Kefir is a drink consumed mainly in the Caucasus area that is obtained after the fermentation of a fungus, similar in appearance to that of cauliflower, with milk, water or tea.
Milk kefir is the best known and the most consumed. In this product, the kefir mushroom is nourished by fresh milk (it can be from the goat or the cow) causing its fermentation. In this process a lactoalcohólica reaction takes place: the lactose is transformed into lactic acid and produces carbon dioxide and alcohol.
The product that is produced has an appearance similar to that of smoothie yogurt. However, kefir is more liquid and is often used as an equivalent to milk.
Kefir contains a mixture of bacteria and yeasts responsible for the protective and regulatory properties of the digestive system .
Kefir is a probiotic so its consumption can bring benefits to the body. The best known attributed to him are:
– Partially regenerates the intestinal flora, making digestion easier and eliminating constipation problems .
– Enhances the regeneration of the stomach lining. It can contribute to the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease .
– Reduces the symptoms of eczema .
– have properties antifungal and antibiotic .
– It acts as a protector against the entry of pathogenic microorganisms into the body.
– It breaks down lactose better, reducing the appearance of food intolerances and intestinal disorders.
– Strengthens the immune system against possible infections.
– Helps in the treatment of mild anemia.
– It seems to collaborate in the reduction of cholesterol and in the regulation of blood pressure .
– Reduction of fecal enzyme activity in the intestine.
– If the kefir is soft it can act as a laxative .
– Linked to improving attention and concentration.
– Antioxidant properties.
Kefir consumption should be done in moderation as excessive intake can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea , bloating or vomiting to develop .
In addition, it is not recommended to consume it if there are changes in smell, taste or texture.
Development and conservation
Kefir milk or water is usually self-produced, so the beans must be kept in suitable places before fermentation begins. The most suitable places to preserve them are:
– Dehydrated : This option to preserve the grains is useful when we have a large amount of fungi. To dehydrate it, place it on a plate in an airy place and cover it with a paper napkin. Until the beans have dried (they are crystallized and are not sticky) they must be moved every day so that they do not adhere to the plate carefully so as not to break them. In this state they can be kept for two to three months.
In the case of water kefir, it can be hydrated again by putting the granules in water until they return to a gelatinous state, while in milk kefir, the granules must be introduced in fresh milk for two weeks and the milk must be renewed every other day. .
– In the fridge : If you want to consume the kefir in a short time, they can be stored in the fridge. In this place it can be stored in non-chlorinated water and with sugar for 7 to 10 days. Before putting them in the water, the granules must be rinsed. However, the granules are best kept in fresh milk by keeping them at a temperature of 4ºC. In this way they can be kept in good condition for up to 14 days. Once this time has elapsed they must be reactivated, for this reason it is advisable to leave them in fresh milk for two or three days.
– In the freezer : The granules are well cleaned and frozen in a plastic bag in a pie pan. It is not advisable to use tap water to clean it since chlorine can kill microorganisms.
The main difference with milk kefir is that fermentation occurs in water. Although the properties are similar to milk kefir, many authors maintain that they are greater in water.
This type of kefir, similar in appearance to carbonated water, is recommended for people who are lactose intolerant and vegetarians who do not include dairy in their diet.