While I was in Ohio for the birth of little Grandson Ezra, my son in law, Jon gave me a gift.
Now this gift is not something many of you would often think about desiring to own, unless you knew about what a delightful thing it was; I have been so delighted with my gift, that I would smile and giggle every time I would look at it. What in the world could this gift be? And have you ever seen the like of such a thing? It is a living organism. It is something that is good for your body. It tastes really good when made into a smoothie. It is well known in many parts of the world, but hasn't been as well known in the U.S. until recent years. I had been tempted to make you guess.... but of course the title of my post has already given me away. Yes, It is kefir. Jon knew the value of kefir and brought it home to his family. He then grew and multiplied his kefir, and blended up its produce into many lovely smoothies (I was the delighted recipient of these smoothies). In short order his kefir culture multiplied, and he sent me home with a share.
Many years ago I ordered kefir through our food co-op in a variety of flavors. The kids thought it was a real treat. When Russell, Olga and Eddie came to live with us, I would pick up kefir at the health food store on occasion. It was a familiar food to them, because it is a common food in Russia. Eddie often asked for it. Now I can make it myself.... because of my son in law. Thanks Jon.
Once you have the little kefir cultures or grains, (check the internet to order some), it is easy to make and maintain. It goes like this. Put your kefir culture in a quart sized canning jar. Add two to three cups milk (might as well make it organic milk if you are trying this for a healthy treat). Place lid on top loosely. Allow to sit at room tempurature 12 to 36 hours. Once milk and culture mixture are thick, strain into a bowl, using a plastic strainer and spoon. (Jon told me and I have since read on the internet that metal can cause your kefir to respond negatively, which may inhibit its growth, so use plastic instead). Set the kefir liquid to the side. Put kefir grains back in jar. Add 2-3 cups of milk, Now the process starts all over again. Meanwhile, blend your kefir with banana and other fruit, and you have a wonderful smoothie. When blended with fruit and a little sugar and even some vanilla, it is a delicious beverage and tastes like yogurt in drink form. If you cannot attend to your kefir as soon as you would like, you may keep it in the refrigerator where it keeps nicely with out spoiling. Also, as a note, the longer you let your kefir sit and ferment at room temperature, the thicker it gets, and also the tangier it gets. If you prefer less tang, refrigerate or drink it sooner. It never seems too tangy for me, but that is just a little info to help you on your way.