When I finished chemotherapy last April I began taking probiotics tablets to help with restoring my body to balanced good health. Chemotherapy is rough on your digestive system and I felt that a couple of bottles of probiotics tablets probably wouldn’t be enough. Fermented foods are frequently mentioned as a way to bring helpful bacteria to your gut – eating sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir. You can buy a product called Yakult in the dairy case here but it is non-organic and although many people use and love it, I wasn’t sold. Kimchi usually has fish sauce in it, so that wasn’t for me either. I did eat a bit of sauerkraut but was very interested in trying kefir.
Here in Mazatlán we can’t just run out to Whole Foods and pick up some kefir. Thankfully a friend of mine offered to share some of her kefir grains with me and to teach me what to do. It’s really easy. To start, you’ll need:
1. Two one quart glass jars with lids
2. A plastic strainer
3. A plastic spoon
4. A small glass jar for keeping the grains after fermentation is over
5. A bottle of organic milk
6. the kefir grains
At the top of this post you see one of my glass jars that is fermenting the kefir. Here’s what you do:
1. Take the kefir grains and put them in the glass jar. Add about two or three cups of milk. Leave it on the counter for between 12 and 24 hours. Here in my 85 degree kitchen it will ferment in about 10 hours. You’ll see the top of the milk getting all crinkly looking and you can see the grains all built up in the bottom of the jar.
2. Get out your second jar, the strainer, the little glass jar, and the spoon.
3. Put the strainer over the clean jar and spill some of the kefir into it. Using the plastic spoon scrape/stir until the liquid has passed through but the grains remain. Put the grains in the small jar. Keep doing that until the kefir has been filtered. Put the used jar in the sink
4. Put the lid on the kefir and put it in the fridge. I like it cold.
5. If you’re going to start a new kefir, wash the big jar and put the kefir grains in it and do #1 again. At this time I put a bit of milk on top of the kefir grains in the small jar and save them in the fridge for tomorrow…. which is when I start over at #1
I have been drinking about a half cup in the morning and at night. In the morning I put it in my smoothie and at night I just drink it down fast. I don’t like the taste but I like what it’s doing for me.
I have a lot to learn about this but it is a commitment to manage it and keep it alive that’s not for everyone. I understand that at some point the grains keep accumulating and I’ll have enough to share with someone, like my friend did with me. I bought this milk at Mega.
If you’re in the US or Canada I suggest you buy some kefir grains at a health food store or online to get going. There’s lots of information online.