Photo credit: Bella DotyBeet kvass carries with it all the benefits of beets, marrying them with the benefits of fermented foods for a deeply cleansing tonic. Beets possess a strong antioxidant capacity with an ORAC value of 1,776 which may be why beet kvass is considered a nourishing tonic for the liver, blood, and intestinal tract. The fermentation process enhances the already strong nutritional profile of raw beets, increasing levels of food enzymes and B vitamins. It also inoculates the beets with beneficial bacteria which support immunity and digestive system health. It is easy to make and delicious when chilled. A 4 oz drink twice a day is sure to soothe your tummy and delight your palate.
Author: Susan Teton
Glass Jar With Lid, Fermentation Crock, Or Canning Jar (Don’t Use Plastic Or Metal)
Whey, Kefir Starter Or Living Sauerkraut Juice (As A Fermenting Agent)(As A Fermenting Agent, Recipes For Each Below)
Optional: Additional flavorings like ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, rosemary, peppers, allspice, coriander, cardamom, or orange peel make for lively and highly medicinal kvass. Experiment to your own liking.
Prepare Starters(Any Below Work).
Whey Starter: Strain fresh live plain yogurt through a cheesecloth capturing the liquid whey, or use a Greek yogurt maker to access the whey from the yogurt. Use about 1/4 cup of whey per quart of kvass. Whey does have a slight effect on the flavor.
Kefir Starter: Mix the kefir starter in about a cup of lukewarm or room temperature water. When the starter crystals are thoroughly blended with the water, add them to the kvass water mixture. Kefir starter is flavor neutral.
Juice from Sauerkraut or Cultured Veggies: Use about 1/3 cup fresh live juice to ferment the batch. This juice also has an effect on the flavor. Don’t use juice from pasteurized sauerkraut or kimchi as it is not living.
Wash, peel, and chop enough beets to fill about one-third of the container you will be using to ferment the kvass.
After peeling the beets, chop them into small pieces about the size of a green olive. If the pieces are too small or grated the kvass may result in an alcoholic type beverage. Alternatively, cutting them into large pieces may result in a weaker beverage.
Combine the beets, starter of choice, salt (to taste), and any other flavorings to the jar and fill with water.
Secure the lid, and cover the jar with a light towel to keep out the light. Set in a cool dry place to ferment for 1 week and then decant.
Once decanted, leave the beets and flavorings in the jar and make another batch by filling the jar with water, salt, and about 1/2 cup of the batch you just decanted. This will serve as your fermenting agent this time around. I have found that my second batch is always weaker, but always good!
The salty brine is what keeps your kvass from molding, and of course, provides flavor and minerals. However, there are many times I went to decant my kvass and there are small mold discs floating on the top. This does not seem to affect the kvass. Remove the mold and then taste your kvass. You will taste if anything has gone wrong with it. I have never experienced a batch going bad even though some mold will appear. In addition, the beets and other foods added take on a new look and color as they ferment. Don’t let this concern you. It will still be yummy.Once you have completed the process for either one or two batches you can discard the beets to the compost pile or cook them in a little water until soft. With a little butter and some salt, they are delicious!