Milk Kefir: Learning to Use it Every Single Day

In case you missed the previous posts in the Milk Kefir series we’ve been making our way through, here are the previous posts:

I’d like to wrap this series up today with some thoughts on actually using that milk kefir every day, and how it can be a blessing to the busy home cook. If you choose to keep making kefir on a continual basis, then you should have plenty of it. Figuring out what to do with it all can be the next challenge.

Thankfully kefir can be used in myriad ways in the kitchen and at the table. It’s no secret that our family loves milk kefir, and certainly not solely for its tangy flavor. Learning how to use it in all sorts of ways – sweet & savory, smoothies & dips, salad dressings & drinks – really revolutionized the cultured dairy making and eating that goes on in our home.

Here’s what happened…

When we moved off-grid I stopped making yogurt. I stopped making creme fraiche. Actually, I stopped making a lot of things.

I had two small children with one on the way, was helping my husband build our homestead from scratch, living off-grid with all of the extra to-dos that are involved, and working on out-of-the-home projects more than ever.

In short, I needed everything else to be simple. But I valued cultured foods for our health too much to cut them out. So I researched and found that I could use kefir for just about all of our dairying needs.

There’s…

And then there’s the many ways you can use all of these. It became the base of all of our salad dressings. It became the stuff we poured over fruit and nuts for breakfast. It became a straight-from-the-glass addition to a meal when we needed some enzymes and good bacteria.

It turned into a dip or spread mixed with the yumminess of banana and peanut butter. It topped spicy curries and chilis. It dressed a fruit salad with no more than a splash of lemon and vanilla.

In short, it fulfilled all of our cultured dairy needs with one simple counter top culture to keep track of. It’s exactly what I needed at the time and it will continue to play that role in our kitchen because we love it, it makes my life simple, and it is just so flexible.

Some days I would use it in up to three meals a day, other days it would just be one. But it was flexible, and so was I. So if we had a little leftover it would get saved for the next day. And when there was just too much we fed it to the chickens and they went crazy over it.

The point is, you can do all sorts of things with milk kefir and it just might become one of the most useful food items in your kitchen.

How do you make use of your milk kefir?

Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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Milk Kefir FAQ
Read about common questions people have about making and using kefir.

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Comments

  1. says

    First thing every morning I have a glass of kefir with sea salt diluted a bit with water. If you have a way to keep it cold it’s also great after a hot afternoon of work. I was thinking that with a dash of Tabasco it would be reminiscent of Snappy Tom. I also add about 1/2 a teaspoon to my sourdough starter when refreshing and sometimes use it in place of starter for making flatbreads.

    • Rosalyn says

      Those are some great ideas, Judy! I usually think of kefir as a base for sweet drinks myself, but those savory additions are tempting!

  2. Julie says

    How long will milk kefir and kefir cheese retain healthful properties if not refrigerated? I’m going camping soon, no cooler, and would like to bring either along.

    • says

      Julie – It should retain its healthful properties right up until the point that is actually spoils. Because it is cultured, it should last a bit longer than milk. Just keep an eye on it and if you notice mold or a “bad” smell then perhaps it is past its prime.

  3. Jennifer says

    I have only used it in breakfast smoothies. We first started drinking it by adding frozen banana, frozen strawberries and a few frozen blueberries, egg yolk, nutritional yeast and coconut oil. We had to add maple syrup at first but then liked it just sweetened with fruit. I will try the hard cheese when I get making it again. I also plan on making soft cheese for use in all the usual recipes.

  4. Christy White says

    I like to blend it up with some fruit and then pour it over granola–instead of milk. I use it in place of buttermilk in any recipe. I also like to separate it from the whey by letting it drip through a coffee filter overnight in the fridge. Then I make dips with the remaining kefir “cheese”. So delicious!

  5. Mina says

    We drink it everyday straight up. But I have been separating the kefir by straining it through a coffee filter and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. End result is clear whey which I use to culture my vegtables with and left over in the filter is cheese! Add some salt and dill and it’s a great dip for veggies!

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