputedly first made from camel or goat milk,  and is said to be the reason for the long, healthy lives of the inhabitants.
Nowadays it is usually made with cow’s milk  with kefir grains which have been handed down through the ages, either purchased or donated.



Kefir grains are gelatinous bio-masses which contain many yeasts and friendly bacteria which ferment milk (making kefir) and reproduce themselves by making more grains.  “Kefir when consumed regularly can help control (and with time decimate)  ‘bad’ intestinal flora and fauna, can sooth and assist in the repair of damaged or inflamed sections of the intestines and also readjusts the ever decreasing balance of bacteria in your intestines helping build your immune system.”  Doesn’t that sound beneficial?

Kefir is rich in B1, B12, and biotin.  It also contains tryptophan which has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and tones the digestive system.  For those who are lactose-intolerant, it makes milk easier to digest. It has antibiotic properties.   Kefir has  everything  you hope to get when you purchase probiotics, but you can make it at home and it goes on forever.

Another good thing about making kefir (unlike yogurt)  is that it doesn’t need a special temperature to grow!  The warmer the weather, the faster it ferments.  It will thrive in the ambient temperature and it will not die in the refrigerator.

This is what I do.   Add a couple of tablespoons of kefir grains to milk (pasteurized or raw, whole or 2%, cow or goat) in a clear quart jar.  Let it sit.  The grains will rise to the top and the milk will thicken, resembling a thin yogurt.  The longer it sits, the tangier the taste.  I let mine sit until I see a little clear whey becoming apparent at the bottom.  Strain it using a plastic strainer (they say metal is not good for the kefir) and there you have it!  The grains will go into a clean jar with more milk and make more kefir.

To the strained kefir I usually add a banana, a handful of frozen blueberries (or mixed berries), an apple (with skin, without core), and another fruit (peaches, pears, pineapple, cantaloupe, etc.)  Blend into a smoothie and drink.   This will make 2 or 3 glasses of a smoothie drink and I enjoy  the taste of it. Sometimes I add some vitamin C, or a “greens” tablet,  if I remember.

A blender is truly a blessing when it comes to getting fruits and vegetables into dentally-challenged seniors.   And fruits and vegetables and kefir do wonders for sluggish colons!

There are oodles of sites with information about kefir on the internet.    One of my favorite sites is Dom’s Kefir in-site from Australia.