As my mother once asked me, what is the difference between kefir and milk that has simply gone bad? Prior to taking the permaculture course on Linnaea Farm, I was never able to give her an acceptable response. I tried to explain that the amazing kefir grains had the ability to magically turn your average glass of milk into a healthy probiotic drink! However, I’m not the most persuasive of debaters and was unable to convince my audience into keeping their own magnificent Kefir-making grains and my family remained convinced that I was religiously drinking chunky milk.
Since having the opportunity to take a cheese-making course with the very hip Davide, I feel certain that those Kefir grains are doing more than my mother believes. Contrary to popular belief, Kefir (which looks like milk that has ‘gone a little off’) may not be bad for you. In fact, studies have shown that it might actually be very good for your gut’s happiness. However, Kefir’s mysterious history, originating somewhere around the Caucasian Mountains, has made it difficult to know exactly where the grains originated and came to be the source of a very popular fermented milk drink all over the world.
How do I know that Kefir isn’t just chunky milk?
1) Simply put, if you leave milk out on the counter it will NOT produce kefir. It will produce a smelly, chunky, milky substance that is not a source of probiotics. You need the kefir grains to produce the true drink and I can personally promise that you will notice the difference between bad milk and fermented kefir.
2) Hospitals in the former USSR used kefir to treat many different illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders, allergic diseases, digestive disorders, etc. (Scott, 2012). I highly doubt that a hospital would think it suitable to use bad milk for such purposes.
3) Recent studies have proved that kefir can be used as an immune system stimulator, to help enhance lactose digestion, and inhibit tumors and pathogens such as those that cause ulcers (Scott, 2012).
4) Fermented foods are simply good for your health. Whether sauerkraut, sourdough, pickled foods, kombucha, or kefir, fermented foods have the ability to add beneficial bacteria to your gut that can help you maintain good health and body functioning.
In conclusion, if you are still unconvinced about getting your own kefir grains then maybe it is best that you leave this nutritious drink for the rest of us.
Scott, G. (2012). Kefir: The History of the Magical Grains. Retrieved from https://lingualift.com/blog/kefir-history-recipe/