WHAT IS KEFIR AND WHERE DOES IT ORIGINATE?
“The kefir story is full of intrigue. The first kefir grains are said to have been a gift from Allah, delivered by his prophet Muhammad. The grains were treasured by the people who possessed them, passed down from generation to generation, and definitely not shared with strangers.”
~ Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz
Allah’s gift, as old as Moses, was prized as manna from heaven, sacred to the people of the rugged, snow-capped Caucasus mountains that range between the western Black and eastern Caspian seas and straddle southern Europe and Asia. Once ruled by Russia, it is told a charming young Russian woman was sent by a Moscow-based physicians society to beguile a Caucasus prince in the hopes of obtaining some prized kefir grains. A heroine’s journey ensued and she returned with her reward. The legendary beverage is now widely enjoyed throughout Russia today, especially Russian school children who are served kefir daily.
Milk kefir is made by introducing grain (rice grain size and shape of the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) pulp to cow, goat or sheep milk. Unlike kombucha, which rests in a warm place for days on end, the milk kefir is capped and agitated to distribute the grains throughout the milk. The kefir is strained and the grain is reserved to begin the next batch, or may be patted dry, sealed in an airtight container and frozen. The resulting fermented liquid may sometimes mimic the flavor of yogurt.
Dirty Dozen Recipe
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