Kefir is a fermented milk product with a delicious taste that is enjoyed throughout Europe for its unique flavor and health benefits. Kefir has a consistency lighter than yogurt, but different because of its carbonated nature and characteristic tangy flavor. Kefir, whose name comes from the Turkish word for “well-being,” has a long history of use in treating everything from stomach ulcers to pneumonia. Originally made by fermenting milk in sheep hide bags, it is now made by adding culture to the milk. The resulting kefir contains naturally occurring probiotic bacteria that offers health benefits. On top of being packed with nutrients, kefir is easily digested and can help to relieve common gastrointestinal problems, including lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. It is an extremely high source of protein and calcium, and rich in B vitamins. Kefir can be used in a multitude of recipes or enjoyed by itself as a beverage or with a spoon.
Because of the carbonated nature of kefir there is always some pressure under the seal and the top of the container should bulge slightly.