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The Kefir ‘Novelty’ And Why You Should Have Kefir On Your Grocery List

The entire buzz currently surrounding Kefir may make it look like kefir is a recently discovered serendipity in the food industry but to tell you the truth, kefir is really an ancient food that has been around for more than 2000 years! Clearly, the food has stood the test and taste of time, at least in the parts of the world from where it originated. So, it must be good, healthy and wholesome for you, not to mention natural, since there was hardly any processing technology worth mentioning two millennia back!

So why do you think there has been so much recent fuss around such an old food? The reason is fairly simple: Kefir is new; to us here in the United States, Canada and Australia. Kefir was originally made by the local shepherds and village folks who lived in the area around the Caucasian mountains thousands of years ago. Kefir is not new to countries like Russia, Georgia, Azarbaijan, Armenia, Chechnya and even in Turkey, where it is widely consumed even today as a beverage as well as used as an ingredient in some of their local recipes. History texts show that kefir was commonly used as an ingredient in preparing certain foods in the Ottoman Empire!

If kefir is really so old, how come we did not catch on to it earlier? Given the food fads that grab our attention from time to time coupled with the fact that the health and diet food industry is such a big market here in the United States, I see mainly two reasons for kefir not catching the American imagination and it has to do primarily with taste. The other is natural kefir’s shelf life.

You see natural kefir is a fermented and thus a probiotic drink. Kefir grains are added to cow, sheep or goat milk and the milk is then allowed to ferment.

Kefir tastes mildly sour at best; some would even go on to call it tarty, effervescent or say that kefir has a bready-yeastiness about it! But beware, not all kefir tastes the same! If you try kefir made from various milk sources like cow, sheep, goat or camel, you’ll see the flavours do differ. Flavors will also differ according to the temperatures at which milk ferments. Besides, kefir should be used within 2-3 days in cool weather and not more than a week if refrigerated. In other words, natural, organic and kefir that is not adulterated with other chemicals and additives does not carry or store long.