I read this post by Rachel yesterday, and it made me laugh. The whole part about her gluten free paleo flexible diet sounded just like our house. While we are trying our best to eat what seems to make us all feel good, we have no plan to follow any strict diet. Of course, if we ever found a culprit for migraines or anyone had a full blown allergy, this would be a different story. But for now? Gluten free pumpkin muffins are for breakfast and Joe & I will most certainly end the evening with one of our favorite seasonal brews. (Rogue Santa's Private Reserve!) We have butter in the fridge. But we drink almond milk. No yogurt, but there is a jar of freshly cultured kefir. Flexible, I like that.
And kefir is what I wanted to talk about today. I would like to tell you I like kefir better than yogurt. If I could choose one over the two, rich thick creamy yogurt would pretty much always win. But in my attempt to reduce plastic garbage waste and our food bill..... and my desire for easy cultured dairy to top my granola, kefir wins hands down. Why? It's so easy.
Pour whole milk over grains. Let sit overnight, or up to 24 hours. Strain. Repeat.
No scalding milk, no keeping a jar warm. No powdered milk or gelatin to try and get the yogurt to set up.
Just pour milk over grains. Plus, word has it... kefir is better for you. It's got a ton more probiotics both in numbers and variety. It's tangy and creamy enough and delicious poured over frozen fruit or granola or in smoothies or just in a glass to sip. I like mine tart and plain. The kids like a hint of vanilla extract and maple syrup in theirs.
And while you can shell out $4+ for a quart of the stuff at the grocery store, you can make a homemade version that is just as good and about 1/8 of the price. You will need to invest adopt some grains. After that you'll need to care for them by feeding them regularly (aka making kefir). Before you know it, the grains will have grown and you can hand over a jar to a friend and get them making kefir too. (The only trick is to use milk that is NOT ultra-pasteurized. We use a local milk that is RBGH free and runs a humane dairy.)
kefir grains ready to use, pour in fresh milk & let sit on the counter overnight...
kefir ready to be strained
freshly strained grains, ready to be fed again
When the kefir is ready it looks thickened and slightly curdled. Once you strain the grains through a fine mesh strainer, the kefir will no longer be separated. I add one teaspoon of maple syrup and a few drops of vanilla to a quart of kefir for the kids. They love this. Blended with mangos & a bit of ginger it tastes like lassis. I like it plain, poured over a bit of granola and topped with frozen fruit and nuts or seeds. The kefir gets kind of frozen with the berries and it's like having frozen yogurt for breakfast. So good...
So, I guess this means we're not dairy free anymore. And I'm currently trying to figure out if I can make a guilt free ice-cream-frozen-yogurt with kefir. Hmmmm.....
ps ~ I've read you can use grains with dairy free milk too.... we plan on trying coconut next. stay tuned for results!
pps ~ I can't say enough good things about Yemoos. They have awesome customer service, happy active grains, fast shipping & clear instructions. I had my order in three days! I also adopted some ginger beer grains.... I'll be sharing a post on those next week. I have no affiliation with Yemoos, I just love their service!