Where do kefir grains come from? It's a bit of a mystery...
Kefir grains are a naturally occurring gift from nature. They are living micro-organisms and are NOT man-made. No one knows exactly where or when the actual kefir grains first appeared; opinion varies from hundreds to maybe even thousands of years ago! What is known, is that kefir grains originated from the Northern Caucasus Mountains, where they evolved into being over a very long time of fermenting milk in animal skins. Drinks from Real kefir grains are not to be confused with kefir style which imitates real kefir by taking a laboratory-made blends of different strains of bacteria which give similar taste etc of real kefir produce a drinks (confusingly also called kefir) but not made from kefir grains. (We always make our drinks with kefir grains!)
A 'Gift' from the Gods?
The local people of the Caucasus Mountains are said to have discovered kefir a thousand years ago.
Others believed it was a 'miraculous' gift from Mohamad - exclusively for them.
The grains were reported to be treated like precious jewels in each family, because of their ability to preserve and enhance milk.
As part of its mystery, kefir is closely linked to the longevity of the Caucasian people, who were known to live long and healthy lives, with many centenarians among them. Professor Elie Metchnikoff refers to kefir grains in his 1907 book "The Prolongation of Life" where he observed that good (or bad) bacteria appear to have a direct effect on health. See our testimonials
The word 'kefir' comes from the Turkish language and roughly translated means 'long life' or 'good life'!
Spreading the word...
According to legend, the Caucasian people were possessive of their precious kefir, and wanted to keep it just for themselves. Luckily for us they didn't succeed… and at the turn of the twentieth century, stories about kefir leaked out about it's amazing properties that were deemed to be the good health of the locals who were drinking it - and their old age. Back then good gut bacteria was unknown... but it was the beginning of pioneering scientific exploration that lead to the term probiotic being coined by Elie Metchnikoff. Probiotic meaning pro-life - and that is exactly what kefir grains are. They have taken a while to take off in the UK because our taste-buds were not really happy with the sour taste of kefir. Scientific papers from the 80's that said consumer palate rejected the taste of kefir - preferring the more neutral taste of yoghurt. Times have changed and kefir is gaining in popularity in the UK since our launch in 2007!
Kefir is a staple for your fridge
It is widely consumed throughout Eastern and Central Europe, where the drink is associated with general well being. It is given to children in primary schools to help them concentrate, as well as the elderly in nursing homes and of course anyone with digestive 'issues'. Most people who grew up on kefir will tell you 'it's good for you', or that their Grandmother used to make it and swore by it!
We launched our brand Nourish in 2007. Like the village tribes from the Caucasus we use an 'authentic' fermentation ritual with our precious grains, to make real kefir! We can testify that it is one amazing, natural and delicious drink that is worth having in your fridge! Read on to find out more, or order here