Lots of people are grossed out by cultured foods. I remember once having a coworker that I shared an office with start getting into kefir because it helped his son with Downs Syndrome. He bought it from the store but I was still grossed out, not even knowing how it was made.
I’ve read blogs for ages of people who made Kombucha and I never dreamed of making it myself because…gross.
I never had the same qualms with cultured veggies fortunately and have made sauerkraut plenty of times over the past few years.
Once a friend gave me water kefir grains and I accidentally killed them.
Anyway, all that to say, I hope I can write a bit and make a few people less grossed out by cultured foods because trust me, it’s worth it.
I actually bought milk kefir grains from Amazon. Here’s the link if you’re interested
They sent me a half teaspoon of live grains and I plopped them right into a cup of milk. They have to adjust and I was warned it would take about a week, changing the milk every twenty four hours. It took about five days for the grains to begin culturing the milk. However, even during that week, they grew!
Once you have living grains the process is really quite simple. First you put your grains in a glass container, like a mason jar. Pour milk over them.
They should float because of the carbon dioxide they emit while culturing. If they sink they might not be warmed up (if you stored them in the fridge for a bit), or they may be dormant.
Cover with a paper towel or cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band. After twenty four hours your kefir should be done. It will be thicker than milk and possibly partially separated. The grains will likely be very bubbly at the top.
Depending on how warm the weather is, you might have significant separation.
I simply scoop off the grains from the top with a wooden spoon (grains do NOT like metal), and put them in a new jar with milk. If you’re not ready to make another batch put your grains in a small jar with milk and refrigerate. If you’re on a rotation where you use a quart of kefir every two days, you can put your grains in a new quart with milk to culture.
This is what your grains will look like once you remove them. Underneath the milk they’re kind of rubbery feeling and have a slightly yellow, translucent, tint.
Don’t worry about rinsing your grains. After you remove your grains go ahead and put a lid on kefir without the grains and let it sit for another day. This increases the bacterial (probiotic) content, lowers the lactose content even further, and you can also add some fun flavors like lemon zest if you like.
At this point, I don’t like drinking kefir. Probably because I have never liked milk and had allergic reactions most of my childhood. However, I do drink smoothies daily and so I add a cup or two of kefir to my smoothies that I share with Shane and have reaped many benefits in a short amount of time.
Note, if you are lactose intolerant, kefir will not bother you as the grains (which are bacterial colonies), consume the lactose and produce the probiotics.
If you leave your kefir out for even longer the separation will be so complete you can spoon off the top portion and use the whey for a culture starter for vegetables or also in your smoothies. What you spoon off will be thick, almost like ricotta cheese. I made a dip yesterday and it was quite irresistible!
The benefits of milk kefir are abundant. Also, if you’re like me and want the benefits of coconut, you can also use coconut milk or even almond milk. They won’t have the same thickness because they don’t have the casein protein.
Because our body’s immune system is largely a part of the gut, kefir can have amazing results. If your immune system is working fabulously you will truly be able to enjoy living. The results I’ve personally had are really quite fantastic. I was getting headaches daily, had irregular digestion, depression and more. Now my headaches are gone, my digestive system works, my mood is better, my energy is better despite not getting any sleep and I feel generally much better.
I should note that I personally avoid animal proteins in general as much as I can and so coconut kefir is a great alternative. If you’re fighting candida I suggest doing coconut kefir because it contains Caprylic Acid which destroys helps destroy yeast cells.
Kefir grains love lactose sugars most so if you do use coconut milk you’ll need to occasionally make cows milk kefir to feed them. I alternate and still see the great results.
Anyway, it’s not gross, I now see. It’s fresh, refreshing, transformative and clean. I hope you consider giving it a try.