Happy Birthday, Dear Kefir!
Just a little over a year ago, a certain special colony of yeast and bacteria came into my life.
It works its magic after being lowered into milk that has come to room temperature.
After being shaken to distribute the grains, the jar is placed in our cupboard. Depending on the weather and the colony’s mood (influenced by vacations in the coolness of the refrigerator), a fresh batch of kefir is ready to go in one to two days. It is done when it thickens to a creamlike consistency. The grains are removed before serving and can either be immediately used again or covered with a little milk and retired to the fridge until needed.
It has taken me nearly a year to warm up to kefir. The first few batches that TC made were too sour for my taste, so my interest waned. I remained comforted by the fact that he repeatedly drinks something quite healthy; there are much worse habits than sour milk products! Moved by the same spirit that led me to experiment with cabbage recently, I decided to give kefir another try. The buckwheat pancakes made with kefir instead of milk (ratio 1 part kefir : 1 part buckwheat flour : 1 part water) were a success. Perhaps TC has fine-tuned his technique, or our kefir is mellowing with age. The last few times I’ve sipped the results, they weren’t as sour as I remembered the first batches.
We acquired our kefir last year at the annual plant market that takes place the last weekend in April. As always, it is hard to restrain myself when I see all that green. Meet the newest additions to my balcony and garden:
From left to right, somehow: cherry tomato “Cherry Roma”, ground cherry (Physalis pruinosa), cherry tomato “Bombolino d’Inverno”, lettuce “Catalogna” (Latuca sativa var. crispa), pepper “Piccante Moretti”, chili pepper “Cayenne”, perennial kale (Brassica oleracea var. ramosa), Alpine strawberry “Rügen” (Fragaria vesca f. semperflorens), cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), sage. All but the cardoon have been transplanted, the majority finding a home on the balcony. Next step: transplanting patient peppers, rapidly spreading squash, and the aforementioned cardoon into the garden. But first, it has to stop raining!