Beet Kvass: What, How, & Why?
I had SO many huge beets popping up in the garden this harvest season. What can you do with a ton of beets? Whether you grow your own or just come across a fabulous deal at the farmers market, there are lots of things beets are good for. One of my favorite beet things is beet kvass. Here is my recipe for making this fermented super health drink!
Do you love or hate beets? I go both ways, depending on how they are prepared. Beet kvass gives you a tangy and delicious drink that is full of nutrition and electrolytes!
Beet Kvass is a beautiful and tasty tonic drink that has incredible medicinal qualities, as well as being one of the best sports drinks you can imagine! Beets are one of the most useful ways to cleanse your liver and purify your blood, too!
Beet Kvass is delicious, easy, and amazingly great for you! Now, on to the recipe!
** You may also enjoy my recipe for Golden Beet & Turmeric Kvass—-This stuff is SO good!
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What on Earth is Beet Kvass?
Beet Kvass is a drink that originates in the Ukraine, and indeed, "no Ukrainian home was ever without its 'beet kvass.'" (Nourishing Traditions---see link below)
If, as Hippocrates famously said so many centuries ago, "Let thy food be thy medicine" is indeed true (as I surely believe it is), then making and drinking your beet kvass is one of the best things you can do to nourish and care for your body...and your family's bodies too.
According to Sally Fallon, the esteemed author of one of my favorite books, Nourishing Traditions, beet kvass "is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments."
Because it is filled with electrolytes, it is more hydrating than water and helps keep your body balanced! Not only is it filled with electrolytes, the nutritional qualities of beets are contained in this amazing drink. Because of these electrolytes, many feel beet kvass is an excellent hangover tonic.
Personally, I love my beet kvass. I drink about 4 to 8 ounces a day, in the morning, and I swear I can feel the difference!
Beet Kvass is a fermented drink that only has two (or three) ingredients. It's simple to make, it tastes delicious, it's extremely great for you, and it helps your gut flora, since it contains a variety of probiotics. It can also be used in salad dressings, soups, and in your general cooking. Plus....It's pretty.
You can find out more about the probiotic healthiness of fermented foods in this article.
How to Make Beet Kvass
Ingredients for Beet Kvass
*** 2 really large or up to 4 or 5 Organic beets
*** 1/4 cup whey (optional) or 1/4 cup kvass from a previously fermented batch (also optional)
*** 1 tablespoon sea salt (You can add an additional 1/2 tbsp. if not using whey, if you want)
*** Filtered or Purified Water (I just use our well water and have never had a problem)
*** Half gallon Mason jar or other jar
Directions for Making Beet Kvass
1) Cut up your beets!
Clean your beets by scrubbing them well. You do not have to peel them. (That is, unless you buy them from the store instead of getting them from your garden. I always peel store bought beets---paranoid, I guess!).
Then cut up your beets into smallish pieces. I like mine about the size of large marbles, some a little larger, some a little smaller. You don't want very small pieces because you will get too much juice, and you may not be able to do a quality second ferment with the pieces. Also, your fermentation period may be faster, which will affect the quality of the kvass.
2) Place the ingredients in the jar
Put them in a half-gallon jar along with the salt and whey (find out what it is and how to make it in the link) OR you can just use some raw kvass from a previous ferment (or you can use raw sauerkraut juice from a good health store—-just be sure it’s raw).
A note about using whey for fermentation: I love using whey when I ferment. It helps speed up the process, and it's easy to make. However, if you are lactose intolerant or just don't want to make it, that's fine!
Your kvass and other ferments will still ferment just fine without it. It's the salt and liquid that cause the fermentation process, along with certain bacteria and yeast in the environment. The process will just be a bit slower, that's all. As long as you have added enough salt to the jar, you really don’t need a starter culture (whey or raw fermented juice) to get it going.
3) Add your water
Fill the jar to within an inch of the top with your water.
4) Dissolve the salt & place your lid (or airlock) on the jar
You don't want mold on your kvass! This happened to me once, and it was just gross. So keep your cover on and only "burp" it if necessary. For kvass, I have found that it will get foamy at the top (which is good), but you generally don't need to burp your jar.
5) Ferment for several days
Leave your kvass to ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 days. You can do a little taste test using a straw---- Just put your finger over the top of the straw after you have submerged it in the kvass. Pull it out and release your finger so it squirts into your mouth! This is how I test kombucha too!
Refrigerate when you like it! It will continue to become more tart the longer it ferments.
That’s it!!! Drink up a bit every day!
How to Reuse Your Beets for a Second Ferment
You can use the beets and about a cup or two of the kvass to begin a second ferment. Just fill with more water, add a bit less salt (3/4 tbsp is a good amount), add about a half cup or so of the original kvass, and start again!
**A note about the used beets: I use the used beets in my cooking when I am done using them for kvass! They are delicious, and they don't go to waste! If I don't use them that way, then my chickens get them. No waste at all.
Why You Should Add Kvass to Your Diet and Drink Up
Lactic acid is a by-product of the breakdown of the sugars and starch in the beets, which happens during the fermentation process. As fermentation occurs, the kvass changes into a beautiful blood red drink that contains beneficial enzymes, probiotics, electrolytes, and nutrition (antioxidants & minerals).
Beet kvass also aids with regularity (start with a small amount--seriously!), digestion, adding beneficial gut flora, cleanses the blood, and helps with kidney stones. Many believe it is a great hangover cure too!
You don't need a whole lot of kvass to reap the benefits of this amazing drink. In fact, I suggest you start with a smaller amount at first if your body is not used to eating/drinking fermented foods---about 4 ounces is a good amount to start with! I think you will love this gorgeous red liquid! I sure do!
Final Thoughts on Making Beet Kvass
There are few things easier and more simple than making your own health food drink—-beet kvass. If you don’t like the way beets taste, don’t fret! The fermentation process completely changes the taste.
Your kvass ends up tasting tangy and a bit salty, but with a wonderful flavor. You can add some garlic if you want some additional spice, but you don’t have to. I just love the stuff, and I don’t even particularly like raw beets!
I hope you’ll give this super drink a try if you ever have the opportunity! In fact, you should create the opportunity for yourself by going right now and picking up some fresh beets from the market! Organic, of course.
If you have questions, ideas, or other recipes, I’d love to know! So please leave a comment in the comments section!
Do any of you drink kvass, and what is your experience? I'd love to know!
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,
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