Milk Kefir – A Summer Essential.

Milk kefirYou can definitely smell Autumn in the air… So, to bid farewell to Summer, we decided to have a typical Polish Summer midday meal yesterday.

I didn’t say lunch, because technically what we had wasn’t a lunch. In Poland, the main and the most substantial meal of the day is typically eaten in the early afternoon. It is a compromise between the Eastern European tradition of eating the main meal at noon and the modern lifestyle shifting the human activity more and more towards the evening.

Back to the topic, we wanted to feel summery for the last time this year, so we had: boiled potatoes, fried eggs, cucumber salad (called in Polish mizeria) and kefir.  This is what both of us, OBH and me, remember from our childhood as a quintessential Summer meal.

For some reasons drinking fermented milk products in Summer is very common in Poland and it is hard to establish why. I think, it has something to do with their ability to prevent the food poisoning and being a pleasurable way to stay hydrated.

Whatever reason, I love drinking kefir and buttermilk on hot days, well, actually on all days. I wrote a separate post about buttermilk, so let me focus on kefir for the moment.

I grew up on milk kefir and I strongly recommend it everyone, who doesn’t suffer from the severe milk intolerance.

I said ‘severe’ because most of the lactose in milk is broken down during the fermentation. It is even suggested that drinking milk kefir helps to cure the lactose intolerance. However, what happens with casein during the fermentation is controversial and it is rather recommended to stay away from ALL the milk products if you are allergic to this protein.

 Kefir can appear similar to yoghurt but they contain completely different kinds of bacteria. In short, yoghurt bacteria help to clean the gut, but cannot colonise it, whereas kefir bacteria can. Also, kefir contains friendly yeast strains that fight pathogenic yeast in the mucosal lining and yoghurt does not.

The list of the health benefits of kefir is long. It is claimed to improve digestion, protect from a leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease as well as to cure stomach infections and even ulcers. It is believed that Kefir helps to balance the immune cells in the gut lining which boosts the overall immunity. On top of this, it shows cancerogenic properties.

(read more: Why you should drink kefir? and  Kefir contains anticancerous properties.)

You can make milk kefir at home and I will write about in my next post.

However, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t try to convince my readers to visit an Eastern European shop. It is a cheap and easy way to taste kefir and other products if you want to start your Fermented Food adventure.

So, go there and look for Polish kefir:

polish kefir polish kefir2 polish kefir3

or Lithuanian kefir:

kefir lithuanian kefir2 lithuanian kefir3

or Russian russian kefir



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