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KEFIR: THE SUPER-HEALTHY YOGHURT DRINK YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME

If you’re up to speed with all the latest health food news, chances are you’ll already have heard of kefir—a fermented, yoghurt-like drink, like those branded probiotic drinks you can buy in your local supermarket, that originated in eastern Europe and the Middle East. But if you haven’t heard of kefir before, it’s well worth knowing about: not only does it contain a pretty much unbeatable mix of protein, nutrients and beneficial bacteria, but it’s really cheap and easy to make and store at home.

WHAT IS KEFIR?

First things first: drinkable kefir is made by mixing kefir “grains” (which are actually a living yeast culture, that looks a bit like cooked cauliflower on its own) into fresh milk and leaving it ferment. As the grains do their work, they break down the lactose sugar that’s naturally found in milk to produce a light, slightly foamy drink similar to a thin yoghurt, that’s chock-full of all the kind of things that are hugely beneficial to your diet and gut health. No wonder that the name kefir comes from a Turkish word literally meaning “feeling good”!

 

 JUST HOW GOOD IS IT?

Kefir contains more complex probiotic microorganisms (that’s those really healthy bacteria that everyone’s talking about) than ordinary yoghurt and similar probiotic products. These have been proven to have massive benefits to the health of your gut and your body as a whole, while the kefir itself is a relatively low-calorie and low-fat source of protein, vitamins B2, B12 and D, and a mix of much-needed dietary minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Studies have also begun to show that kefir might help to treat long-term digestive problems like IBS, and could even help to strengthen bones and keep conditions like osteoporosis at bay. Others have even suggested that it can help to alleviate allergies and conditions like asthma, and might even have cancer-fighting properties. Although a lot of this research is still relatively new, it really does look like kefir is becoming a hot new superfood—and what’s more, it’s a superfood you can make at home.

MAKE YOUR OWN KEFIR

If you’ve been convinced to try kefir for yourself, you’ll only need a few bits and pieces to get started, and once it’s up and running, you’ll pretty much have a permanent supply sitting in your fridge.

making kefir making kefir

First of all you’ll need to track down some of those kefir grains. They’re really easy to find and buy online, or else you can pick up a packet in your local health food shop.

These grains will need “activating”, which basically means placing them into a jar of fresh milk, covering it a breathable led (like a piece of kitchen towel, or a coffee filter), and leaving it somewhere at room temperate for around 24 hours until the mixture starts to culture and ferment. If the room is too warm or too cold, or if you place it in the fridge, the grains will still culture but remember it will take a bit longer than normal—just keep an eye on it and let it do its thing.

making kefir drinking kefir

 

But once the kefir has fermented and the milk has thickened, it’s ready to go. It’s that easy!

Use a plastic or fabric strainer to remove the swollen kefir grains from the liquid. (Avoid using metal utensils if you can, as they can react with the acids in the culture!) The liquid that’s left over is the fresh kefir, and is ready to drink straight away. As for the kefir grains, just tip them back into some more fresh milk and you’re good to go again!

Store your kefir in the fridge to keep it fresh, and just keep repeating this process to have a ready supply of this delicious superfood every day!

 

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