benefits of organic milk – kefir

We have started making our own kefir fermented milk products.  Kefir originated when shepherds discovered that milk carried in leather pouches would ferment and produce a fermented beverage which has a pleasing taste, once your are accustomed to it.

We were given a starter culture and the procedure is you add milk to the kefir grains and allow it to ferment for 24 hours at room temperature.  A tablespoon of the kefir grains is adequate for 8 ozs of milk.  After 24 hours the grains have converted the lactose in the milk to lactic acid.  You strain off the product and it contains probiotic bacteria and fungi which are great for GI health.  You return to your jar the residue in the strainer and top it up with fresh milk and 24 hours later you have more kefir.  You can blend the kefir with frozen blueberries or strawberries and add some honey to produce a smoothie.

Initially we added the kefir starter grains to 1% conventional milk and they were unhappy and refused to do their magic dance.  We do not have easy access to raw milk and besides we (currently) have little use for the fat/cream which comes with the milk.  We do not usually use organic milk. but on an inspiration we switched to 1% organic milk and the kefir is thriving.

So when studies are done on the benefits of organic produce and focus only on nutritional content, they are overlooking possible components such as anti-biotics in conventional milk.  The question is whether these overlooked components affect not only the bacteria in kefir but the bacteria in our GI tract and therefore our health.

5 thoughts on “benefits of organic milk – kefir”

  1. I think this explains a lot about the taste of cheese too.

    A local farmer friend of mine makes his own cheese from his own grass fed cows. His cheese is really delicious, and he explained to me once that the taste all comes down to the bacteria. He works in a clean but not sterile environment, and allows wild spores to inoculate his cheese. This means every batch of his cheese is different, and in particular changes from season to season.

    Historically I guess this is what used to make the differences from one farm or region to the next.

    Of course modern farmers don’t want that kind of variability in their products. Cheddar cheese has to taste the same no matter where it’s made! For modern farmers, it’s probably an advantage to have milk that won’t accept inoculation from a culture.

    1. Modern farmers or modern consumers? Actually, it’s probably neither. When you have large production, processing, and distribution systems, everything is blended. Blends give you no unpleasant surprises. Unfortunately you also get no pleasant surprises. Think of non-vintage aka blended wines and 100% vintage wines.

      This year was a tough one for our bees – a very early warm spring, followed by an extended cold spell, followed by a summer long drought. We decided that we would not ask them for honey again this year. During one of our monthly hive checks, I had to separate two frames where the comb had crossed a bit. A small chunk of comb broke off which we kept. I have never tasted honey like that before – the closest I have come to it was some orange blossom honey that I had once in Florida. Not only was it from one hive but it was from part of one frame. Definitely not a blend.

      1. Blending provides consistency which enables establishing brands like Johnny Walker Red or Dewar’s White Label whisky and, as you say, you aren’t surprised or disappointed, you know what you are buying. Blending can also be profitable when you blend poorer wines, which may not have sold, with different wines to produce an acceptable result. And our palates become dulled since they are no longer required to differentiate, which may be just as well since a lot of the fruits and vegetables are tasteless.

    1. Perhaps Australian milk is more hospitable to new life or your grains are more resilient? I like your website.

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