One of the most valuable commodities that nature has to offer is kefir. Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever tried it? If not, you really should!!!
Kefir offers us priceless microbes that are valuable for our diet. The word kefir seems to come from a Caucasus dialect and most probably means “good mood after food” or “pleated drink” coming from the Persian word KEF (pleat).
What exactly is Kefir?
The beverage Kefir is essentially the combination of a mixture of microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) and cow or goat milk but also soy or rice milk. What is created is a mixture which is subject to fermentation and acquires an especially characteristic taste since it contains carbon dioxide and ethanol in small quantities of course.
Are they just microorganisms?
Kefir is considered a complete food which offers us proteins, fat and a little bit of lactose. So, all of you that are possibly lactose intolerant can probably consume Kefir. This is because the microorganisms actually “eat” the lactose! It also offers a good amount of calcium and magnesium as well as a generous amount of tryptophan (amino acid) which help keep us calm since they assist our central nervous system. There is of course no food on earth that can help cure all diseases… Our nutritionist adds that recently the European Agency for Food Safety took a negative position on the fact that Kefir strengthens our immune system.
How can I make kefir?
Kefir can be made very easily at home if you add ½ a teaspoon of kefir grains to a liter of milk. Of course you can make kefir with soy milk, almond milk or fruit juices. All you have to do is seal it in an airtight jar and allow the mixture to ferment for 24 hours. When it is ready, drain it through a strainer. You can drink the liquid drained and the kefir grains left in the strainer can be reused.
Can everyone drink Kefir?
Basically, you can think of Kefir as milk that is low in lactose. So people who for instance have diabetes could consume Kefir as part of a balanced diet along with physical activity. We should always be careful of consuming anything we don’t normally consume during pregnancy. Always ask your dietician or your doctor so that to make sure you can consume kefir and in what quantities (in any case the concentration of ethanol, meaning alcohol, is very small).
Recipes with Kefir :
Kefir can be used in practically any recipe that calls for milk. It can add a special rich taste to ice cream, cakes and desserts. It can also complete dishes that would traditionally be enriched with heavy cream. Of course I would like for you to keep in mind that drinking a glass of cold Kefir on its own is a healthy, enjoyable and flavorful beverage that I highly suggest!
This article was written along with Kitchen Lab’s Dietician/Nutritionist Christo Papavaggeli.