How to Make Milk Kefir in 5 Easy Steps

 

How To Make Milk Kefir In Just 5 Easy Steps | Jills Home Remedies | Do you know milk kefir has billions of probiotics in just one tablespoon? Learn how to make milk kefir today in just 5 easy steps!

If you hang out at my house for very long, you’ll inevitably hear one of my children asking me to “make a shake, please”. We cannot stand to go a day without our “shake”. I love that they ask for this every day because the base that I use for these shakes is milk kefir!

Kefir is one of the healthiest things you can add to your diet. It’s a probiotic drink and so incredibly good for you. If you do it right, you can feed your family this homemade probiotic drink for a lot less than purchasing probiotics in pill form! (I do keep this probiotic on hand in case one of my girls has a tummy ache and can use some extra probiotics.)

I’m going to show you not only how to make milk kefir in 5 easy steps, but I’m going to share how you can make yours taste so yummy that your kids will be asking you for some too!

What is kefir?

Milk kefir, (there is such a thing as water kefir but we are going to go over milk kefir today) originating from Russia, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. These grains are a bacterial fermentation starter that when added to milk, make a thick, creamy yogurt-type drink. 

How To Make Milk Kefir In Just 5 Easy Steps | Jills Home Remedies | Do you know milk kefir has billions of probiotics in just one tablespoon? Learn how to make milk kefir today in just 5 easy steps! Kefir grains look like cottage cheese or cauliflower to me. They feed on the sugar in the milk, which causes them to multiply themselves at a rate of a 10-15% increase each time they are fed. [2] If you keep your kefir grains well fed with milk, you can have a forever endless supply of inexpensive, homemade probiotics for your family’s good health.

Kefir boasts of high levels of probiotics, calcium, magnesium, vitamins k & b12, biotin, folate, and enzymes. [1] And according to the University of Florida microbiology class, homemade kefir contains a beneficial bacteria colony of 150 billion per tablespoon! [3]

What About Store-Bought Kefir?

While kefir bought at the store does have a lot of good stuff in it, it does not have as much as homemade. Many brands are advertised as having 10 strains, while homemade kefir has as many as 40-60 strains. [2]

And let’s just mention the savings! The savings of making your own kefir is well worth it. Purchasing kefir is around $.12 an ounce, while making it only costs you the price of milk (once you’ve purchased your grains) and averages to being only $.02 an ounce. [2] (This price was based on milk being $2.75 a gallon, so if you purchase milk that is less expensive, you save even more!) 

How To Make Milk Kefir in 5 Easy Steps

Note: When you purchase kefir grains, they will be in a bag of milk. Strain the grains using a plastic strainer and pour a little bit of fresh milk on them to rinse them. This is only necessary when you use them the first time. This helps to activate them and get them going since they’ve been tossed about in the mail and are now in a different environment. Do not rinse with water. 

Ingredients

Kefir grains (buy here)
Milk (raw or whole milk)
Jar
Breathable material like paper towels, dish towel
Rubberband

Directions

  1. Place kefir grains in a jar.
  2. Pour in milk on top of the grains. Use 1 cup of milk per 1 tablespoon of grains. 
  3. Place a breathable cloth on top and secure with a rubber band. I like to use a paper towel folded in half, but a dish towel or something similar would work as well.
  4. Place the jar in a cool, dark place like a cabinet. Let the kefir ferment for 24-48 hours. You will know that it’s ready when you tilt the jar slightly and the kefir is thicker and more gel-like instead of just watery milk.
  5. Strain the kefir in a plastic strainer. (Never use a metal strainer or spoons. The kefir liquid itself can touch metal but the grains cannot as this can “kill” them.)

