What happens after I start brewing my own kombucha? I, of course, must learn more. What else can I ferment? Are there other weird probiotics I can make myself? Of course there are! Kefir! My good friend Angela was gracious enough to gift me my first kefir grains to get started. And for the last 6 weeks, my evenings have been definitely more interesting, straining and drinking this stuff.
What is kefir? (key-fur) It’s basically fermented milk that has way more probiotic content than that container of Fage staring at you from the fluorescent interior of your fridge. It’s way easier to produce than kombucha — well, at least less room for error — and can provide you daily happy belly, leading to increased nutrient assimilation and happier life! :) No, kefir isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Quite honestly, it’s smelly…with “effervescent” being the most appropriate adjective I can label it.
What You Need
Mesh strainer (non metal)
Plastic Lids for Ball Jars
What You Do
You’ll need to start with about a Tablespoon of kefir grains. Add your grains to a clean, empty Ball jar. Add 8oz of milk to the jar. In my experience, 2% organic milk works best. 1% seems to end up too watery (you’ll see the separation after the first ferment), and I’ve even tried lactose free milk (worked, but not as “creamy” as when I used the 2%). Close your jar using a plastic lid, and place in a dark place (hall closet works great!) for 12-24 hours. When the time comes, grab an empty Ball jar and your strainer/wooden spoon. Pour your newly fermented milk through the mesh strainer into a fresh jar, then use your wooden spoon to help the process. You should be left with the kefir grains in the strainer. Cover the jar with a plastic lid, then bring it back to the closet for another day or so for a second fermentation. Rinse out your used jar, place your grains back in, and add more milk to start the process all over! After your second fermentation is complete (12-24 hours after you strained it)…you’re good to go! My go-to method of consumption is NOT to have it on its own. :) Try tossing it in the Vitamix with frozen blueberries, a scoop of protein, and a scoop of TJ greens supplement….and enjoy delicious probiotic without the funk.
If you’re lactose sensitive, this stuff is still great for you! Basically, the kefir grains eat up the sugar (lactose) to stay alive and do their job. Therefore, by the time it has fermented, the lactose content is significantly reduced, and shouldn’t give you any tummy problems! #win
You'll notice that after about a week or so, your Tbsp of grains has multiplied! This is good news. It means they're healthy! This also means you either need to double your production, or give some away to a buddy! Or, just toss them in a smoothie - they're fine to consume too. :)