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What Is Kefir? Where Did It Come From?
What is Kefir?
Strictly speaking, Kefir is the substance that exists as “Kefir grains,” that either look like pieces of cauliflower (in the case of Milk Kefir) or like little crystals (in the case of Water Kefir)..
These grains are living colonies of bacteria and yeasts that live in perfect harmony together, and have been around for thousands of years! One day someone discovered that if these strange-looking grains were brewed into a drink, the person that drank it would experience enormous health benefits. The idea soon spread, and Kefir is now popular as a health drink all over the world.
What is Kefir’s history?
Now, legend has it that the first kefir grains to be brewed into a drink were gifts from the prophet Mohammed to the mountainfolk of Caucasus. Whether or not this is true, it is certainly the case that the grains were first added to milk in these mountains. Since there were no refrigerators in those days, the grains were probably used to preserve the town’s milk.
This combination of Kefir grains and milk was the original “Milk Kefir” and was soon respected for its fantastic health benefits – as well as for the fact that it stopped the milk going bad!
The drink became a closely guarded secret by the Caucasus mountainfolk for hundreds of years. Eventually, a lady from Russia (who went by the name Irina Sakharova, as the story is told) managed to convince the people to spare her a few grains, which she quickly took back to Russia.
Luckily, when kefir grains are left to ferment, they soon produce more Kefir grains! The ones that Irina returned to Moscow were used to make more, and before long all of Russia had heard about the amazing benefits of the health drink. The drink and the grains both became a staple part of the Russian diet and spread to Eastern Europe, and then across the world.
Water Kefir is very similar to the original Milk Kefir that spread out across the world from Caucasus. It grows in the same way, and offers the same health benefits, but it thrives in water instead of in milk! This means that it is perfect for those people who do not like to drink milk or eat dairy products. It is more versatile (since you can use it in food or drinks that would not work with milk) and is cheaper to grow, since water is easier to come by than milk!
How can I make my own Kefir?
If you would like to grow your own Kefir, and benefit from your own home-made probiotic health drinks, all you need is a few grains to start off with and some good advice about how to cultivate them!
If you feel you’d like to start growing your own, you can then get one of our fantastic Kefir Grain Starter kits and get started straight away!
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