A Probiotic Gem-Kefir
A Probiotic Gem Cultured with a Probiotic Jewel…
Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage which originated in the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, believed to date back at least 1,000 years.
It has hepled many physical problems for more on kefir and it’s uses go to
The tribes-folk of this particular region who possibly developed kefir by shear accident consumed the nutritious beverage in large quantities. These people were renowned for longevity, living long, healthy lives with little to no known disease. An active life span of over one hundred years was common for folks living in the region where kefir was cultured and liberally consumed as part of a staple diet.
Kefir has a uniform, slightly creamy consistency, a sour refreshing flavour, with a slight subtle aroma of fresh yeast [or a very subtle beer-like aroma]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of a natural effervescent zesty tang. There is an assortment of some 40 aromatic compounds contributing to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. Rounding this off, kefir contains between 0.08% to 2% alcohol. However, about .08 to .1% alcohol is a realistic figure for 1-day cultured kefir. Whereas kefir stored for a number of days after separating the natural mother-culture, kefir grains [see following], contained up to 2% alcohol, and possibly 3% alcohol, depending on the type of milk and ripening conditions. [Yep– wow!].
Traditional, authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Note that Kefir grains should not be mistaken for cereal grains. The natural mother-culture is referred to as grains due to its granular structure and appearance. This is to say that the grain part of the name can be considered as a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granules if you wish, are in fact a natural-starter. The biological structure or each grain [which I feel can be referred to as a bio-matrix] is created through a dynamic association symbiosis between a vast mixture of friendly Lactic acid bacteria [LAB], vinegar-producing bacteria and yeasts strains.
A batch of kefir grains consist of many individual white to bone-coloured mostly self-enclosed bodies made up of a soft, gelatinous biological mass somewhat resembling cooked cauliflower rosettes. The complexity of the kefir grain is a mixture of protein, amino acids, lipids [fats] and soluble-polysaccharides. Kefiran a unique polysaccharide with many health-promoting virtues, is the major polysaccharide of kefir grains and is also found in kefir. The bacteria and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, or the grains, the organisms are also harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding on the surface, and encapsulated within the grain itself <[The abode of the friendly microbe]>
Traditional kefir [real authentic kefir] is easily prepared at home, just as it has been for many centuries by the ancients of the Caucasus Mountains. Fresh, non-pasteurised or pasteurised full-cream, low fat or non-fat milk is put in a clean suitable container with the addition of a smaller portion of kefir grains. The content is left at room temperature for about 24 hours. The resulting developed cultured-milk is strained in order to separate, and retrieve the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to more fresh milk to repeat the simple process for the next batch. This procedure can be performed on an indefinite basis… for kefir grains last forever.
Strained liquid-kefir may either be consumed fresh, refrigerated for later use, or ripened at room temperature over a period of days. The ripening process is not only useful for individuals who wish to reduce lactose in their kefir, it is important to increase some b group vitamins [For details explaining the simple procedure of ripening, please follow this link situated at Dom’s kefir making web page]. Ripening improves overall flavour, while increasing vitamins B1, B6 including vitamin B9 or folic acid, and carbon dioxide including alcohol also increase.
Kefir grains increase in overall volume, numbers of, and by weight, as the grains are self-perpetuating when continually cultured in fresh milk to prepare kefir [biomass increase]. Because of this, the need to prevent overcrowding of kefir grains, and in order to maintain a reasonable constant grain-to-milk ratio it becomes essential to remove a portion of kefir grains from the batch. Apart from the advantage in preventing overcrowding of grains to avoid over fermentation, the other advantage is to produce a kefir with a reasonable constant character and consistency on an ongoing basis. Traditionally, excess or spare kefir grains were either eaten [which I highly recommend], dehydrated and stored as a back-up source, shared among family members, or traded among the tribes-folk of Caucasus, in exchange for other basic essentials.
Except for refrigeration, the culture-art of kefir has been practiced for many centuries by the tribes-folk of Caucasus. In fact, this is the very reason why kefir came about, for the preservation of milk over extensive periods, without refrigeration, for there were no means for refrigeration back then.
This is why folks of yesteryear cultured a wide range of fresh food produce, to extend the keeping quality of food grown in larger quantity. It is only in recent time that we learned the fuller extent regarding how such culture food-products give the consumer extra health benefit such as protection against disease, other than good nutrition. For this reason, most if not all naturally cultured foods can be classified as functional-food.
As an end note to this section, each and every batch of kefir grains in existence today, trace back to a region of the Caucasus Mountains– all kefir grains found anywhere today, originate from that place and are the children of the very first natural mother-culture that mysteriously developed in a particular region of the Caucasus Mountains.