27 August 2015
Make Your Own Beet Kvass
I’m a great believer in integrating beverages into a complete nutritional and wellness plan. Rarely do I find myself without a mason jar of nettle or oatstraw infusion close at hand. Lately, however, I have a found a new love: beet kvass.
Beet kvass is a fermented beverage that’s a traditional part of the Eastern European and Russian diet and it’s considered to be a powerful tonic. There’s good reason for that. Fermented foods provide probiotics that boost gastric health and promote a wholesome environment for beneficial gut flora in the digestive system. This can be very useful for balancing out the effects of antibiotics or helping to combat the invasive tendencies of less welcome bacteria like candida.
It’s also packed with enzymes to give an overworked pancreas a break and assist with food allergies that can result from the lack of appropriate enzymes to facilitate proper digestion. These attributes allow us to better receive the vitamins and nutrients of the beets.
I’d heard about beet kvass and its many gifts through Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” over the years. Friends who are in love with this red drink have urged me to try it for years. Still, I hesitated . . . I had the impression that it was one of those “acquired tastes” and I might not like it. Honestly, I just felt a little squeamish about it. Well, once I finally got past my nervousness enough to brew up a batch and give it a taste, I was hooked.
First of all, it’s gorgeous—vivid red—and has a smooth, rich consistency that isn’t too heavy, making it appropriate for any season. The flavor is very complex: earthy, fizzy, kind of sweet from the beets, with a touch of saltiness and a little tangy kick. Although it doesn’t have any alcohol content, sipping it actually seems rather luxurious.
Kvass is easy to prepare
- Chop up some beets—fresh from the garden—to fill a mason jar
- Add filtered water (chlorine and fluoride in tap water can impede fermentation), a spoonful of whey and a pinch of unrefined (no iodine) sea salt.
- Let it sit on a counter for three or four days (a bit longer in the winter), giving it a shake or stir daily.
- The process is lacto fermentation—the same as I use for sauerkraut. It’s very fast because you’re introducing the beneficial lactobacillus and acidophilus microbes into the liquid.You can even see tiny bubbles rising in the jar of this living tonic drink. If you see any foam on the top, feel free to just scoop it off.
- You can leave the beets in the jar, and it will keep in the fridge for 10 days or more--although, of course, if you see mold in the liquid or it has a rancid odor, discard it completely and start again. Once you’ve consumed the liquid, you can actually add more water, whey and salt, and brew up another batch.
Don’t wait as long as I did to try this scrumptious—and deeply nourishing—beverage. Raise a glass of beet kvass today. Cheers!