Kefir is a culture which grows in milk, with a unique grain-like structure. The grains are gelatinous and clump together to form a structure which resembles cauliflower. As ferments go, this one is very easy. You keep it in a glass jar, with milk, and each day you give it new milk, while you drink the cultured milk. For precise instructions on doing this see here. You can use cow's or goat's milk. Since this is a fermented yoghurt drink, in theory it is suitable for those with dairy intolerances, as it is pre-digested. However, it did not suit my cow's milk protein intolerant daughter, and even though I am only mildly dairy intolerant I had problems with it too. That said, I will try it again in time, maybe with raw milk. On the other hand, my other daughter, aged five, is thriving on it. She has had one cold all winter, and is very calm and relaxed. We passed some onto my mother who had a lot of digestive problems following gallbladder surgery, and she also finding it very beneficial. She has cultured it using organic cows milk, while I have been using goats milk, and it does seem that her cultures grow faster and stronger. However, hers have been continuously cultured whereas ours have been refrigerated several times. That is a great thing about kefir, if you need to take a break from it, you can put it in the fridge for up to a week. If you need a longer break, you can dry out the grains and store them.
What does kefir taste like? It has a faintly beery flavour, stronger than natural yoghurt. You can make a smoothie with it if the taste doesn't thrill, or add sugar free jam. It has more of a drinking consistency after 24 hours fermenting, for a thicker yoghurt you can leave it for 48 hours. Kefir grains multiply over time so that when there are extra ones you can pass them onto friends or family. I'm definately giving it a thumbs up for palatability and ease of preparation. See below for links to useful resources, and to people who know a lot more about the world of fermenting than I do.
April Danann is a Medical Intuitive, Clinical Nutritionist, and practitioner of Energy Medicine. She is an fermenting expert, and produces her own line of natural food and health products which are available through her Rebel Foods Market Stall and online. It was April who first introduced me to the idea of fermenting at home, or rather convinced me that it was worth the effort! See http://angelfiles-thetruthisinhere.blogspot.ie/
Melissa Gillan very kindly gave me the cultures for Kefir and Kombucha. Her blog is well worth a look not only for would be fermenters, but also for all kinds of creativity in the kitchen and garden and for crafting inspiration. See https://thearanartisan.com/
To find help and to share fermenting resources you can join a facebook group. Here are two I've found very helpful:
Fermentation Nation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/645816692115710/?fref=ts
Sharing Starter Cultures Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/irishkefirgrainssharing/
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