Kefir Grains- What Are They? (and what I love about them!)
Kefir grains are officially a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast)… fancy words huh? Basically that just means that it is a group of bacteria and yeast that live happily ever after, in harmony and balance, and they make my favorite healthy drink!
Milk Kefir Grains- No one has ever been able to make kefir grains in modern times at home. In ancient times there are stories of sheep stomach sacs filled with milk hanging next to a door, and everyone who came through the door would give it a knock thereby stirring the contents. From this sac would come a fermented beverage known by many names (including kefir of course) and along the lining of the sac would form harder clumps which could then be used to make kefir.
Some scientist in Iran made kefir grains and in documented history, this is the first time we know of that someone set out to make kefir grains and succeeded. I wrote about that here… How To Make Kefir Grains At Home.
Water Kefir Grains- According to a Wikipedia article water kefir grains are found in many different cultures around the world, with no 2 being exactly the same. As with milk kefir grains, the exact origin is not known, although current theory points to Mexico as being the country of origin. A scientific paper written in 1889 talks about "Tibi", which is another word for water kefir grains, growing as hard grains on the leaves of a certain cactus plant and being able to ferment sugar water. Like the milk kefir grains, no scientist has ever been able to make the water kefir grains without first having the grains themselves.
I do love kefir grains. They are living things. In my home they have become as important as my pets in my life. I feed them, and keep them clean and warm, provide an environment in which they can thrive, and in return they provide me with a drink that has so many health benefits that I feel as if my very life depends on them.