Some supplements are for weight loss and some are for well being.
But few – if any – are all-natural with no side effects.
Kefir all but stands alone in this category for the myriad of health benefits it provides including:
- Boosting Immunity
- Healing Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Building Bone Density
- Fighting Allergies
- Improving Lactose Digestion
- Fighting Cancer
- Supporting Detoxification
For more information on kefir and it’s health benefits, you can read my article here.
But in this article, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make this super-supplement kefir on your own.
The first step to making kefir is to source a kefir grain.
The nice thing about this is that kefir is often given as a gift. Many people who received their first kefir grain were given it for free and are often happy enough to pay it forward and gift a grain to someone new.
This happens even more often as the more kefir you make, the more your kefir grain will grow and eventually it will split off into two grains and multiply as it goes.
Needless to say, this can result in someone having more kefir grains than they need.
A quick search on a classified website like Craigslist or Kijijji will often turn up people who are willing to give away a kefir grain or sell one to you for a small price.
Failing that, you can always buy one online from a kefir grain breeder.
As kefir grains are extremely hardy, they can be dried out and shipped and then magically come back to life once you place them in some milk.
If you’d rather buy one in person, you may be able to get one from a local organic or natural food store.
Just try to avoid buying kefir grains from the supermarket or from cheese making supply stores as they often use fake kefir grains that have been raised in a lab.
(As you can tell when it comes to natural food, I believe in having them come from a natural source as much as possible 🙂 )
Once you have a kefir grain, you’re ready to begin production!
All you need is a mason jar, an elastic band and a cotton cloth (or some other breathable, natural type cloth).
To make kefir all you do is put your kefir grain into the mason jar and add some fresh milk.
The milk can be raw milk, unpasteurized, pasteurized, etc.
You can use whatever you have on hand.
For home use, all you need is between 1 teaspoon to 2 table spoons of kefir grains to ferment between 1 cup and 2 quarts of kefir.
If you have less grain, it will ferment too slowly which can make the resulting kefir a bit unpredictable and if you use more the fermentation can happen too quickly and may be difficult to control.
Once you’ve added your milk, simply place the cloth over the lid of the jar and put the elastic band around the mouth of the jar to protect anything from falling into your kefir.
The cloth keeps anything from falling into your kefir, but it also allows the kefir to breathe and for fresh air to come and go as needed during the fermentation process.
If you were to seal the mason jar it could crack or explode.
Once you’ve added your milk to the mason jar with the kefir grain, you can leave the jar out on your counter to ferment.
It does best in temperatures ranging from 60-75 degrees farenheight (6-24 degrees Celcius).
If its colder it will just take a bit longer for the kefir grain to ferment and produce the kefir, if hotter it will happen more quickly.
If your kefir grain is new it could take 48 hours or so to get going but typically your kefir grain will have your kefir ready in about 24 hours.
The longer you leave the kefir to ferment the stronger, more acidic the flavour will be. If you end up leaving the kefir to ferment for a week or longer, you may end up killing the kefir grain.
I would recommend removing your kefir after 24 hours, straining out the kefir grain and using the kefir.
From time to time you can give the jar a little shake if you’d like to help activate the fermentation process.
From there all you need to do is put the kefir grain back in the mason jar add more fresh milk and repeat.
Kefir grains are fairly resilient and hardy and will grow fairly quickly.
If you want to slow down or stop production for a few days because you have too much kefir, you can put the mason jar with the kefir grain in the fridge for a while.
This will slow the fermentation process and put the kefir grain in a semi-dormant state until you are ready to go back to producing new batches of kefir every 24 hours or so.
To store your kefir grain in this way, replace the milk in the mason jar with fresh milk, seal the jar up and then place it in the fridge. It should last up to 3 months in this way.
If you’d rather dry your kefir grain, you can take it out of the kefir mixture and place it in a cloth at room temperature to air dry. This usually takes 3-4 days.
Once dry your kefir grain can last for many months. Some people even say years.
When you’re ready to begin kefir production, simply add the kefir grain to milk and start the process all over.
It may take a few batches of kefir before the kefir grain is fully revived and producing kefir in the same way it was before you put it in storage.
But that’s all there is to making kefir.
As you can see it’s really easy to do and it isn’t much maintenance when it comes to producing such an amazing probiotic food source.
If you want to learn about the health benefits of kefir, you can see my article here, or you can jump straight into my kefir smoothy recipe here.