A Few Notes and Tips

  • Be patient with your grains as they adjust to a new environment. Every household has different temperatures and moisture content so your new grains have to get used to your house. After you make your first batch, the liquid may still be watery and not very thick at all. That’s OK! It doesn’t mean the grains are bad – it only means they need more time to adjust to your environment. Simply strain the kefir grains, place them in a jar, and pour more fresh milk in. The second time around you can add only 1/2 cup and see if it does better starting with that amount. Sometimes it can take 2 or 3 times to get them started well. Once they have a good start and are adjusted to your home’s environment, they will make lots of amazing kefir for years to come!
  • Some people pour up their kefir after 24 hours, but I tend to wait every 48 hours because I have so many grains now that I make 1/2 a gallon at a time and we currently don’t need more than 1/2 a gallon of kefir every 2 days. It also saves on milk money if I wait 2 days. 
  • In the summer and warmer weather, they will ferment faster and the kefir may be ready every day to be strained. The refrigerator slows down fermentation, so I place the jar in the refrigerator if I’m too busy to strain them at the time the kefir is ready or if I want them to ferment more slowly for a few days. (I always ferment in the cabinet first for at least 24 hours before placing them in the fridge.)
  • Don’t throw your grains out if you forget to strain them within 48 hours. Everything is still good, your kefir will just be stronger and more sour, but still usable! If you leave your grains in the basement for a year and forget about them, then yes- throw them out and start over with more grains. (I’ve actually done that in the early days! haha)
  • If you don’t have someone local to you to get kefir grains from, you can buy them online! You do have to be sure you get them from a good source. I had an experience once when I ordered kefir grains and when I opened the package, they smelled like a dead mouse. Needless to say, I threw those away and ordered from Yemoos Nourishing Cultures. I’ve had great success with these grains and their customer service is extremely helpful!
  • Be sure to use raw or whole milk for your kefir grains. Ultra-pasteurized, low-fat, coconut, rice, soy, etc. milk will not work.
  • So what can you do with all these extra kefir grains? As I said, the grains will multiply as you use and feed them. So if you want to make a quart jar at a time, you’ll only need 4 tablespoons of grains for each batch. When your grains become more than that, you can eat them yourself (which I’ve never done personally), blend them with your smoothie (which I have done and that greatly increases the amazing nutritional value!), mix them in your animal’s food, or share with a friend!

How To Make Milk Kefir In Just 5 Easy Steps | Jills Home Remedies | Do you know milk kefir has billions of probiotics in just one tablespoon? Learn how to make milk kefir today in just 5 easy steps!

How To Make Milk Kefir in 5 Easy Steps
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Ingredients
  1. Kefir grains
  2. Milk
  3. Jar
  4. Breathable material like paper towels, dish towel
  5. Rubberband
Instructions
  1. Place kefir grains in a jar.
  2. Pour in milk on top of the grains. For the first batch, add around 1 cup of milk per 1 tablespoon of grains.
  3. Place a breathable cloth on top and secure with a rubber band. I like to use a paper towel folded in half, but a dish towel or something similar would work as well.
  4. Place the jar in a cool, dark place like a cabinet. Let the kefir ferment for 24-48 hours. You will know that it's ready when you tilt the jar slightly and the kefir is thicker and more gel-like instead of just watery milk.
  5. Strain the kefir in a plastic strainer. (Never use metal strainer or spoons. The kefir liquid itself can touch metal but the grains cannot as this can "kill" them.)
Jill's Home Remedies http://jillshomeremedies.com/

How To Make Kefir Taste Yummy

Kefir is similar to yogurt, so flavor it and use it as you would yogurt. Plain kefir is sour, but you can add sugar, honey, berries, etc. to make it taste good. As I mentioned, my favorite way to use it is by making what we call “shakes” (or smoothies).

For every cup of kefir, we add 1 1/2-2 frozen bananas, about 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of flax or chia seeds, and any herbs that I wish to add to our diet at the time. (Right now I’m adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric.)  This is our favorite way, but the options are endless! Experiment and have delicious fun!

Do you make your own kefir? What’s your favorite way to drink it?

