WHAT IS MILK KEFIR?
Like yogurt, milk kefir is a fermented food product containing probiotics. It’s delicious, and good for you! Kefir differs from yogurt in that it contains a wide variety of probiotic bacteria and yeasts, as opposed to yogurt which has a more limited amount of bacteria strains and no yeast. With its thinner consistency, kefir is typically served as a drink, as opposed to yogurt, which is typically eaten with a spoon. Kefir has a pleasant, yogurt-like, slightly tart taste.
Milk Kefir is traditionally prepared using milk from cows, goats or sheep. Kefir can also be cultivated from milk substitutes such as coconut milk, rice milk, or soymilk. Fermentation occurs when the milk is stored with kefir “grains”. These are not a true grain, but rather a starter culture that contains bacteria and yeast. These grains increase in number during the fermentation process and are strained from the kefir to be used again. If you look after your Kefir grains, you will be able to use them over and over again.
WHAT IS WATER KEFIR?
Tibicos grains are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a biofilm matrix created by the bacteria. As with milk kefir grains, the microbes present in Tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture.
Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to grow, and producing lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide gas, which carbonates the drink. You can culture Water Kefir in water and a sugary mix, fruit juice, or coconut water.
Tibicos are also known as Tibi, Water kefir grains, Sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals and California bees.
Tibicos are found around the world, with no two cultures being exactly the same. Typical Tibicos offer a mix of several strains of good bacteria.
People who do not wish to consume dairy products may find that water Kefir provides the probiotics their bodies need without the need for dairy or tea cultured products, such as kombucha.
Leave the lid open on your Water Kefir while culturing if you prefer your drink “still”. We suggest covering your jar with a cloth and tying with string or a band.
Close the cap / lid if you would prefer your water kefir to continue to ferment when bottled – thus producing more carbonation. However – please watch the carbonation process carefully – bottles need to be capped loosely and allowed to breathe (burped) regularly, or they may become explosive. The finished product, if cultured while capped, will produce a soda-like beverage.
It is no fluke that kefir has enjoyed such enduring popularity. Ancient wisdom is now being backed by modern research.
Kefir’s rich and varied microbial make-up results in a wide variety of health advantages to those who drink it regularly. In scientific studies, evidence has been mounting for the following health-enhancing effects of kefir. Specifically, it is believed that kefir:
Kefir may be the exception to the rule—a dairy product that can be enjoyed by people who have lactose intolerance. Kefir has a much lower level of lactose than milk. In addition, kefir appears to stimulate the actions of enzymes needed for the digestion of lactose. Of particular interest is a small study that found that kefir improved the ability of study participants who had lactose intolerance to digest and tolerate lactose.
If, however, you try Milk Kefir and find that it does not work well for your lactose intolerance, try our Water Kefir, Coconut Milk Kefir, or Coconut Water Kefir.