Yesterday I was reminded of the importance of Vitamin K2 to help deal with many diseases; one being Parkinson’s. One of the best food sources of Vitamin K 2 is fermented foods. I knew this, but again needed this reminder so that I would prepare & serve fermented foods more often.

One simple fermented food that we use and enjoy is kefir so it is time to replenish my supply in the fridge. I want to use the 2 litres that I have left from the last batch I made & separate it into soft cream cheese and whey.

I want to use the cream cheese to make a healthier version of lemon pie filling.

Put the two jars of kefir into a pot on the counter with nicely warmed water. Cover with a lid and leave for 2 hours. When the kefir is separated into about half whey and half soft cream cheese, drain in a cheese cloth or a piece of nylon. If it hasn’t separated to that point yet, feel free to add some warmer water to the pot and leave it a bit longer.
When done, save the whey in a glass jar in the fridge to use when doing any yeast baking. It will keep for several months. Whey helps break down the bran in whole grain flour making the bread easier to digest & healthier for the stomach. As well it helps to develop the gluten so the dough will rise well.

I drained out 3 cups of soft cream cheese from these 2 litres of kefir. The rest was whey. I save every bit of whey as it is all very nutritious.
Whey can be added in small amounts when preparing other foods as well.

I am using the pie recipe called “Twice As Nice Lemon Pie” in my “Winning Ways” cookbook. I am using kefir instead of water to add nutrition to this recipe. The pie recipe in the cookbook is just one of my “pinching penny’s” recipes in the Winning Ways cookbook.
In the recipe I save money by using one pie package to make two delicious lemon pies. (To make only one pie, just measure half of the lemon pie filling package & the other ingredients.

KEFIR LEMON PIE- makes 2 pies
1 package lemon pie filling (1 pie package)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup corn starch
¼ cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)

Blend the above ingredients well.
Add 2 cups boiling water (or boiling milk for even more nutrition). Puree 2 cups soft creamed cheese and blend with the hot lemon mixture. Heat in the microwave until it is thickened.
Blend in 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter.
Pour into 2 baked pie shells

Beat 3 egg whites with 3 tablespoons cold water until slushy. In another bowl mix together 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 teaspoon baking powder and 1 ½ teaspoons corn starch.
Gradually add this to the egg whites as you beat them. Beat until stiff. Spread on the hot lemon. Bake at 350 º F for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to become cold and serve!

Now that I used up all the kefir except for the 1 cup of starter that I had saved in the fridge from last time, I will make another fresh batch as follows.

Heat 5 litres of milk just to about 80 – 90 º F. (Not even where it feels warm) Mix as much milk as you want. Seeing it keeps for such a long time in the fridge, I like to make lots.

Blend in 1 cup or more kefir that you saved from last time.

Pour into 5 – 1 litre sealers. Cover with lids and place together on the counter. Cover the jars with a heavy towel to keep at constant temperature. In summer it is warm enough in the house but in winter it is cooler.

Mine was ready or thickened the next morning. (in about 20 hours) I stored 3 jars in the fridge to stop the fermenting process. The other 2 jars I put into a pot of water that was at a medium hot temperature. The water is not as hot as tap water.(For this thicker cheese, the water can be a bit warmer than when making soft cream cheese. I covered the pot and waited 2 hours.

The kefir had separated to become 1/3 cream cheese and 2/3 whey. Here as well, if it hasn’t separated to that degree, put it back into water. I poured the whey into sealers and stored them in the fridge.

I froze the 1 1/3 cups of cheese from one sealer and prepared the other as follows.

Sprinkle over 2 pinches of salt and puree with the 1 1/3 cup cheese with the blender. This is now in the fridge to enjoy on my bread just as I would eat any other bought cream cheese or I will use it this week in a vegetable or fruit dip or as a cracker spread. Just by adding chopped onions, herbs, spices, peppers or other favorite ingredients, you will have a delicious spread or dip.

*Mix it half and half with your salad dressings.
*Add a spoon of lemon juice or vinegar, salt & pepper and mix
with cucumbers or lettuce, onions & tomatoes as a salad.
*Add to smoothies or mix into any shakes.
*Mix with any berries and berry juice to enjoy as a dessert.
*Blend into a Jell-O salad by replacing equal amounts of the boiling water.

Hope you enjoy using kefir! Winnie