A few weeks ago I posted on my old blog about making kefir, but didn’t really give you all that much information about it. I decided to leave it intentionally vague, because I knew I wanted to write more about it once I had this lovely blog up and going. So, here we go!
I first heard about kefir about a year ago, when I started to read various blogs about “real food”. Real Food is a movement started by Weston A. Price. I won’t go into all the details about it here (that will be left for a later post!), but in essence it means eating food that would be recognized by our great-grandparents. This obviously means trying to eat food that hasn’t been processed or re-engineered by human hands. There are a lot of other aspects to the “real food” movement, some of which I agree with and others which I’m still researching. However, the overall principle makes a lot of sense to me.
I mean, what exactly is vegetable oil anyway? And why would I want to eat something that has a list of about 50 ingredient, half of which are unpronounceable? My blogging friend Elizabeth put it well in a recent post where she mentions her own thoughts on food: try to eat SOLE foods (or Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical). That cuts out most things that come prepackaged and mostly prepared for you. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, but I think it is a good goal to strive for.
One area that this can be particularly difficult is in cutting out drinks that are highly processed. It is easy enough for me to make my own french fries and cookies using ingredients I approve of, but soda? That’s a whole different issue. Enter kefir.
Kefir is a little grain that is a combination of yeast and bacteria, which basically has probiotic qualities. Kefir eats sugar and creates carbonation and fermentation, making it the perfect natural way to create your own soda. Not only does it satisfy your desire for a little fizz, it is super good for your digestive system! Now that’s the kind of soda I want my kids asking for!
After reading about kefir on several blogs, we decided to give it a try. We bought the kefir grains from Culture for Health online and they came dehydrated. Once the were rehydrated, we put them in a canning jar with a quart of water (pre-boiled and cooled) and 1/4 cup of organic raw sugar. You leave it like this for 48 hours. Then strain the grains and move them to a new jar and repeat. Take the sugar/water/kefir-less mixture and add whatever flavoring you like. We like to add dried fruit (strawberries, berry mix, mango-berry mix) but you can also add lemon juice or other flavorings. Let it sit for another 48 hours and then strain the dried fruit out. Voila! You have a healthy and yummy drink.
It sounds complicated, but really the amount of active time you spend is very minimal. It basically does all the hard work for you! Lovely! The finished product does have a slightly fermented taste to it, but not too bad. I usually can’t stand any type of alcohol and am able to drink these with no problem (at least the ones with a stronger flavor, like the berry mix).
Now that I’ve entered the world of bacteria, maybe it’s time to make my own yogurt? Hmmm…