.....you know, because I'm growing bacteria in my closet.
I have to laugh at myself, because BOY does this blog have major ADD.
A post with ice cream yesterday (cream! sugar! egg yolks!), and a post on kefir (probably one of the most beneficial things you could put into your body) today.
So I'm a little all over the place......oh well.
What is kefir anyway?
Well it's fermented milk.....and simply put, it's like yogurt on steroids.
As you probably know, yogurt contains millions of tiny little probiotics--bacteria that is GOOD for you, and that your body needs to live in peace and harmony.
Take it from someone who knows the benefits of probiotics- I have been on ANTIbiotics on and off for the last 3 years (and we are talking some super human doses of antibiotics), and let me tell you--that stuff messes you up.
So I have always taken large amounts of probiotics in the pill form, we are yogurt lovers around here (sometimes I even make my own), but it was just these last few months that I've discovered the endless list of benefits that kefir provides.
Kefir contains different strains of bacteria than yogurt does--and much more of it.
It also contains yeast cultures, which your body also needs to thrive.
Just a few of the many benefits:
-it provides healthy bacteria and yeast, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and complete proteins that your body just loves.
-it helps build up your immune system (super important for me since I've been dealing with Lyme!), but this can benefit everyone!
And I found THIS amazing list of benefits (so I think it basically helps with just about everything. I wonder if it can fix the hole in the o-zone?)
Making it is very (very!) simple.
The frist thing you have to do it find your kefir grains.
It's easiest if you can find someone who is making their kefir(this is what I did)--the grains grow with each batch (are you totally weirded out yet?) so if you're making it you will always have grains to spare.
If not, I know there are places online that you can order them from....just let google be your guide.
This is what the grains look like:
*IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THE GRAINS DON'T COME IN CONTACT WITH METAL.
NO METAL UTENSILS/STRAINER*
All you do is simply add your grains (a few TBS) to a clean jar and fill it with milk (see below).
Cover with a paper towel so it can "breathe" (still weird) and secure with a rubber band.
Find a room temperature place where it can sit undisturbed so it can work it's bacterial magic.
I put mine on a top shelf in the cupboard.
My first batch took about 3 days--the grains had been dormant in water (they don't do anything unless they are in milk) for a while, so it took them a bit to get going.
My next batch took a little over 24 hours (this is the norm)
You can add a little more time if you want it a bit more sour.
So how do you know when it's done?
It's thicker than milk, but not as thick as yogurt.
Your grains will have grown (they'll be on top), and well, you can smell it.
Let's not lie, it smells pretty sour.
Now you're going to pour it through a strainer (remember no metal) to catch the grains, and then pour your kefir into a pitcher and refrigerate.
You can use your grains to start your next batch, or put them into a jar of water to keep them dormant until you need them again.
So what do you do with this stuff?
I've heard that some people drink it plain.....but I am not going to ask you to do that.
For the last 3 months we've become smoothie addicts!
This stuff blends perfectly in with fruit and veggies so it tastes delicious, and you get all the awesome health benefits of the kefir.
We have a smoothie for breakfast, or after school, every single day.
Here is one of the many combinations we like:
Mixed Berry and Kefir Smoothie
(amounts are estimates.....really I'm just dumping stuff in)
makes 3-4 smoothies
add to blender:
2 cups frozen mixed berries
1-2 cup kefir, depending on how thick you like your smoothies
2-3 mandarin oranges (or 1 orange, or o.j.)
small handful raw rolled oats
small handful almonds
small handful ground flax seed
cup of chopped spinach/kale
more on kefir
and a good step by step photo tutorial here
I found several websites getting very technical about exact amounts of milk, temperatures, etc, but mine turned out just fine following these very basic instructions from my sis-in-law, who gave me the grains.
If this is something you are even a little bit interested--please give it a try!
Without getting into all the gory details, let me just promise you that my tummy has never been happier after we've added this to our daily diet.
If you are interested in kefir, but don't feel like being the weirdo who makes it in her closet, you can buy kefir in health food stores.....but that's not as fun, is it?
I dare you to try it.
ps. I'm curious to know what you put in your smoothies?!