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Kefir in jars and spoon

What is kefir?

Kefir is a cultured milk product, originally from the Caucasian Mountains. It is made by fermenting milk with yeast and a variety of bacteria. Kefir has many health benefits due to its high nutrient content (such as protein, vitamin D and calcium) as well as its probiotic properties.

What is the difference between kefir and yogurt?

Yogurt and kefir are both nutritious fermented milk products, but there are three main differences:

  • Yogurt is cultured by adding bacteria to milk. Kefir is cultured by adding bacteria AND yeast to milk.
  • Yogurt needs to be cultured at warm temperatures whereas kefir is cultured at room temperature.
  • Kefir is typically thinner than yogurt, and can be consumed as a beverage, although both make great additions to a smoothie!

Can people with lactose intolerance drink kefir?

Both yogurt and kefir are usually well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance because both contain live cultures that help to break down the milk sugar (lactose).

Where can I get kefir?

Kefir is available in the dairy section of the grocery store. You can also make your own. Kefir starter kits or kefir grains are available in many specialty food stores and all it takes is BC milk, the starter or grains, a container, and space on your counter! We also have a recipe, so you can make your own kefir at home.

How can I use kefir?

It can be drunk on its own as a beverage, added to smoothies, poured over cereal or used in many ways that call for yogurt or milk. For a simple smoothie idea, blend together 3/4 cup of frozen fruit with 1 cup of kefir and enjoy!

To find out more about the different dairy products you can find in BC, check out the Dairy Dictionary: http://bcdairy.ca/milk/articles/dairy-dictionary/.

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by Nicole Spencer, MEd, RD

Posted in

All About Milk Articles, Nutrition Education Articles

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  • Barbara, yes, it is safe to drink the granules. However, if you are making your own kefir these granules are your valuable starter for the next batch. When your grains are tiny, use a very fine mesh sieve to co... more
    Barbara, yes, it is safe to drink the granules. However, if you are making your own kefir these granules are your valuable starter for the next batch. When your grains are tiny, use a very fine mesh sieve to collect them. Over time the grains will multiply and become a bigger mass that won't slip through your sieve. Check out our article on making kefir for more information: https://bcdairy.ca/milk/recipes/make-your-own-kefir less
  • Is it safe to drink the granules passed through the sieve. Thank you Barbara