Beet kvass is a traditional Russian beverage. Not only was this used as a drink, but it was also used to provide a sour flavor to soups and vinaigrettes. This lacto-fermented beverage is a wonderful digestive aid, and is nutrient rich.
Beets or beetroots, as they are called, belong to the Chenopodiaceous family. Health benefits of beet roots can be attributed to their richness in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are a source of carotenoids and lutein/zeaxanthin. Beets are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Beets are a source of beneficial flavonoids called anthycyanins. They are very low in calories but have the highest sugar content of all vegetables. It is also used to make refined sugar.
Because of the high sugar content of beets, if you have candida issues you may want to avoid or limit your consumption of beets, although in this recipe, the starter feeds off the sugar of the beets so it is not an issue.
According to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, consuming a four ounce glass, 2-3 times a day aids digestion, promotes regularity, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver, and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.
Items Needed for Beet Kvass
2 Qt. mason jar and lid
2-3 large organic beets, peeled and cubed
1 packet Kefir Starter or Culture Starter (from Body Ecology)
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1. Place beets in jar (it should be about two thirds full).
2. Mix the salt in one cup of water, along with the kefir or culture starter until it dissolves and pour into the jar.
3. Add filtered water to the jar till it’s an inch from the bottom lip of the container. Stir well and cover securely.
4. Place on counter out of the sun. Keep at room temperature for two days, before placing in refrigerator.
When you are down to your last cup or so of kvass, you can fill up the container again with filtered water and keep at room temperature for another two days., before placing in the refrigerator. This batch won’t be as strong as the first but will still taste wonderful. After the second brew you can save a cup or so of kvass as an inoculant for your next batch.
Some Personal Notes
I don’t use whey as a starter; I use Body Ecology Starter or Kefir Starter.
I also have used cultured coconut water in place of filtered water, as I like the flavor and the nutrient value of coconut water is wonderful.
The Nourishing Traditions recipe has you leave the kvass on the counter for two days. I leave mine out for a little longer sometimes five days; it develops into a thick opaque color and has a taste I prefer.
When I’m done with the beets after two brews, I use them in salads, juice them, or make a soup so nothing is wasted.
When I make beet kvass and other fermented drinks I like to use these half gallon, wide mouth jars. I also use these to store my herbs (which I purchase by the pound), as well as dried fruits and other foods.