It is really simple to make your own kefir and it will save you a ton of money! I'm not crazy about the plain kefir I make, but even if I mix it with storebought for drinking it is still cutting down on the amount I have to buy.
Here's how I got started. A friend gave me some starter kefir grains, but you can also get these at a local health food store.
Put the kefir grains in a glass jar (I use small canning jars.) Pour milk into the jar (at least enough to cover the grains, but preferably more.) Place a section of paper towel over the area you would normally put the lid (I don't use the lid) then screw the ring on. Place in a dark spot (cupboard works great). Try not to jostle it until you have let it set for 24 hrs.
After 24 hrs have elapsed (although you can go 48 hrs) put a small plastic colander over a bowl. Stir the mixture with a plastic spoon (it will be thicker now) and pour into colander. Take the remaining kefir grains and scoop back into your jar. You can then begin the process over again. Once your kefir grains start growing you can divide and give to a friend. (Kind of like Friendship Bread)
Uses for kefir:
Kefir is very good for you. The name actually "means 'feel good' in Turkish." People often ask me what kefir is. I found a great definition for it. It "is a cultured and enzyme-rich probiotic drink that's filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your inner ecosystem."
You can use it in smoothies or simply drink it (although personally the taste is too strong for me if left plain. I like to add a little maple syrup to it--yum!) I love to bake with it. Any time a recipe calls for milk I use kefir. Or, if a recipe calls for buttermilk or the like I use kefir. It works wonderfully! Start making your own! If you're not currently adding kefir to your diet it is a very healthy practice to begin. If you've been having it but buying it, start making your own and you'll love the money you save!
A reader recently asked why I recommend using a plastic spoon and colander rather than metal. That's just what I was told to do when I started making kefir, but I found this article about it. I hope it helps! ;) Metal Object and Kefir Grains