Kefir has been around for thousands of years in Europe and Asia. However, it is just recently becoming more popular and readily available in the United States. What is it and how is it different than yogurt? Where did it come from? What are the benefits? We have all the info right here!
What is Kefir?
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Its name comes from the Turkish word: keyif, which means “feeling good”. The consistency is of a thin yogurt and the flavor is slightly tangy and sour. Usually, it is made from cow’s milk, although it can be made with sheep or goat’s milk too. Since it is a cross between yogurt and milk, you can use it similarly to how you would use either of those: drink it straight, add it to a smoothie, or pour into your cereal or granola.
How it’s Made
- Add kefir grains to milk in a glass bottle. These “grains” are a little different than your typical grains like wheat, quinoa, or rice. These are actually grain-like colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. They look very similar to cauliflower or cottage cheese.
- Secure a cheesecloth or similar material on the top of the bottle.
- Place the bottle in a warm environment of about 70 degrees F for about a 24 to 48 hour period. Over this time, the colonies of microorganisms from the kefir grains multiply rapidly, in turn fermenting the sugars in the milk. Thus, we have the kefir.
- Next, take the grains out from the liquid to re-use them again. When separating the grains from the liquid, it is important to avoid metal utensils, as metal can weaken the microorganisms for future use.
Kefir is a bit more nutritionally robust than regular yogurt. Yogurt is the fermentation of bacteria. However, kefir is the fermentation of yeast and bacteria. In fact, kefir grains contain upwards of 61 different strains of yeast and bacteria. Being high in nutrients and probiotics, this creamy super-drink is great for digestion and overall gut health. In addition, it is rich in protein, calcium, and B vitamins too. Studies show that the benefits include:
- antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
- a positive impact on the gastrointestinal tract
- stimulation of the immune system
Martindale’s is proud to offer a locally made kefir. It comes from Wholesome Dairy Farms, located in Douglassville, PA. We have plain and vanilla bean kefir made with pasteurized milk from grass-fed cows. Wholesome Dairy Farms has been family-owned and operated in Berks County for multiple generations. This kefir is so silky smooth and satisfying. The refreshing, probiotic-filled dairy beverage is a result of using five cultures of fermentation microbes. We recommend trying it in smoothies or as an ingredient in baking, mashed potatoes, pancakes, and desserts.