I am sure you have all heard of Actimel. But have you heard of its much healthier and taster origins ? Namely – Kefir grains.
I actually had kefir grains in my kitchen before Actimel was readily available ! A friend of mine, knowing that I love yoghurt, asked if I wanted some, not actually knowing what I was getting, but trusting my friend – I said yes …. The rest as they say is history.
Kefir grains are a probiotic culture. A healthy fermenting bacteria that look a bit like overcooked cauliflower! But if you leave them in milk for 24 hours, they will turn that milk into a sublime, nutrient rich yoghurt drink which is called Kefir.
This now healthy yoghurt drink will, very literally, re-balance your intestinal flora! But the benefits of Kefir don’t stop there. As it rebalances the bacteria within your body it so re-aligns your entire system :
- Kefir has over thirty friendly bacteria
- Aids digestion problems
- Can reduce or eliminate allergies
- Treats yeast infections very effectively
- It is used to replenish the body with good bacteria after antibiotic use
- Aids lactose intolerance
- Helps in healing ulcers
- It is recommended post-surgery to aid in healing
- Its Delicious !
And so on and so on ….. Essentially drinking Kefir every day helps to promote a more relaxed and effective body. Here is one of the best resources on the “in and outs” of Kefirs wholesome goodness.
So where does this stuff come from, and more importantly, where can you get it ?
If you are not lucky enough to know someone who can gift you some, then you can purchase it on Ebay, just search for Kefir Grains.
Kefir grains go back millennia. Originating in Asia. I believe there are both Tibetan grains, and Arabic grains. It is said that the first kefir grains were discovered in leather travel bags used to transport milk. The belief is that as the leather rubbed together with the milk the kefir grains were born … ? In ancient times Kefir was only drunk by the upper classes too. The workers and slaves were deemed unworthy of such a medicinal drink !
There is even a story about a Russian king who wanted kefir so badly he dispatched one of his daughters to steal some of these miracle grains. Off she popped to the Caucasus Mountains where Kefir was common place among the wealthy and powerful. Apparently she did return to her father, with kefir grains, after a number of years however …. !
Anyway, thankfully times have changed, and we can purchase kefir through modern means ! (no need to sell your daughters, or wander long distances with leather bags full of milk!)
The method of making kefir is very simple too. Just leave the grains in milk (any type of milk) for 24 hours. Then strain the grains from the liquid, and drink ! Then repeat the process.
There are a few considerations :
- The grains must sit in the milk for 24 hours before the milk turns into Kefir
- Never touch the kefir grains with metal, so you need to find a plastic sieve – see here
- The grains grow, doubling in size every 2 weeks or so, gift some to your friends, or pop some in the freezer.
- The grains are temperature sensitive – fast growing in hot weather, slower in cold.
- Never wash them in water, the chlorine will kill them.
- No they are not related to the Gremlin !
I honestly can’t tell you how much I love my Kefir, it is part of my morning ritual. It has aided in my recuperation from illnesses, and it just tastes so damn good ! I even travel with it if I am going to be away for more that a few days … I use a seal-able plastic container though … personally I`m not fond of leather wear for transporting milk …