Published: 09/03/2012 - Updated: 07/26/2016
If you've heard of Kefir, but do not really know what it is, we can tell you that this is a food with many valuable properties for our body and it is achieved after a process of milk, water or tea fermentation.
In this process, similar to yogurt, various bacteria are involved, including Lactococcus lactis, Lactococcus cremoris, L.biovar diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei and Kluyveromyces marxianus.
However unlike the yogurt, this fermentation process is achieved by a lacto-alcohol reaction (lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid and produces carbon dioxide and alcohol, the last one in a proportion lower than 1%), while the yogurt is only lactic (only converts lactose into lactic acid).
Kefir has detoxifying powers, regenerating the intestinal flora and stimulating natural defenses. Helps digestion, prevents constipation, especially suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.
Although its main virtue is to maintain the intestinal bacterial flora balance, thanks to kefir consumption, our body converts putrefactive intestinal flora, substituting with the antiseptic properties of lactobacilli. In produces the secretion of a substance which persists even after the disappearance of the bacilli. It changes putrefaction, harmful to the human body, by lactic fermentation. Even some researchers claim that this food fights the growth of Escherichia coli.
Another of its beneficial actions for our health is that synthesis produces B vitamins, being an important source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins.
Other properties of kefir are:
- We recommend taking kefir when you have anemia
- Assists in lowering cholesterol
- It is an effective laxative
- Reduces the risk of colon cancer
- Regulates the weight so it is highly recommended in diets
- Treats skin problems such as eczema
- Regulates blood pressure
- Collaborates when assimilating food
- Help in the states of sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression
To enjoy all these benefits of kefir is important to be very careful in its conservation and you can tell if it’s good or bad. You must observe any changes in texture, smell, or taste. If you buy at a store, you have to be sure of its origin and the quality rules.
How to prepare
It’s true that the 100% natural kefir is much better and retains all its properties, is not the same as the one sold in supermarkets, which is why you may get it from a friend. If you do, do not forget to also pass it to someone else as well.
Kefir nodules can be cultivated at home in different ways and with similar beneficial effects on the body: seed milk, water, grape juice or other fruits with high sugar content. When milk gets spoiled, you obtain a sort of liquid like yogurt. If water is used, it achieves a similar drink to gasified lemonade.
The following is a recipe I found, not mine, but I hope it works for you.
Kefir and water cultivation
Use a glass container, preferably with a wide mouth. Take into account that the liquid should be no more than 2/3 of the volume of the size, since space is needed to let air. Placing in this order:
3 tablespoons of kefir hydrated nodules: To facilitate casting process, you may confine nodules in a bag of tulle or chiffon.
50 grams of sugar: brown sugar is preferred (5 heaping tablespoons), which flavor enhances the final product. The function of sugar is to stimulate the nodules and activate the fermentation process. When working properly nodules, the sweet taste almost disappears. Since the work of the nodules is directly related to the temperature, more heat, consume more sugar quickly. The end result should be a slightly sweet drink.
2 chopped dried figs: can also be used peach, raisins or other dried fruits. Their function is to neutralize the alcoholic fermentation and flavor.
½ whole lemon: Wash well to avoid undesirable presences in cultivation.
1 liter of pure water: Avoid chlorinated water.
Stir well with wooden or plastic spoon. Try to avoid metals. Cover the jar with a cloth, trapped with a rubber band, and let rest 24 hours in a warm place (ideally at 20 degrees) and protected from direct sunlight. The cultivation may also be performed with a hermetic top (always taking care that there is a third empty space), in which case one obtains a more carbonated product, i.e. more bubbling. After 24 hours, remove and soak again for another 24 hours. Then remove nodules, discard what has grown and use them to start a new crop. Strain the remaining liquid, squeeze the lemon and package it in a bottle for later consumption.
The end result should always be slightly sweet and acid. The growth of nodules in cultivation, i.e. multiplication, is the best indicator of the proper activity of the ferment and crop quality. If they don’t multiply, you did something incorrectly or a substance is affecting the sensitive nodules. As water kefir is more pleasant fresh, it is advisable to keep it in the refrigerator. If you cover the bottle with a cork, you will get a more bubbly product.