Thursday, October 13, 2016

Probiotic Prepping

If you've been in the yogurt section, you may have noticed some colorful quarter sized containers. Those are generally Kefir - a fermented beverage. Kefir is a cultured probiotic beverage similar in taste and texture to a drinkable yogurt. Originated more than 2000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains, it is a deliciously mild beverage, with a naturally sweet, tangy flavor, and a refreshing hint of natural carbonation. It's easy to digest and has a slight tang that is really great in smoothies.  Unfortunately, many of the commercial flavored ones are high in sugar, so it's easier to make your own and blend with a little fruit for a smoothie with no refined sugar.

Making your own is cheaper when you make them with dairy milk, but you can make them with goat milk or coconut milk (coconut milk kefir does tend to fizzle out sooner than cow or goat milk though).  This batch is made with goat milk from RedHill Farms.  It's the best goat milk I've tried and made without any artificial ingredients, preservatives, or powdered milk.  Like their yogurts, it is free of gelatin, refined sugar and artificial colors or flavors (you don't want to read the ingredient list of cheap dairy yogurt). They are certified organic and humane and 70% of the goat diet is hay, and vegetarian otherwise (you know that saying, “you are what you eat”? Well, are are also "what your food ate".) They don’t serve their goats animal by-products and corn, so this is a good thing.

Yes, they make a kefir too, and it's awesome, but I make my own to save a few cents while ensuring the freshest product.
Goat milk benefits are many! Many people who are allergic to cow milk products or who suffer from lactose intolerance may be able to enjoy goat yogurt, kefir and cheese. Yogurt cultures convert lactose into lactic acid, making yogurt easier to digest than milk. Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus can help to restore normal intestinal flora after antibiotic therapy. It maintains and supports the immune system, and I found that when eating kefir regularly I rarely have a cold or the flu. No matter what medical issues you are dealing with, gut health is of key importance and it is sometimes the simplest things that can help us to be the healthiest.

So I thought about adding some dried starter to my stored food supplies.  We just made a good batch of echinacea tincture with some bulbs from the flowerbed and vodka, why not try some probiotics made with a dried powder you can store on the shelf? The tincture is great at the first sign of a cold, and my overall health is much improved since I added cultured foods into my diet such as the wild yeast sourdough, homemade pickles, and kefir drinks.

I normally make mine with grains but I wanted to try this "quick kefir" because I can keep this on hand with some powdered milk in the prepping supplies, something I can't do with fresh milk and kefir grains.

To Make: Start with a clean quart jar and a quart of your beverage of choice. I used Redhill Farms full-fat goat milk.  I digest full-fat milk products better, and it makes a better kefir but you can use lower fat milk.

Stir in one packet of "Real Kefir" Kefir starter, available at most health food stores.  This is a powder, not grains, as you can buy on-line fresh to make your own.  It may contain a trace amount of soy (meaning, it's not an ingredient, but it's made at a plant that processes things with soy).

Using the Real Keeper powder  - simply stir gently, cover with a paper towel or coffee filter, secure with a rubber band and let sit where it is 72 to 74 degrees for 12 - 18 hours.  Since my home in on the cool side, I simply place the jar on a heating pad set on low, like I do in baking  my wild yeast sourdough bread. That works great.  When the milk has thickened to where it looks like heavy cream it's ready to go into the fridge to be consumed within a week for optimum flavor but will keep up to 3 weeks (retain 1/4 cup to make a new batch). To make another batch, simply keep 1/4 cup minimum kefir and fill the quart jar back up with fresh milk, put the filter on the top and keep in a warm place 12-18 hours and store again.  It says you can make up to 7 batches with one packet, keeping 1/4 cup behind.

Pros:  Easy!


-More expensive in the long run than grains and will take several batches to get a really good flavor going. The flavor was fine, it just wasn't as good as when I got a good batch going with grains.

-You can only restart it about 5-7 times, then you have to start from scratch with new powder so for long-term emergency food supply you'd have to spend around $60 to get six months worth of kefir starter for two and you'd have to have a means of refrigeration.  Still, I'm going to add some to the prepping/long term food supplies reserve.

If you just want to TRY kefir, it would be worth it, but I definitely prefer making kefir with kefir grains. as they last forever.  I ordered my latest ones (the first did not survive the move after I got married) from:

You can drink Kefir plain, use in place of buttermilk in
or make smoothies with it. This is my regular smoothie recipe which is fun to make with different add in's for more nutrition or a slightly different taste.

Berry Kefir Smoothie Recipe (serves 1)

1 cup kefir
half a banana
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries (I like blackberries or boysenberries)
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon (omit if using red berries only and use up to 1/2 tsp if using all blueberries)
1 teaspoon of honey or a little maple syrup or stevia (optional)
a few ice cubes (if using fresh, not frozen berries.

Add ins:

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon flax seeds or chia seeds
1/2 Tablespoon maca or cacao
1 serving of your preferred protein and or green superfood powder.
1 small handful of  organic spinach/romaine mix (the romaine counters the bitter taste of the spinach)


  1. I got my grains from The Kefir Lady too. I love Kefir with a little bit of raw honey and homemade vanilla. Delicious!

  2. I tried coconut oil in a smoothie and it was a clumpy mess! Since it solidifies at room temp, how can you keep it liquid in a cold smoothie?

    1. I hate it until it's liquid and warm, then add it in while blending, and drink right away. Otherwise, yes, it solidifies again.


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