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DaughterNature
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Here is some information on Kefir Grains. I presented this information at a workshop at my local farmer’s market. Anyone who as something to add is welcome!

Kefir Milk Grains

What?
Milk kefir grains have a texture similar to that of cottage cheese. They feed off lactose in milk from cows, goats, sheep, coconut or soy. The grains consist of beneficial yeast and bacteria that live in harmony with one another.

How?
To begin, place kefir grains in a clean glass jar with about 10 times as much milk as you have grains. Cover the jar with a material that permits airflow but does not allow bugs to get in. This can be a paper towel, clean hair net, or an unused coffee filter. Lastly secure the cloth top with a rubber band. Store the fermenting kefir grains and their fresh batch of milk on a counter top and out of direct sunlight. The temperature should be between 75-78˚F. Let the process occur for at least 24 hours. If the room temperature is higher than 78˚F then the kefir will take less time to culture. If the room is cooler than 75˚F then the kefir will take longer than 24 hours to culture. To strain the fermented kefir milk, remove the top and pour the milk into a strainer. This utensil should allow the milky liquid to poor through while capturing the kefir grains. Place the grains back in a glass jar with fresh milk and repeat the process again for another 24 hours.

Store the strained kefir milk in the refrigerator and use it within a week for best results.

When?
Kefir can be produced year-round in your own kitchen.
Just like any other food, kefir should be eaten in small amounts to start. Start with 4-ounce servings. Once you feel comfortable, you can indulge in larger amounts.

Where?
Kefir grains are originally from the Caucasus Mountains between Russia and Georgia. These grains should never need to be repurchased, lasting indefinitely as long as they receive their daily supply of lactose milk. Kefir grains can culture in coconut milk and some nut milks. However, the grains should experience a monthly “maintenance feed” of cow or goat milk. This means that if you do not plan on using animal milk regularly then you should ensure the health of your grains by feeding them animal milk at least once a month or else the grains can die slowly.

Who?
People who feel discomfort due to an inner imbalance can benefit from drinking kefir milk. Constipation, yeast infection, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowl syndrome are just a few afflictions that can be remedied with the help of kefir consumption accompanied with a wholesome diet of natural foods.

Antibiotics and birth control pills are two examples of prescription medications that tend to throw the body’s inner ecosystem out of whack by allowing the harmful gut flora to prosper. A common example of a bodily reaction is a yeast infection. Regular doses of kefir naturally helps controls the imbalance by keeping harmful yeasts in check.

Why?
Kefir is full of the healthy bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract and live in symbiosis with your digestive system.

Kefir is surprisingly easy to digest. The grains use the lactose in milk to produce their food. The amount of lactose left in the fermented milk after 24 hours is significantly lower. As a result, the milk settles well even on an empty stomach!

Interested in buying kefir?
Beware of companies who wish to sell you products that do not reproduce grains. The only two investments in kefir should be the initial cost of pure grains and the price of milk to continue feeding them.

What do I do when I produce too much kefir for myself?
Kefir grains multiply over time, and you may find that you have a surplus. Some people enjoy making cheese with the kefir. The grains themselves can be eaten for an even higher concentration of probiotics.

http://www.kefir.net/
http://www.kefirlady.com/