Resources

  1. 7 Kefir Benefits and Nutrition Facts. (2017, March 28). Retrieved March 31, 2017, from https://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/
  2. Cultures, Y. N. (n.d.). Commercial Milk Kefir vs Home. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from https://www.yemoos.com/pages/commercial-milk-kefir-vs-home
  3. Surprising Probiotic Count Of Kefir Revealed. (2016, January 24). Retrieved March 31, 2017, from http://www.nourishingplot.com/2015/10/21/surprising-probiotic-count-of-kefir-revealed/

Natural Home Remedies for Joint Pain

Natural Remedies for Joint Pain | Jills Home Remedies | Do you suffer from joint pain? Here are some natural remedies to help you find relief! Today we have a guest article by Helen of Health Ambition

Achy joints and muscles are an unfortunate part of life that we will all inevitably find ourselves dealing with at some point. As I get older, I notice that my arms and legs sometimes hurt just a little more than they did the night before whenever I flex or move them. As the years passed by, I came to realize that I was experiencing this discomfort more frequently.

Changes throughout my life had taken their tolls on my body. I no longer possess the athleticism that I did during my high school sports days, I have given birth to two children and my body has aged.

As an herbalist, I aspire to find natural remedies to aid in just about any aspect of a person’s overall health. There is usually a solution for just about any type of health condition, and joint pain is no exception. As I researched the problem more, I came to find that a couple of the most useful solutions were not concoctions, but simple lifestyle changes.

Natural Remedies for Joint Pain

Consume More Manganese and Magnesium

These two nutrients are prevalent in many of the foods that are most of us accept as being “good for you.” A manganese deficiency can result in frequent joint pain as well as other symptoms that often accompany it, namely sluggishness and fatigue. A magnesium deficiency can also result in similar signs.  

Finding food sources that are rich in these minerals does wonders for your joints, especially if you do not currently have a diagnosis of a pre-existing condition, such as arthritis. I committed to a healthier temporary diet when I noticed my joint pain acting up. Within just a few days, I almost forgot that I had been experiencing discomfort in the first place! Keep in mind, I did not get these nutrients from supplements or multivitamins. Nutrients are far more useful when they come in the form of food as opposed to supplements. Not only are they easier for your body to absorb, but it makes consuming them more enjoyable, too. 

*Note: I supplement with magnesium lotion similar to this one. Unlike pills, this form of magnesium goes right into the bloodstream. Besides eating good food sources, you may find this very beneficial if you are deficient in this mineral. It only takes a drop! -Jill

Exercise More

Exercising may seem like a difficult tip to follow if you are suffering from discomfort. However, it is important to make sure that you are keeping your body active to avoid increasing your levels of pain. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous (in fact, I would advise against it), but it is advisable to at least take a 20-minute walk once a day or so.

Daily exercise regimens will give you a chance to loosen up your joints and keep them from getting too stiff. Depending on where you are experiencing pain, you might want to try some of these exercises. These will help you alleviate discomfort while keeping off unwanted weight. Putting on excessive amounts of fat can cause more strain on your body, making mobility even more difficult for your joints.

Herbal Tea

With or without pain, I am a sucker for just about any type of herbal tea. There are various herbs and spices known to treat symptoms of arthritis and other conditions that cause bodily aches. The beautiful part about this particular method is that you can get creative with it. Brew your tea according to your tastes.

You can try any one of these herbal tea recipes for joint pain or create one of your own using a combination of these ingredients. Even though cayenne, turmeric, and honey don’t sound like they would taste that great in a cup of hot water, you may be surprised.

You can also consume 1-3 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of water every day as it does wonders for joint pain. You can find this amazingly wonderful vinegar here. Your body will thank you for it later.

Natural Remedies for Joint Pain | Jills Home Remedies | Do you suffer from joint pain? Here are some natural remedies to help you find relief!

