What is Kefir?

Fermented foods are all the rage these days. Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are just a few of the popular ones. But what is kefir (usually pronounced “keh-FEER”)? Invented as a way to preserve fresh milk, the outcome is sort of a cross between yogurt and milk and, in all honesty, we had not tried it yet ourselves up until now. So I’m glad we could partner with Maple Hill Creamery on today’s sponsored post to help us learn more about it!

What is Kefir? on 100 Days of Real Food

What Is Kefir?

Kefir is a fermented, cultured dairy beverage, often with a yogurt-like tartness and creamy consistency. As with yogurt, it’s loaded with probiotics, which can help support a healthy digestive system, and comes in both plain and flavored varieties. Maple Hill Creamery uses the following live and active cultures in their Whole Milk Kefir:

Streptococcus thermophilus, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei, L. lactis subsp. lactis, L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis, Leuconostoc cremoris, Bifidobacterium lactis, L. lactis subsp. cremoris, L. acidophilus.

Kefir is said to date back many centuries and gets its name from the kefir “grains” it’s made with – a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter similar to a sourdough starter. But here’s the interesting thing for those with food allergies and sensitivities: kefir is gluten free.

How To Use Kefir

Most people enjoy drinking it as is, but you can certainly enjoy it in other ways too:

  • Add it to a smoothie – use as a base and add your own tweaks (chia, greens, frozen fruit, etc.)
  • Use as a marinade for chicken, beef, or lamb – the acidity helps with tenderizing and adding flavor
  • Pour it over fresh fruit, granola, or warm fruit cobblers/crisps
  • Add it to a homemade popsicle before freezing – makes a very creamy final product!
  • Use as a 1:1 replacement for buttermilk in baking

We tried it both plain and in a smoothie, and our vote was – in a smoothie! Similar to plain yogurt, we found it to be fairly tart by itself, but we enjoyed how creamy it made our fruit smoothie.

What is Kefir? on 100 Days of Real Food

Why Maple Hill Creamery?

Maple Hill Creamery has coined their kefir “The Cleaner Kefir” and here’s why:

  1. Real Fruit
    First of all, they use only real fruit – no “natural flavors.” It’s crazy to me how many unnecessary additives are put into other brands!
  2. No Additives
    They also don’t add any thickeners or stabilizers, which is a plus in my book.
  3. Certified 100% Grass-fed, Full Fat & Organic
    All of Maple Hill Creamery’s products use only 100% grass-fed full-fat organic milk, something that I feel strongly about.
  4. No or Low Sugar
    The plain version (my real food flavor of choice) contains no added sugar. Though the vanilla and strawberry flavors do contain added refined sugar, they are among the lowest sugar kefir on the market—less than two teaspoons per 8 oz serving. And the newest flavor – maple – is sweetened with just good ole unrefined maple syrup. Something rare to find in the dairy aisle!

Maple Hill Creamery originally began in 2009 with just one family and one farm, and today it has grown to over 100 small family farms from which they source their milk.  When the owners, Tim and Laura Joseph, first started, they had no farming experience (and had never even milked a cow!). But they received a fast education when sixty-four cows stepped off the trailers. The Josephs began as conventional dairy farmers but quickly became enamored with organic practices and soon made the switch.

Soon after they transitioned their cows to a diet of 100% grass, they noticed that their cows’ health vastly improved. Tim later created their hallmark creamline yogurt recipe on the kitchen stove and converted a neighbor’s old barbecue restaurant to a yogurt and cheese making facility. Fast forward to today when they’ve achieved tremendous growth, and they still stay committed to their original mission: leading the charge in expanding the 100% grass-fed organic dairy system and crafting the highest quality dairy products to be enjoyed by all.

If you haven’t tried Maple Hill Creamery’s kefir yet, or if you are already a fan – we have a coupon for you. Find a store near you and enjoy $1.00 off of your purchase. There is a limited quantity, first come, first serve.

Save $1 on Maple Hill Creamery Yogurt or Kefir on 100 Days of Real Food

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5 thoughts on “What is Kefir?”

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  1. Homemade kefir is super easy to make! We do milk and water kefir. I can tell a big difference in my digestive health when I am having kefir daily and its much cheaper for a family than buying probiotics.

  2. There is, however a similar drink that does NOT contain milk called water kefir — similar (but different) kefir grains are added to a water + sugar mixture and the bacteria eats the sugar causing the drink to get fizzie.

  3. Mary Kellerbauer

    A side note. It may. Or be wise to know that if you don’t like the taste of yogurt you most likely will not like milk keifer.