There is nothing earthier than a glass of beet kvass!
Even better when you have made it yourself and feel a sense of accomplishment as you lovingly gaze at the beauty of your creation LOL!
Kvass originated in Russia and was traditionally made with stale sourdough rye bread. It was known to have great immune boosting qualities, and although it wasn’t an alcoholic drink, it was similar to beer in taste. Kvass can also be made with beets, and traditional homes in the Ukraine always had a bottle on hand.
The health benefits of lacto-fermented foods are undeniable and becoming ever more popular among health conscious families today. Beets are truly a super-food with an extensive nutritional arsenal and when fermented, the nutritional value increases.
A few benefits of Beet Kvass:
- A tonic for the blood and liver
- Beets are high in betacyanin which can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood
- Alkalizes the blood
- Helps to prevent heart disease, stroke and even cancer
- Known to help “Morning Sickness” in pregnant women
- Remedy for heartburn, chronic fatigue, kidney stones, and allergies
Let’s get started with what you need and how to create this beautiful beverage!
Kvass requires four ingredients, organic beets, pure water, whey and sea salt. The salt and water creates a brine in which the beets ferment. The whey speeds up the fermentation process but if you would rather skip the whey, you will need to add more salt. My recipe is for a one gallon batch of Kvass, you can make a smaller 1/2 gallon batch if you prefer.
- 1 gallon jar fitted with a lid that has an air lock (like the ones used for making wine)
- Chef’s Knife
- Cutting board
So here goes!
1. Buy 2 or 3 organic beets, chop off the top and tail. You can peel them if you want, I don’t, I just scrub them well.
2. Chop the beets into 1 inch pieces. Do not grate them as this will result in a fermentation that is too rapid and may cause the production of alcohol. (Hmmm… beet wine?)
3. Place the chopped beets in your 1 gallon glass jar.
5. Fill the jar (to about 1″ below the rim) with pure filtered water (please do not use tap water, it contains too many impurities and chemicals like chlorine). This is the filtering system I use.
6. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
7. Fit with the lid and air lock system (that has pure water in it) and place out of direct sunlight. Forget about it for about a week and a half. You will see the colour changing into a deep dark reddish purple. Some people only let the beets ferment for a few days, 3 or 4, but I find I like the end result better when it is left to ferment for at least 10 days.
The picture on the left is my new batch of Kvass beside a bottle of finished Kvass. You can see the difference in the colour. The picture on the right is the same new batch after 10 days of fermentation.
8. Once the Kvass has reached the level of fermentation you are happy with, strain it off and pour into glass bottles. I use the ones with the swing top caps (see picture on left). Then refrigerate. Some people leave some of the Kvass and the chopped beets in the jar and use it for a second fermentation. I have tried doing that, but personally found that the second ferment was weak and too watery for my taste. So I just use the beets once then compost them.
On a personal note: For my last batch of Kvass I decided to try something new with the beets after the first ferment, I roasted them in my oven after spraying lightly with olive oil… mmm good! So that is what I will be doing in the future!
Sometimes a scum appears on the top of the liquid during the ferment, it is probably just kahm yeast which is not harmful at all. Occasionally when I get some in my Kvass I just scoop it off with a spoon (as much as I can) and when I strain off the Kvass to be bottled I use a coffee filter in the strainer to catch the rest.
Done! I like to age my Kvass in the fridge for a couple of weeks, so always try and stay ahead of the game by making more before I run out 🙂
Typically I consume about 6 oz first thing in the morning. If I am feeling like I need a pick-me-up as the day progresses, I will have another glass at the end of the day.
Happy fermenting, and Cheers!