Kefir is a fermented beverage with a slightly acidic taste and a texture similar to liquid yogurt. It is obtained through the fermentation of milk with a combination of live microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, which form a gelatinous mass called “kefir grains”. This beverage has been consumed for centuries in different parts of the world and has gained popularity due to its health benefits and culinary versatility.
Kefir grains consist of a gelatinous matrix that contains a variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. During the fermentation process, these microorganisms feed on the sugars present in the milk, transforming them into lactic acid and carbon dioxide gas. This results in a beverage with a low lactose content and higher digestibility compared to unfermented milk.
CURIOSITIES ABOUT KEFIR
- Ancient origin
Kefir is believed to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains, where it has been consumed for thousands of years. The inhabitants of the region considered kefir grains as a treasure and shared them as a valuable gift.
- Active fermentation process
Unlike other fermented dairy products, kefir is known for its continuously moving fermentation process. Kefir grains float in the milk and continue fermenting even after being consumed. This allows kefir grains to be reused multiple times to produce new beverages.
- Varieties of kefir
In addition to milk kefir, coconut water, fruit juice, and other liquids can be fermented to obtain different varieties of kefir. These non-dairy versions are a popular option for those who are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan diet.
BENEFITS OF KEFIR
- Healthy probiotics
Kefir is an excellent source of probiotics, which are beneficial microorganisms for the digestive system. These probiotics can help balance the intestinal flora, improve digestion, and strengthen the immune system.
- Enhanced digestibility
Due to the fermentation process, kefir contains enzymes that help break down the lactose present in milk. This makes kefir easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant.
- Nutritional contribution
Kefir is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Additionally, it contains calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, which contribute to bone health.
- Culinary versatility
In addition to being consumed as a refreshing beverage, kefir can be used in various recipes such as smoothies, sauces, salad dressings, and desserts. It adds a creamy texture and a unique flavor to culinary preparations.
TO MAKE KEFIR
- Buy kefir grains.
- Prepare the ingredients (fresh milk and a glass container.)
- Place the kefir grains in the container.
- Pour the milk over the kefir grains.
- Cover the container with a breathable cloth or paper.
- Ferment at room temperature for 12-48 hours.
- Optionally, gently stir the kefir grains during fermentation.
- Taste the consistency and flavor of the kefir.
- Strain and separate the kefir grains.
- Store the fermented kefir in a sealed container in the refrigerator.