Kefir is a star in the realm of superfoods. Never tried it? Think drinkable yogurt but with many times more nutrients. Although it might seem like a new thing on the superfood scene, it's actually been around for a long time, thought to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains many centuries ago. If you don't know about this rich, creamy treat, then read on.
More and more people are discovering that kefir is one of the easiest, most affordable and delicious ways of boosting your immune system. For one thing, it's a powerhouse of probiotics. They're the good organisms that are essential to our health, the ones that help us fight off dangerous infections. They proliferate everywhere inside our bodies and in the world around us. But with the widespread use of antibiotics, hand sanitizers and a multitude of other practices meant to keep us healthy by reducing harmful bacteria, we've actually been removing many of the body's own best defenses and have created a very unhealthy problem. Because antibiotics and disinfectants work against both the good and the bad bacteria, the natural balance of our microscopic universe is disrupted and we become vulnerable to resistant strains, commonly known as "superbugs."
We can help our systems restore this balance by including probiotic-rich foods in our diet. Kefir is an excellent source, containing multiple strains of live cultures and substantial amounts of protein, calcium and magnesium as well. Even the store-bought brands have more live cultures than yogurt, but the probiotics really increase with the kefir you make at home. It's simple and quick. Anyone can do it! Here's the process;
1) Get some kefir "grains," which aren't really grains at all but a gelatinous rubber-like culture that looks something like cottage cheese. You can get them from many sources online, or get them directly from another homemade kefir enthusiast. The grains multiply rapidly, so you will soon have extra to share as well.
2) These "grains" are simply placed in a container of milk, about one tablespoon per cup. Any kind of milk will do, including raw or pasteurized cow, sheep or goat's milk. Cover and leave at room temperature for 24-48 hours until it becomes thick and slightly tangy.
3) Pour through a strainer (plastic is best) to remove the grains, which are at that point added to more milk for the next batch. What remains is the plain kefir, rich and creamy and a bit more liquid than yogurt, but similar in taste.
4) Drink it as-is--or...
5) To add flavor and variety, you can add fruit of any kind, vanilla or almond extracts, slices of citrus peel, honey, cinnamon. The possibilities are endless. Leave the flavored kefir at room temperature for 4-6 hours for a "second culture," which will allow the textures and added flavors to assimilate and the nutrients to skyrocket! Chill in the refrigerator to enjoy one of the world's most nutritious and delightful beverages.