I personally love the tangy, fresh flavor of coconut milk kefir—not so my son who thinks I’m being quite kind with those adjectives but I do think that is because he first tried store bought cow milk kefir which to me most certainly has a strong fermented, sour flavor.
(Note: you use about 1-2 tablespoons kefir grains in a quart jar of fluids–the picture below shows *lots* more grains than you will ever have/need)
Coconut milk kefir is pleasantly tangy, but the naturally sweet taste of coconut dominates. The texture is smooth, rich and thinner than yogurt. Both the flavor and texture of homemade kefir is superior to any store-bought coconut milk kefir we’ve tried.
Why drink coconut milk kefir? Loads of healthy probiotics. In fact, healthy grains will have nearly 300 different probiotic bacteria and yeast (yes, there are probiotic yeasts).
Although Kombucha and cow-milk-based kefirs (pronounced Keh-FEAR) have become popular in the grocery isle, these are costly and not as healthful as their wrapper and “the buzz” may lead you to believe. The main problem is they are loaded with sugars and flavors and the poor quality of commercial milk…
This is a simple recipe and very very inexpensive to make—much less costly than buying commercial beverages that may not be as good for you or taking probiotics in capsule form.
What are the benefits of coconut kefir?
- We have ten times more bacteria in our gut than cells in our body. Creating an optimal environment for bacterial balance is vital to gut health. Poor bacterial balance can cause blood sugar imbalances, sugar cravings, weight gain, poor immunity, low energy and digestive disturbances.
- Coconut is very healing to your digestive system and liver.
- Regularly drinking coconut milk kefir can help relieve intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, cleanse the endocrine system, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system.
- Adding probiotic foods to your digestive helps your immune system—healthy bacteria and yeast help kill of unwanted pathogens.
- Coconut milk kefir made from grains at home has a high concentration and wide variety of microflora—much more than commercial yogurt. Followers claim it has a much more potent effect on the digestive system than any yogurt
- Kefir also contains beneficial yeasts that are known to hunt out and destroy pathogenic yeasts in the body. Considered the best defense against Candida, beneficial yeasts clean, purify and strengthen the intestinal walls which also helps you resist pathogens such as salmonella and intestinal parasites.
- Kefir consumption is associated with reduce risk of cancer.
- The lactic acid bacteria in kefir appear to block cholesterol re-absorption and lower blood cholesterol.
- The beneficial micro-organisms in kefir also make important nutrients and help you assimilate them, especially proteins, healthy fats, and B vitamins.
If you haven’t made kefir before you’ll first need to acquire some kefir grains. The least expensive option is to try to get extra grains from someone who’s already making kefir. Can check with local members of your Weston A. Price Foundation. Healthy kefir grains multiply; people who regularly make kefir often have extra grains to share with others.
If you can’t find any free grains locally you can also order grains online. I highly recommend this online source for quality kefir grains. If you use this resource, SKIP this next step because the kefir grains are not dehydrated—they arrive ready to go (if sleepy). For now, they still are “waking up” so use the amounts below.
Note: If you are super sensitive to dairy then “rinse” them first: put them in about an inch of coconut milk to start, let them sit a few hours then pour off the liquid through a sieve to get back your grains. Then follow the “making kefir” instructions.
How to rejuvenate dehydrated kefir grains: (most online sources send them dehydrated) then follow the instructions you’ll receive: usually you first re-hydrate kefir grains in a cup of cows’ milk. Set this out at room temperature in a loosely covered glass container. Each day, for 5-7 days, strain the grains out and then place them in a fresh cup of milk. When the batches of milk take on a slight fermented smell and thicken, your grains are ready.
- Combine the kefir grains with coconut milk in a glass container.
- Cover with a cloth secured with a rubber band and let sit in a warm place (68-85 degrees) for 12-24 hours. Once the coconut milk has thickened or you can see the clear whey forming / separating out, and it has a slightly sour flavor, it has turned into kefir.
- That’s it! Remove the grains, refrigerate and enjoy!
- Plan to re-use the grains!! Start a new batch of kefir right away or store the grains in a cup of cows’ milk in the refrigerator.
Helpful Kefir Tips
- Kefir is done when you can visibly see the clear “whey” separate from the creamier, thicker “curds.” This can take varying amounts of time depending on the warmth of the room and the activity of your kefir grains. Don’t let them sit too much longer after this, they are running out of food. A few hours is fine, a whole day would not kill them but might slow them down for your next batch.
- If your first batch of coconut milk kefir doesn’t get as thick or tangy as you’d like, don’t despair. It can sometimes take a few batches to acclimate the kefir grains to coconut milk. Start with the volume of “milk” in the instructions, above. After a few days you can make a whole quart from a tablespoon of kefir grains and I often mix the thicker coconut milk with thinner unsweetened almond milk.
- Never use a metal container to make kefir – this disrupts the process and the kefir won’t thicken. Use glass containers (canning jars work well) and stir with a wood or plastic spoon rather than metal.
- If your kefir doesn’t begin thicken within 24 hours, it might not be warm enough where you have set them. Kefir grains like warmth.
- If your kefir hasn’t thickened at all within 48 hours, throw out the milk and start over by putting the grains in a fresh batch of milk.
- Kefir should have a fermented aroma and can sometimes have a slight effervescence, but it shouldn’t smell foul or unpleasant.
- Kefir grains often multiply quickly. If you find yourself with extra grains, give them away to friends, eat them as extra probiotics, or just throw them away in your trash or compost.
- Kefir grains can be used indefinitely to make kefir, however, if they have been stored it may take a few batches to get them going again. Recommend you store grains for no longer than a week before providing them with fresh milk.
I recommend making a small batch of kefir—about what you will drink every day or two—rather than making a large batch and then storing the grains in the fridge. Kefir grains thrive best when they are allowed to spend most of their time culturing on the counter.
- The grains don’t store well in coconut milk. If you aren’t going to make kefir for a bit , store them in cows’ milk. (you can also return them to cow’s milk if you feel the grains have “slowed down”)I recommend making a small batch of kefir—about what you will drink every day or two—rather than making a large batch and then storing the grains in the fridge. Kefir grains thrive best when they are allowed to spend most of their time culturing on the counter.
De Oliveira, L et al. (2013). Microbiological, technological and therapeutic properties of kefir:Â a natural probiotic beverage. Braz J Microbial, 44(2); 341-349.
Copyright © 2014 Marie Sternquist. All Rights Reserved