As a nutritionist, is homemade kefir better than store bought versions?The answer is YES!
While both homemade and store-bought kefir can offer similar benefits, there are some key differences that I will help you explore in this blog.
Is Homemade Kefir Better Than Store Bought: 11 Reasons to Make Your Own
Kefir is a fermented dairy product that has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous health benefits. It is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains. While kefir can be purchased at most grocery stores, I recommend making your very own at home for these reasons –
1. Homemade Kefir is Fresher Than The Store Bought One
The very first advantage of homemade kefir over store-bought kefir is that it is fresher. When making kefir at home, you have control over the fermentation time and can consume it when it is at its freshest.
The store bought kefir is made in a way that it sits on the shelf for a longer time. This can cause its nutritional content to degrade. By making kefir at home, you can ensure that you are consuming the freshest product possible, which may provide greater health benefits.
2. Homemade Kefir is Free From Preservatives & Additives
This is the most important difference between homemade and store bought kefir. While some store-bought kefir products may contain added sugars, artificial flavors, or other additives to enhance the taste or extend the shelf life, homemade kefir is made with only two ingredients: milk and kefir grains.
By making kefir at home, you can ensure that you are consuming a natural and wholesome product. This chemical free product is especially beneficial for people who have food sensitivities or allergies.
3. Homemade Kefir is Nutritionally Superior to Commercially Made Kefir
Yet another advantage of homemade kefir is that it may be nutritionally superior to store bought kefir. This is because the nutritional content of kefir can vary based on the quality of the milk and the fermentation process.
When making kefir at home, you can choose the best quality fresh milk. You can also choose organic or grass-fed milk, which may contain higher levels of essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Homemade Kefir Have More Diverse Probiotic Strains in Comparison to Store Bought Kefir
In store-bought kefir, the number of beneficial bacteria and yeast strains are limited because of partial fermentation of milk. Packaging requires fermentation to be suppressed so that carbonation caused by fermentation does not cause explosion of the bottles. Also, commercial kefir products are often made with a limited number of standardized strains of bacteria usually ranging up to 10.
Homemade kefir made with a live culture of kefir grains, may contain a wider variety of probiotic strains compared to store-bought kefir. By making kefir at home, you can enjoy a more diverse and beneficial range of probiotics (50-60), which may provide greater health benefits.
5. Homemade Kefir Has a Different Taste & Texture Than Store Bought Varieties
Store bought kefir varieties are generally tweaked to make them more palpable. The additives and flavourings make it less like what it is meant to be – sweet and only slightly sour.
Homemade kefir has a unique taste and texture. It is often tangier and more complex than the milder flavor of store-bought kefir. Additionally, homemade kefir has a thicker and creamier texture, which can be especially enjoyable for those who like a richer, more substantial beverage. .
6. Money Matters: Making Kefir At Home is More Cost Effective
Another benefit of homemade kefir is that it’s less expensive than store-bought kefir in the long run. Good quality kefir grains might seem very expensive, but they will last you a lifetime. Once you have the kefir grains, you can continue to use them to make kefir indefinitely.
Store-bought kefir, on the other hand, may be more convenient but can be quite expensive, especially if you consume it regularly.
7. You can Make Homemade Kefir With any Type of Milk or Base
When you go to a grocery store, you will only see very limited types of kefir on the shelves. You will usually find cow milk based kefirs and some vegan options like coconut kefir or water kefir.
When you are making kefir at home, you have the liberty of choosing the base. You can use animal milk such as cow milk, goat milk or sheep milk or non-dairy milks such as soy, rice, almond milk, etc.
8. You Can Experiment Flavourings In Your Homemade Kefir
One of the great things about making kefir at home is that you can experiment with different flavorings to create a customised and delicious beverage. While plain kefir can be quite tasty on its own, you can add a variety of ingredients to enhance its flavour and nutritional content.
You can add fresh or frozen fruit, such as berries, peaches, or mango, to create a fruity and refreshing kefir smoothie. You can also add honey or maple syrup to sweeten the kefir, or spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg to give it a comforting flavour.
9. Make More than Just kefir At Home Using Kefir Grains
In addition to making kefir, there are many other things you can do with kefir grains at home. Kefir grains can be used to ferment other types of dairy products such as heavy cream.
The creamy and tangy kefir cream cheese is a great replacement for the regular cream cheese. With a little creativity and experimentation, the possibilities for using kefir grains are virtually endless.
10. Making Homemade Kefir Will Give You a Bounty of Kefir Grains
When you make kefir at home, you will quickly find that kefir grains have a remarkable ability to multiply. If you make kefir regularly, overtime you will end up with more kefir grains than you know what to do with!
Share the kefir grains with friends and family or use kefir grains in other ways. You can put the grains in your smoothies or dips or eat them as such. You can even feed them to your pets, who by the way will love them.
11. Reduce Wastage By Making Your Own Kefir at Home
One final advantage of homemade kefir is that it reduces wastage. I see that most brands selling kefir do so in plastic bottles which are not sustainable. Also, sometimes they sell kefir in quantities that are difficult to finish before expiry. Result – food wastage.
By making your own kefir at home, you can control the amount that you make and ensure that you are able to consume it before it goes bad. You also avoid all the extra bottles plastic or otherwise.
So, is homemade kefir better than store bought kefir? It depends on your priorities. If you’re looking for the most nutrient-dense and cost-effective option, homemade kefir is probably your best bet. However, if you prioritize convenience and variety, store-bought kefir might be a better choice for you.