Getting More From Your Kefir
Second Ferment Your Kefir
Many years ago I discovered a way to make kefir not only taste better but also increase the nutrients in it. It is the only way that I make my kefir now because it is so delicious. The process is called "second fermenting." I have to admit that the reason I second fermented my kefir is that it tasted so much better.
Nutrients and vitamins will skyrocket!
Second-fermented kefir will have more nutrients and the vitamins will skyrocket! This is due to the prebiotics in the added fruits or vegetables. When you add a new fuel source for the microbes in kefir, they begin to grow and multiply which increases all the vitamins and especially the folic acid, but it is the taste that makes me do it again and again. It takes away the super-sharp sourness and mellows out the flavors. Everybody I have taught to second ferment has continued to do so because it tastes so superior to regular kefir. If you second ferment with a lemon or orange peel, or a million other foods, it will flavor the kefir and make it taste unique and delicious. I got this information from the kefir guru, Dom, who resides in the beautiful land of Australia. When it comes to kefir, he is the man. Nobody knows more about kefir than Dom. I even bought grains from him many years ago and still use them to this day. He said that second fermenting kefir takes away some of the sourness. It also increases certain B vitamins, like folic acid, and makes the calcium and magnesium more bioavailable which means that your body can take it in and use it immediately. Basically, it is predigested and loaded with enzymes.
- Make your kefir using the basic technique, removing the grains afterward.
- Place the kefir in a jar with a lid.
- Take the prebiotic item you want to ferment with (choose from items below or experiment) and place it in your jar with your kefir. Remember, less is more. Too much fruit can cause your kefir to separate and taste bitter. One small peel of a lemon or one slice of fruit is plenty for your jar. You can serve it with extra fruit once it's done second fermenting.
- Leave the jar on your counter for 1 to 4 hours or (up to a half-day), then place the kefir in your refrigerator. It is now ready to eat and enjoy. If the kefir separates into whey a little this is fine. If you want less separation, then ferment for only an hour or two and then place it in the fridge to slowly ferment a bit longer.
- I leave the fruit in the jar and just keep adding kefir to it until it starts to get soft and begins to fall apart, then I will add fresh fruit and second ferment again.
This kefir, flavored with lemon or orange, is so yummy. It is lighter and creamier than kefir made with the basic recipe and has a little more carbonation. The taste is worth the extra fermenting and the nutrients skyrocket.
A lot of people I know will ferment kefir for long periods, leaving their grains in the kefir for days. Although this is not a bad thing, it makes for super sour kefir and can diminish the probiotics. As the microbes run out of food they can die, so longer is not always better unless you're giving them another food source as accomplished by second fermenting.
There are lots of ways to second ferment your kefir. Here are some of the things I have used.
Lemon peel was the first thing I used to second ferment my kefir. The taste was spectacular and I never looked back. I really recommend just using the lemon peel, about a 6 inch strip for a quart of kefir is perfect. Using the whole fruit can give an overpowering flavor and the lemon peel has a more concentrated lemon flavor and fragrance when compared to the juice of the lemon.
Cut up a strawberry, or leave it whole, and add it to your kefir. I leave my fruit in my kefir and will add more kefir to the jar and let it keep eating the sugars out of the fruit. You can add any kind of berries to your kefir and change the flavor. Berries are high in vitamin C and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. You can even add dried strawberries for a yummy flavor too.
A combination of oranges and orange peel is one of my favorite ways to flavor my kefir. It has the most wonderful flavor and the peel of the orange tastes as good as using a slice of orange. Don't use too much orange, it will make the kefir separate into whey and curds. One small slice of an orange or a 6 inch strip of the peel is perfect for a quart of kefir. Keep the orange slice or peel in the jar and add more kefir to it. Kefir stays preserved in your fridge for months due to the powerful microbes!
Cinnamon Spice Tea Bag
I am crazy about this cinnamon spice tea. It has orange peel and cloves and the taste is fantastic. Hands down my favorite tea. I love placing a bag in my kefir around the holidays for an extra festive taste. Place a Cinnamon Spice tea bag in your kefir and let it ferment. You can taste it and see if you like it and then you can remove the tea bag and store in the refrigerator or eat and enjoy right away.
Prebio Plus is a prebiotic that is food for good bacteria and makes your good bacteria grow like crazy. It also give you and your kefir tons of food and I think it makes the kefir taste better. It will help to make your kefir creamier, especially if it's separating into whey and curds. Add a scoop of Prebio Plus to your kefir and let it ferment and it even works if you just add a scoop and place it in the fridge.
Dates and Vanilla
Add a date and a splash of vanilla to your kefir and let it ferment. I can even teach you to make your own vanilla with just two ingredients. Only use one date per quart, or even better - two quarts of kefir. Dates have lots of sugars and they will feed your kefir like crazy. You'll love the flavor and dates can last a long time in your kefir so as you drink some kefir add some more to the jar and place in the fridge to let it keep fermenting slowly.