Kefir is a fermented, creamy drink that is easy to make at home. It is an excellent probiotic that facilitates digestion and strengthens the immune system.
Kefir may have a history dating back thousands of years, longer than yogurt, and many of the miraculous properties attributed to it, such as promoting longevity, should certainly be attributed to it. Kefir refers to both the granules with which the milk is fermented and the resulting product. Although this milk kefir is the most common, today we are talking about water kefir and tea or kombucha, which are made from the same or similar granules and water in a slightly different process.
A powerful probiotic
Most of kefir's benefits come from its probiotic nature and the changes it causes in milk. As a probiotic, it contributes to the regeneration of the intestinal flora and is indicated for indigestion, candidiasis, constipation or diarrhea as well as for stimulating the body's own defenses. By pre-digesting milk, the lactose content (the main cause of intolerance) is greatly reduced and converted into lactic acid.
The flora of kefir is the so-called “fermentation flora” (in contrast to the “putrefaction flora”).
However, the benefits of regulating digestive flora go even further by boosting the immune system.
Constipation or diarrhea improve depending on how long the granules remain in the milk. If kefir milk is strained after 24 hours, it has a slightly laxative effect, while if stored for a longer period of time it not only becomes more acidic but also astringent.
All the properties of milk
Kefir changes the nutritional properties of milk little, leaving it what it originally had: more or less fat, proteins, calcium… The biggest changes that milk undergoes are of a digestive nature: the amount of lactose is reduced and fat is emulsified better. Therefore, it is better tolerated by those who do not absorb milk well.
Two dairy-free kefir
Make it at home
Homemade kefir is made through a simple process. To make kefir at home, all you need is a certain amount of tubers, a wide-mouthed glass container with an airtight lid, a sieve and a bowl to collect the kefir milk. It is important to be extremely careful with these utensils and, if possible, keep them exclusively for making kefir. It is also recommended to use utensils, including a sieve, that are not made of metal, especially aluminum. Nodules and kefir milk have an acidic pH and can react with metals.
Generally nodules are not sold, but in exceptional cases they can be purchased online and in some health food stores.
When the nodules are used, they grow. If the amount becomes too large, the leftovers must be removed, which can then be given to other family members and friends or to anyone who needs them.
Conservation and calm
Every two weeks it is recommended to wash the nodules and the container with warm, chlorine-free water and leave them in mineral water for about 12 hours. If nodules turn yellow, they should be discarded, leaving only those that look healthy.
If we have leftover kefir mother or have to be away for a few days, we can keep it in the refrigerator, immersed in milk, for a maximum of 4 or 5 days to slow down the fermentation.
Josep Lluis Berdonces (Health) and Santi Ávalos (Kitchen)