Homemade Strawberry Kefir

Homemade strawberry kefir is one of the favorite treats around our house. A spin on the classic strawberry milk, its creamy consistency comes from probiotic kefir and gelatin, rather than overwhelming amount of sugar and artificial fillers.

Kefir beats yogurt and buttermilk in the amount of probiotics

Kefir is one of the most nutrient-dense types of fermented dairy. Properly prepared kefir contains virtually no lactose, and more strains of beneficial lactic bacteria and yeast cultures than yogurts or buttermilk combined. Kefir has unique strains of probiotics that are able to avoid digestion in the small intestine, and settle in the colon. That helps maintain normal gut flora, which is one of the most important factors in preventing disease. Here is how I make kefir at home.

Store-bought strawberries lack in flavor

Unless you have access to fresh home grown strawberries, you probably know that store bought berries often lack in flavor, are watery and picked before their peak. That’s the reason I don’t just toss everything in a blender, and actually go through the trouble of the recipe below.

Maximize strawberry flavor and create creamy texture

Macerating strawberries (resting chopped berries tossed with sugar) releases juice and brings out flavor. I’m using an old trick to cook part of the juice to intensify the flavor even more. Not cooking all the berries keeps that fresh strawberry aroma, as well as their enzymes.

A touch of gelatin adds substance and creaminess. Like all fermented dairy, kefir turns quite liquid after shaking or mixing. Gelatin transforms kefir’s graininess into smooth and glossy consistency of store-bought strawberry kefir. Gelatin is also what prevents unsightly separation of berries and milk. Plus there is no need to shake it! This kefir keeps its silky consistency even after three days. Which is the longest I had it stored ~

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HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY KEFIR

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoons grass fed gelatin (I use Great Lakes Gelatin in orange can)
3 cups kefir
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional, for coloring only: a teaspoon of fresh beet juice (grate 1/4 beet and squeeze its juice through a fine strainer)

Instructions
Roughly chop strawberries, and toss with sugar. Leave for an hour (or more) for juice to release.
Strain 1 cup of juice into a small sauce pan, reserving 3 tablespoons.
Bring strawberry juice to simmer, and cook on low for 10-15 minutes. This will reduce the juice and concentrate strawberry flavor. Cool.
Transfer strawberries and reduced juice to a high-powered blender, mix until completely smooth. Transfer to a Mason jar (I use 1/2 gallon jar, even though it’s too big – it leaves room for shaking). If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you would need to strain strawberry mixture to remove the seeds, it’s kind of a hassle.
Combine reserved 3 tablespoons juice and 1.5 teaspoons of gelatin in your smallest sauce pan. Allow to sit for a few minutes, for gelatin to hydrate. Turn on the flame, and gently warm up until the gelatin just melts, don’t bring it to boil.
Add gelatin mixture to the strawberry jar, shake. Add kefir and vanilla. Shake well until no white kefir grains remain.
Serve cold.

Strawberry Kefir
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 quart
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons grass fed gelatin (I use Great Lakes Gelatin in orange can)
  • 3 cups kefir
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional, for coloring only: a teaspoon of fresh beet juice (grate ¼ beet and squeeze its juice through a fine strainer)
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop strawberries, and toss with sugar. Leave for an hour (or more) for juice to release.
  2. Strain 1 cup of juice into a small sauce pan, reserving 3 tablespoons.
  3. Bring strawberry juice to simmer, and cook on low for 10-15 minutes. This will reduce the juice and concentrate strawberry flavor. Cool.
  4. Transfer strawberries and reduced juice to a high-powered blender, mix until completely smooth. Transfer to a Mason jar (I use 1/2 gallon jar, even though it's too big - it leaves room for shaking). If you don't have a high-powered blender, you would need to strain strawberry mixture to remove the seeds, it's kind of a hassle.
  5. Combine reserved 3 tablespoons juice and 1.5 teaspoons of gelatin in your smallest sauce pan. Allow to sit for a few minutes, for gelatin to hydrate. Turn on the flame, and gently warm up until the gelatin just melts, don't bring it to boil.
  6. Add gelatin mixture to the strawberry jar, shake. Add kefir and vanilla. Shake well until no white kefir grains remain.
  7. Serve cold.
Notes
As with most my recipes, I use less sugar that some might be used to. If you like things more sweet, add more sugar when macerating strawberries

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