Turmeric Tea for Joint Pain

Ingredients

1 tsp. Turmeric (buy organic turmeric here)
1/2 tsp. Cayenne (buy organic cayenne here)
Raw Honey (buy raw honey here)
Lemon
1-2 cups water  

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Stir in turmeric and cayenne.
  3. Add honey and lemon to taste.
  4. Drink twice a day for joint pain.
Turmeric Tea for Joint Pain
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1-2 cups water
  2. 1 tsp. Turmeric
  3. 1/2 tsp. Cayenne
  4. Raw Honey
  5. Lemon
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Stir in turmeric and cayenne.
  3. Add honey and lemon to taste.
  4. Drink twice a day for joint pain.
Notes
  1. If the cayenne is too strong for you, use more water or less cayenne.
Adapted from Natural News
Adapted from Natural News
Jill's Home Remedies http://jillshomeremedies.com/

Epsom Salt Baths

Remember how we discussed the usefulness of magnesium for aching joints? Well, Epsom salt is chock-full of it. Its magnesium-rich properties are why it’s one of the more popular methods of ridding yourself of joint aches. Epsom salts have multiple health benefits, but perhaps the most well-known one is its use for treating pain.

People suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even stress have benefited from bathing in a mixture of hot water and Epsom salts. Your body absorbs the magnesium through the skin, directly relieving pain from the affected areas.

To use epsom salts, add a cup of the salt to a bath of water and soak for 20 minutes. Buy epsom salts here.

Find Out what Works Best for You

Everyone’s condition varies on a case-by-case basis, even when it comes to joint pain. It may occur due to natural aging, a lack of physical activity, or joint-related diseases.

Your solution may be as simple as making some changes in your exercise and dietary routines. Even if, however, your condition is one which requires regular attention, it is still never too late to commit to any of these natural remedies.

Do you deal with joint pain? Do you have any natural remedies that work for you? 

h4 Helen is a wife, mother, and the editor at Health Ambition.

Natural Living Spring Giveaway

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With spring right around the corner, it’s time for a natural living giveaway! But not just any natural living giveaway, I have joined with a few naturally minded friends who also want to share a few of their favorite things!

And what happens when 3 herbalists and a chiropractor get together to bless their readers?

You get this amazing package of goodies:

Essential Oils

natural living giveaway
Sara Elizabeth from A Mama’s Story is giving away a mini-diffuser and a bottle of citrus fresh. Citrus Fresh is one of my favorite blends. With its wonderfully uplifting fragrance, I love how it supports clarity and focus.

Ways to use Citrus Fresh in my home:

  • Diffuse around my children while they’re doing school.
  • Add a few drops to a cup of vinegar to soften and freshen clothes in the washer.
  • Add a few drops to a cloth and toss into the dryer to add fragrance to clothes as they dry.
  • In the evenings, I love to add Citrus Fresh to Lavender in my diffuser to promote relaxation.

Herbs

natural living giveaway
I’m shipping a 1/2 pound bag of Red Raspberry Leaf to the winner! This is an herb I keep on hand all the time because it’s so nutritious, beneficial for the whole family, and safe for any age!

Red raspberry leaf boasts a long lists of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are a great benefit for any member of the family. Whether it’s consumed for daily nutrition or as needed nourishment during times of illness, this herb can make a huge difference for the whole family!

While anyone can use this herb, red raspberry is most popular for women’s health. It nourishes the uterus, tones the reproductive areas, and may make for an easier birth for pregnant mamas. It also can help to balance hormones and ease menstrual cramps for all ages.

Organization

natural living giveaway
My friend Nicole of Some Call it Natural is providing an absolute treat, especially if you’re a planner junkie like me. She’s generously giving away one copy of her 2017 Some Call it Natural Planner.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you won a copy, you can head over and purchase one. The planner is available in both an undated and dated format. You can also check out some sample pages while you’re there. Included is just about anything you need to keep your days smoothly.

Homemade Goodness

natural living giveaway
And finally, leave it to my friend Meagan of Growing Up Herbal, to provide something wonderful–a DIY Elderberry Syrup kit! Elderberry syrup is a mainstay in my home, and there’s nothing like one made in a mama’s kitchen. If you haven’t visited Meagan’s site recently, she’s an absolute treasure trove of information.

What an awesome bundle of gifts. Take your time and enter below. Some options can be used once a day, so take advantage of that. Have an awesome week ahead!

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