Healthy bacteria is a term that I keep hearing lately. These bacteria in the gut are crucial to our health. They work to destroy ‘bad’ bacteria and keep our immune system in check, our digestion ticking over and our overall health and vitality in good condition.
Kefir is a fermented dairy milk drink, made by adding a live culture of yeast, milk proteins and bacteria to milk and leaving it to ferment for 24 hours. The result? A tartly flavoured drink, loaded with probiotic health benefits, reminiscent of, and with a consistency between, milk and yoghurt. It can be made with non-dairy alternatives including coconut, goat’s or rice milk, but works best with full-fat cows milk. Kefir is naturally very low in lactose and so easier if you’re lactose intolerant to digest, it also contains many compounds and nutrients, like biotin and folate, that help kick your immune system into gear. In Sweden, they drink filmjölk, also known as fil, very similar to kefir a traditional fermented milk and less tart. The bacteria in filmjölk produce folic acid, an important vitamin for the development of growing cells. Filmjölk is also high in lactic acid, which is known to improve the nutritional value of food, and may alleviate intestinal infections and improve the digestion of lactose. It is available from Ocado in the UK.
So what other foods should we be eating to get the good bacteria going? Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha tea and kimchi have all been promoted as the next big superfoods because they contain probiotics, for me I think it’s kefir, for now, blended with blueberries and ground oats to make a delicious breakfast drink.
You can now buy kefir from many supermarkets but it couldn’t be more simple to make, all you need is the starter culture. I bought mine online, each sachet weighs 1g and makes 1.1 litres of kefir. Bring 1.1 litres of whole milk to the boil and remove from the heat. Cool to 25C – 30C and then add the contents of the sachet, stir well. Cover the mixture and incubate between 25C – 30C for approximately 24-48 hours, (above the fridge or in the airy cupboard would probably be the warmest places). Once it has set, place in the fridge to chill for up to 4 hours before drinking. Once you have made this you can re-culture from it.
Kefir & Blueberry Breakfast Drink
Yield 1 Servings
There really isn't a recipe for this but here are rough quantities to make one glassfull. The trick is to use frozen blueberries, firstly it's winter and they are not going to be coming from Europe, secondly the frozen berries will have been picked at their prime so naturally sweet therefore you won't need to add any extra honey or sugar.
- 15g Rolled Oats
- 200g Kefir
- 150g Frozen Blueberries
There really isn't a recipe for this but here are rough quantities to make one glassful. The trick is to use frozen blueberries, firstly it's winter and they are not going to be coming from Europe, secondly the frozen berries will have been picked at their prime so naturally sweet therefore you won't need to add any extra honey or sugar.