Kefir, how do you make it?
It is quite simple and a lot of fun. There are two ways to make kefir. One with grains that reproduce and will last a life time (if you don’t kill them with heat or starve them by not feeding them.) Or you can purchase kefir culture packages. You get 6 packages that makes 42 gallons of kefir. Instructions for this kind of kefir is inside the packages. This explanation is for kefir using kefir grains.
You have to find or purchase kefir grains. Here are some resources.
For culturing 1 to 2 cups of kefir
1-2 tablespoons of Kefir grains.
(3 to 4-cup) glass jar with lid or cover with plastic wrap I use a quart measuring jar.
Preferably a non-metal strainer and spoon
A non-metal container with wide mouth for straining and storing the kefir I like glass.
1 to 2 cups of fresh milk (Most milk-types are acceptable, including whole milk, fat-reduced, non-fat, pasteurized and homogenized. Although I mostly enjoy fresh raw whole cow’s milk to culture kefir)
Place fresh kefir grains in a glass jar and fill the jar with fresh milk (best not to fill jar more than 2/3 – 3/4 full)
Place a lid on the jar or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for approx. 24 hours, or until the milk has thickened or has become sour to your liking (designate a spot for kefir fermentation in a cupboard or away from direct sunlight)
Pour the contents into a non-metal strainer or strain with slotted spoon.( I use a plastic slotted spoon) and strain the kefir into a container to separate the grains from the liquid kefir. What you’ve strained is kefir ready for consumption or you can put it into the fridge for later.
Wash the jar then place the kefir grains from the strainer back into the washed jar. [Do not add kefir grains to a jar which is hot from washing!] Then add fresh milk.
The whole process is simply repeated for the next batch.
Storing Your Kefir on Vacation.
If you don’t want to make new, kefir and want to store it, place it in at least 2 cups of milk remembering that if you have 1 Tbsp of grains to 1 cup of milk rule and adding a little more. I like to store mine in at least 3 cups of milk making sure that they have plenty of food to eat. Then you place this in the refrigerator. This will last for one week and then if you want to do it longer drain the milk and add new milk after 1 week. If you are going to be gone longer than a week double the milk you would add. It eats the lactose (milk sugar ) out of the milk and you want to be sure it has plenty to eat and won’t die. It is a living colony and needs food just as you do.
Second Ferment Your Kefir.
This is what I do on a regular basis. It taste better, less sour and the B vitamins sky-rocket. Once you try this you won’t go back to making it without 2nd fermenting. So Good!!
So here is what you do. It is super easy. After you make your kefir normally ( see above) and take the grains out, you place your kefir in a clamp down jar. Then you take an organic lemon or orange. If you don’t have an organic one you can make it chemical free by placing your orange or lemon in boiling water for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water. Then you take a vegetable peeler and peel you fruit skin in strips and place it in your jar and clamp the lid down. Leave it on your counter for half a day to a whole day. Then place in refrigerator and enjoy. It is so yummy it is lighter and creamy and flavored with your lemon or orange. It has a little more carbonation and the taste is worth the extra half a day and it is better for you. A lot of people I know will leave their grains and ferment their kefir for days. Although this is not a bad thing it makes for super sour kefir. You hardly want to drink it, it is so sourer. Kefir is meant to be enjoyed and the better it taste the more you will drink it.
Things I have second fermented my kefir with are; lemon or orange peel, whole strawberries, chia tea bag, cinnamon stick, and vanilla extract. I take the item out after the second ferment and store the flavored kefir in the fridge.
Blueberry Banana Kefir Smoothie
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of kefir
2 pcks stevia or your choice of sweetener
Blend until smooth, then pour in a pitcher.
1 cup of ice
1 cup kefir
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 pcks stevia or your choice of sweetener
Blend until smooth, then pour in a pitcher.Then take a tall glass and pour at the same time from both pitchers into the glass.This will create the two-sided drink. Kids love this!