As you know, I get raw, organic, whole milk every week. It has been marvelous for my allergies, and then there are the other nine months of the year. Cheese is an option, except that paleoistas can’t have cheese. Yogurt is out because I recall some homemade yogurt that was slippery, stringy, mucousy and all around revolting. What to do? What to do!
A person can make their own kefir. Kefir comes from Kefir grains—small, rubbery, irregularly shaped balls, very like bits of rubber cement. I don’t know where kefir grains come from, probably Baby Jesus. Then Amazon is the broker. Mine arrived in the mail in a thin milk-ish medium.
Kefir grains are ALIVE, no time to waste. They go into a glass jar where they get covered with milk, ideally your raw, organic, whole milk. Close the top of the jar with a breathable cover—I use a paper coffee filter—set it on the counter and wait.
The grains are very small to begin, maybe a teaspoon’s worth all together. I used a pint jar and added a cup of milk. I changed the milk every two days, straining the grains out using a nylon strainer and putting them in a fresh, clean jar. Apparently it is very important that the jar is clean and the strainer is nylon
Luckily I was a few months into Paleo at this point, because this kefir is SOUR. More sour than plain yogurt, one of those things that taste good just because you know how HEALTHY it is. Maybe I’ll bring some on our next vacation. We can have it with the prunes.
After a month, the grains have tripled in size, and from then on, the kefir is thick-ish. I moved from a 4 inch strainer to a 7 inch strainer.
They grow up so fast!
The grains continue to grow and soon I am adding 2 cups of milk and I have kefir in just two days. Voila!
I mostly use it in smoothies and for this, it is marvelous.
I am not completely conversant in the life and times of a kefir grain, but as I understand it, they eat the milk. Does this mean kefir is a waste product? If you leave town, you can add extra milk and refrigerate the grains for up to two weeks. I’m not sure what happens if you leave them for longer. I’m not sure I can ask my house sitter to tend the kefir grains. Six dogs with a DSM-V‘s worth of emotional issues is one thing; kefir, clean jars and nylon strainers seems like a task too far.