(photo credit for above image: draxe.com)
Step by Step for culturing Kefir at home.
It’s been a while since I put out a new post! We are (still) in the process of relocating from the Bay Area to the Big Island of Hawaii… and are currently in a two room apt. with no kitchen. Don’t feel too bad for me, we found a home and will be in it just in time for our Elf of the Shelf to visit! Living without a kitchen has challenged me to get creative with how I nourish myself, my in-utero baby, and those 4 men in my life. It’s been cool to strip food back to basics and really ask , ‘ what basic nutrients do we NEED in the day, in order to grow a baby (me) and see my boys brains function at school ‘.
~ a Leafy Green
~ an Orange colored Vegetable
~ vitmans and minerals from Berries etc
~ Fats – que the Avocado Toast & Bulletproof coffee
~ a few complex carbs
We’ve been doing lots of smoothies, they’re such a tool for ‘hiding’ superfoods!
For the past several years I’ve become increasingly aware of how central a healthy ‘gut’ ( digestive system) is to our overall health. Supporting our Gut Health in turn supports our emotional and physical health in powerful ways. Did you know that most Autoimmune diseases, many behavioral disorders in children, skin issues, sleep issues etc are all linked to digestive issues? And as a pregnant mama OUR Gut Health is passed onto our unborn babies. So if I can have the healthiest Gut possible during pregnancy I set my baby up for better overall health as they grow. Pretty wild huh?
One key way I boost my Gut Health is through Probiotics such as Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and Kefir.
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a probiotic dairy culture that tastes similar to yoghurt. It can also be made with coconut milk or coconut water, and even fruit juice or sweetened water. It carries over 25 active life cultures, compared to the 4-5 typically carried in yoghurt. For an in depth explanation of the benefits of Kefir, I highly recommend this article by Dr.Axe.
Pictured below I’ll try to walk you through the step by step ‘how to’ for making your own kefir at home:
1. The Kefir ‘grains’. These little buddies are tough! This is the ‘culture’ that transforms milk into Kefir, and they are practically indestructible. In order to make your own you will need to get some starter grains, just like you would with sourdough bread or Kombucha etc. Check Craigs list or your local health food store/farmers market.
2. Place the grains in a jar and cover with milk. Cover with a breathable cloth, or coffee filter as I did today! Leave out on the counter at room temperature for 24-48 hrs ( depending on how warm your home is). This is when the little ‘grains’ are doing their work and culturing the milk.
3. Using the newly made Kefir: After 1-2 days your kefir will be cultured and ready to use. The whey may have separated a bit and it will look lumpy and weird. Don’t be freaked out… this is a living culture we’re dealing with! Simply get a plastic ( metal should not come in contact with the kefir grains, as it weakens their ability to multiply and culture) strainer or colander with small holes and place it directly over your blender – or whatever you will be putting your kefir in.
I like straining it directly over the blender for easy smoothie making.
4. The Kefir will strain through the holes, separating from the grains.
5. You will probably need to use a wooden spoon to stir the grains around and gently encourage the kefir to move through the colander.
6. The Kefir liquid will look like this once separated from the grains.
7. And your grains will look like this, you will see that there is still Kefir clustered around the grains. That’s totally fine and helps keep the fermentation moving along quickly. At this point you can place the ‘grains’ back in your jar and cover again with milk or coconut milk etc. Those cycle begins again!
Note: After you have run though several 1-2 day cycles of straining your Kefir then re-covering it with milk etc. you will see the grains begin to multiply in number. Share them with a friend, or move your Kefir to a larger jar and brew a larger amount.