Beet Kvass: What, How, & Why?
Do you love or hate beets? Whether you do or don't, here is a way you will love to eat...(drink) your beets and many reasons why you should! 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!
Every Fall I have SO many beets. It's one of my favorite vegetables, and here is one way I use them up! Beet Kvass is delicious, easy, and amazingly great for you!
What 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. 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.
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
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 Beet Kvass
1) Cut up your beets!
Clean your beets! 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) 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 kvass from a previous ferment
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.
3) Fill the jar to within an inch of the top with your water.
4) Stir well to dissolve the salt, and cover securely. Some people just cover with a cheesecloth or towel secured with a rubber band...I like a lid for my kvass, though. I "burp" it when I feel it needs it---every day or so.
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) 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.
6) Drink & enjoy!!!
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), and start again!
**A note about the used beets: I use the used beets in my cooking! They are delicious, and they don't go to waste! If I don't use them that way, then my chickens get them!
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!
Leave me a Comment!
Do any of you drink kvass, and what is your experience? I'd love to know!
Hugs & Self-Reliance! It's a journey!
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One of my favorite books! If you are interested in healthy cooking and living, I highly recommend this book. Sally Fallon introduced me to traditional food preparation in this book. It's filled with recipes, information, and is extremely organized and easy to read.
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