Beet Kvass– nicer than it sounds

This post is a part of the Two for Tuesday Blog hop.

The first time I ever tried beet kvass, I drank it for the health benefits alone. My mind couldn’t get around the salty beet flavour, and, as it turned out, my gut couldn’t either. My digestion wasn’t that great at the time, and so after a couple of pints, I was doubled over in pain. For the record: Lots of bacteria + unhealthy gut = gas pain for days. To compound the tragedy of the situation, Jam tasted it, spat it out, and declared that his taste buds had been violated forever and that no fermented Russian drinks were allowed to live in the kitchen anymore. When my gut recovered, I poured the stuff down the drain, and forgot all about it for a couple of years.

Until kombucha. I became completely addicted to the stuff, and started making my own. My house smelled like vinegar all summer, but it healed my gut enough to be able to handle fermented things without pain. Probably because I didn’t try and drink 2 pints of it a day… not that I’m an extremist or anything *ahem*.

And then Jamie got sick, while he was away on set, and somebody handed him a glass of beet, carrot, apple and ginger juice. Without even thinking about how much he despised beets, he drank the whole thing, and was shocked to find that he liked it. So he drank it every day. It didn’t cure his flu, but it did cure his lifelong abhorrence of all things beet. When he got home, he casually mentioned that he actually liked beets now, and as it was around the same time as I had decided that I liked fermented drinks again, I decided to give kvass one more shot.

And I’m so glad that I did.

Over the last year or so, the taste of kvass has grown on both of us immensely. It starts out as a tangy beet juice that you can’t really get your mind around, and then one day you find yourself thinking “Gee, it’s hot. What I’d give for a glass of kvass right now.” I’m serious. We now have a constant supply brewing on top of the fridge.

I get experimental with it– sometimes I add ginger, or burdock, or turmeric. Sometimes I add some brewed herbal tea instead of water. But the formula is always the same, and it always turns out slightly different, and slightly effervescent, and slightly magical.

And although I swore that I wouldn’t make this blog a place where I spend hours talking about WHY things are good for you (as there are plenty of people who do it, and do it well), here is a brief list of reasons why beet kvass is good for you.

1. It is jam-packed full of nutrients and minerals

2. The fermented-ness of it gives you a little rush that is highly enjoyable

3. It cleans the blood and the liver

4. It’s full of lactic acid bacteria, to aid digestion

5. I can’t remember where I read this, but there was an account of somebody travelling through Russia, and finding in all of the villages near Chernobyl, that children were being born with birth defects, and that people were dying very young, except in villages that drank beet kvass. It could be found in every home, and the people were old and healthy, and the babies were fine. I think it was in Nourishing Traditions, but I can’t find it.

6. It’s super easy to make

7. Diluted with a little sparkling water, and in a wine glass, it makes a lovely accompaniment for dinner. It’s like having a glass of wine, without the headache or swollen face (yes, that’s me)!

Beet Kvass (Adapted from Nourishing Traditions)

makes 32 oz

32 oz mason jar

1 medium-large beet

1/2 cup of whey*

2 tsp salt

Chop up the beet, and throw it in the jar. Add the rest of the ingredients, and top up with water. Leave out for 3 days, then transfer to individual bottles or jars and store in the fridge.

You can make a second, weaker batch with the same beets- just add all of the same ingredients again and repeat the process.

I will often add the following as a variation, to enhance the liver action:

2 small turmeric roots, chopped up

4 inches ginger root, chopped

4 inches burdock root, chopped

*To make whey, either leave raw milk out until it separates, then strain off the whey (clear stuff), OR, turn your yogurt into greek yogurt by straining a container of plain yogurt overnight in a dish cloth (set over a bowl to catch the whey. Strain it in the fridge, if you can (unless you want it to take on a cheesy flavour). The clear stuff that’s left in the bowl is whey!

9 Responses to “Beet Kvass– nicer than it sounds”
  1. lydia says:

    I am SO ready to make some more beet kvass – haven’t had any since the late spring!! I am wondering if you can make it without the whey – have you heard that? Most likely you can with just more salt I suppose. Love the addition of ginger and the idea of drinking it in sparkling water!!!

    • fairybekk says:

      Hey Lydia, the whey is to get the fermentation going, but I’m sure it would work without– just like sauerkraut works without added probiotics. You’d probably just have to ferment it a lot longer. I’ve used a probiotic pill for sauerkraut instead of whey, so it’d probably work in a pinch for the kvass too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. girlichef says:

    Well, I think it sounds pretty amazing. I’ve never had it, but I’m a total beet lover, so I think I should try!! Thanks for sharing it w/ t4t this week =)

  3. Bekk, I totally dig beet Kvass because I adore beets in general, but this is super duper healthy and some times when I dont feel like kombucha this is my go to. Thanks so much for sharing it on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 HUGS! Alex@amoderatelife

  4. Christy says:

    I am a little nervous – beet juice just doesn’t sound appetizing but I love the simplicity of this and I sure need some of its healthy goodness – I am going to give this a try as soon as I can get some lovely pesticide free beets! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tues!

    • fairybekk says:

      It definitely grows on you, even if you hate it at first. Though I keep trying to force feed it to my little sister and she now dreads visiting me :).

  5. Now why did I think that beet kvass had some sort of bread in it? Don’t worry, I’m not holding you responsible for odd thoughts I’ve held in my brain for ages 😉 If it’s just beets, then I’ve gotta give it a go! Especially since the beets keep multiplying here. And also, I tend to drink the juice off of my pickles and kraut before I eat the veggies because I crave it.

    My mom has cirrhosis, I’m guessing the kvass would be good for her, especially your liver supporting formulation. But do I need to worry about dosage with her because her system is so delicate. Maybe I could water it down and disguise it somehow, like with your hub’s juice? She likes ginger ale, maybe I could combine it with homemade ginger bug?

    • fairybekk says:

      There are 2 types of kvass– one has bread in it, and the beet version doesn’t. I wanted to try the bread version too, but it has a long incubation period and I’m kinda impatient and don’t have the fridge space for a lengthy fermentation experiment.

      I crave kraut juice too… what the hell is wrong with us :).

      With regards to your mum, I’d go in really small amounts. I used beets and turmeric to dislodge a stuck gallstone once, so although they’re foods, they have really strong effects too. But in small amounts you can monitor any changes.

      A combo of kvass and ginger bug sounds really good….

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