Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I have been reading so many good things about drinking kefir that I just had to try it.  Kefir is a type of fermented dairy product, much like yogurt, but with many more probiotics.  This makes it even healthier for you than your average yogurt.  Even folks who have some problems digesting cow's milk (like me) can manage kefir.  You can drink it plain, make it into smoothies, or use it in recipes.

Milk kefir grains can be obtained from friends or from the Internet.  They look a bit like cauliflower or like tapioca.  They are placed in a container of milk and they feed off the milk for the day.  They grow and can be used again and again.  You can use cow, goats, or sheep milk.  Some people also use coconut milk, but this is less successful from what I read, and the grains really need to be fed milk to thrive.  I may try to use coconut milk occasionally once my grains have grown a bit more.

I purchased my grains from Kefirshop in the UK for £12.  I received a very small plastic pouch of grains with a bit of milk and instructions.  I placed them in a jar.  Now, this company suggests that you use plastic in case the whole thing explodes.  But many websites suggest using a glass jar.  To begin with, you need to use only a little milk---200 ml or so until they grow.  It is also a good idea to only drink a small amount to get your body used to it.  So you will increase your consumption over the weeks and the grains will also be producing more for you. 

The most exciting thing for me was to discover that my Other Half loves it.  In fact it is exactly like the fermented milk he grew up drinking in Tanzania.  The fermented milk there is produced slightly differently in that the traditional way is to place the milk in a gourd which hangs in the kitchen.  During the day this gourd is swung about to mix the milk.  In the morning it is emptied, sugar added to the milk, and it is often served with maize porridge.  The gourd is not washed, so the residue from the previous milk helps to ferment the next day's batch.  (This is similar to how yogurt is made).

There is a lot of information about kefir available on the Internet.  One useful site is The Healthy Home Economist.  This includes a video on how to make it.


  1. This is completely fascinating! i am going to fry to find the starter here in South Africa. I'll let you know how it goes.

  2. In the interests of authenticity I thought I should give an update on our experiences with kefir.

    The method is to place the grains in the milk, leave it for 24 hours and then consume the kefir. By doing this daily you can have a nice supply. We actually add a bit of raw suagr, give it a stir and stick it in the fridge to chill which makes it taste better. Kefir is fermented and so tastes a bit different than yogurt. My Other Half often tells me to leave it a bit longer so the fermented taste is stronger, while I like it weaker.

    Since we have had the baby it has been a challenge to remember things like brushing my teeth, and changing kefir milk every day. So I pop it in the fridge for a few days, or weeks...and so we have not had a lot of kefir lately and I keep making some and discarding the product because I am not sure how long you can keep it--in fact you can make cheese from it and I think I nearly have on occasion. Anyway, I think we are back in working order. The grains continue to grow, and I will let you know how we get on.