Kefir is a drink made with milk. It is cultured, meaning you put microscopic life forms in your milk and let them grow and multiply and do their metabolic processes in your milk and then you drink the milk. You save the growing colonies of kefir, called kefir grains, and use them again and again to make kefir for as long as you want. You can even pass the kefir grains on to your heirs so they can make kefir, and the more you use it, the more of it you have. Kind of magic, really.
Why make and drink kefir? Well, I make it because it’s way, way, way cheaper than buying it. I make kefir for the cost of milk. It costs more than milk if you buy it in the store. Drink it for it’s wide range of health benefits, like aiding digestion, boosting immunity, and more and more and more. And I drink it because I like the taste of it. You can even make it fizzy! How about that?! – and because kefir contains a multitude of life forms that are good to have growing inside me. Probiotics is the hip name for that.
Kefir is easy to make. Just put some kefir grains in a jar and fill the jar with milk. Wait a while. Now you have kefir. Strain out the liquid and use the gooey grains to make more kefir. I bought $5 worth of kefir grains on eBay over a year ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. Now I’ve given kefir grains to friends and I still have at least 20 times as many kefir grains as when I started. I would have even more than that, but I found that growing the kefir in the cupboard was TOO productive! For my own consumption, I had to slow down the production of kefir, so I let mine work in the refrigerator. You don’t have to make it in the refrigerator, you can just put it on a shelf or cupboard.
Kefir is easy to turn into a soft, spreadable cheese. There are lots of great ways to use kefir cheese! There is a Middle-Eastern version called Lebni. It’s easy to make a kind of sour cream out of kefir, too. Kefir can even be used to make mature hard cheeses, butter, cottage cheese, and included in sourdough bread!