The History of Milk Kefir

Where do Kefir grains come from?

The history of milk kefir was initially part of a legend and a bit mysterious too. People living in the northern slopes of Mountain Caucasian believe that Muhammad, the Great Prophet gave kefir grains to the Orthodox people and showed them how to make kefir. They guarded the grains and the knowledge given to them by the Prophet for fear of losing their strength. The kefir grains became the families and the tribe’s wealth, and the uses and techniques of preparation were known to the future generations only.

Milk kefir grains

Milk kefir grains

What is Kefir?

Kefir is a milk product made from the milk of goats, cows, and sheep also. There were sacks made of animal skin in which kefir was made. The sacks were kept so that they came in contact with direct sunlight, which helped in the fermenting process of the milk. In the evening, the sacks were carried back home and hung behind the doors so that people passing the door would prod them with their hands or feet so that the content mixes well. More fresh milk was added after the kefir was taken out so that the fermentation process did not stop. These people enjoyed this whole food for many years. They believed that the beverage prepared with it had magical properties.

How Kefir became well-known over the world?

However, around the 19th century, Russian doctors believed that kefir had excellent healing properties like treating tuberculosis and other intestinal disorders and published the first scientific research studies. To produce kefir grains, the source of the grains was required urgently to use this unique food for treating ailing patients. The Blandov brothers owned a Dairy in Moscow and properties in the Mountains of the Caucasus area. They were asked to gather the grains of kefir to be manufactured on a large scale in Moscow itself. Although it was not an easy process, finally, the grains were brought to Russia by princess Irina and the first bottles of kefir drink were on sale in Moscow in 1908. They were consumed especially for medicinal values. In the 1930s, commercial production began in large quantities.

Since the original method was not appropriate for large-scale manufacturing, scientific methods were used to obtain this good food. In the 1950s, VNIMI invented more straightforward ways, including fermentation, agitation, coagulation, ripening, and cooling in massive vessels. The Soviet Food Minister thanked Irina for bringing these valuable grains to Russia. Today, kefir is the most popularly used fermented milk in Russia. In modern times, kefir is manufactured in Finland, Norway, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia, and other places also like the USA, West Germany, Canada, and Denmark on a commercial scale.

What kefir grains look like and their health benefits

Kefir grains look like small-size cauliflower, more or less like wheat kernels. They are processed in such a way in leather sacks that they naturally ferment. These grains contain innumerable gelatinous micro-organisms and casein that are symbiotically grown together. Yeast is also present in the grains. These microorganisms are beneficial for health and make kefir so different from other milk products cultured in different ways. This self-carbonated beverage has probiotic properties and offers medicinal benefits, for which the effervescent drink is so popular worldwide. It contains high calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, K2, enzymes, folate and biotin, and other unique nutrients that boost immunity, increase bone density, fight allergies, support detoxification, and improve lactose digestion well.

Milk kefir grains are named differently in different places like Kefir Yogurt, Snow Lotus, Kewra, Bulgaros, The Grains of The Prophet Mohammad, Tibetan Mushroom, Yogurt Plant, to name a few. It is a fantastic drink that is enjoyed by all.

Milk kefir grains floating in raw milk

Milk kefir grains floating in raw milk

Where can you purchase kefir grains?

Getting fresh kefir grains from a friend who is currently producing kefir at home is often the simplest method to obtain them. They can also be ordered online, but they must be transported quickly and placed directly in fresh milk upon delivery, or else they will become disturbed and perish owing to a lack of food.

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