A Brief History of Kefir

Have you heard about water kefir yet? While many people have become familiar with a popular fermented beverage called "kombucha", water kefir remains a much lesser known fermented beverage. 

According to Sandor Ellix Katz, author or one of my favorite books, 'Wild Fermentation', "The kefir story is full of intrigue. The first kefir grains are said to have been a gift from Allah, delivered by his prophet Mohammed. The grains were treasured by the people who possessed them, passed down from generation to generation, and definitely not shared with strangers. Early in the twentieth century, the "All Russian Physicians' Society" became interested in obtaining the mysterious source of this healthful drink. Since the keepers of the grains did not wish to share them, this required deception and culture thievery. The scheme involved a young Russian woman named Irina Sakharova, whom the physicians hoped would be able to charm a Caucasus prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov, into giving her some kefir grains. He refused, she tried to leave, he had her kidnapped, she was rescued, and he was charged in the Czar's courts. For reparations, the young woman was awarded the treasure she sought; the court ordered the prince to give her some of his cherished kefir grains. In 1908, she brought the first kefir grains to Moscow. Kefir became, and remains to this day, a popular drink in Russia. In 1973, at age 85, Irina Sakharova was formally recognized by the Soviet Ministry of Health for her role in bringing kefir to the Russian people".

Wow! Isn't that amazing? And now thanks to that woman I have a fridge full of both milk kefir and water kefir to keep my family healthy!

I make both kombucha and water kefir (and milk kefir), but my first choice of beverage between the two, is definitely water kefir. It actually has more probiotic strains than kombucha and takes much less time to make. It is the perfect beverage for a hot summer day! Unlike kombucha, which has about a 2% alcohol content, water kefir is alcohol free, making it a wonderful probiotic drink for children, as well as adults! My son guzzles it!