Beet Kvass & Recipe
Most of my followers already know that I’m a lover of real food and traditional cooking. I love making homemade sauerkraut, kombucha and water kefir, all of which are fermented foods. Fermentation is a traditional way of preserving foods (typically fruits and vegetables) without the use of freezing or canning. The benefits of fermenting goes beyond preservation – lacto-fermentation promotes the growth of lactic-acid-producing bacteria (lactobacilli) by converting starches and sugars into lactic acid. These bacteria promote the growth of healthy flora in our gut, as well as improving digestibility and increasing vitamin levels in fermented vegetables.
Unfortunately, in our society we have forgotten about the healthy benefits of eating lacto-fermented foods. Although you can find sauerkraut on the shelf in your grocery store, it is not traditionally prepared to contain the beneficial bacteria. In some specialty stores or health food stores you can find some varieties of lacto-fermented products, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, salsa, or kimchi. These products are found in the refrigerated section. I suggest giving them a try! Start by eating a small amount with your meal (about a Tablespoon) if you are new to fermented foods and increase as tolerable. Don’t want to spend the high price on these specialty foods? Then try making your own! Making traditional fermented foods and beverages are easy and cheap.
Lately, I have been making beet kvass because of its wide variety of uses. Beet kvass is a traditional beverage often used for its medicinal qualities and healthy probiotics that promote digestion. Beets alone are filled with nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and the B vitamin folate. When fermented to make beet kvass, this drink is beneficial for detoxifying the liver and alkalizing the blood. It can also be used for treating kidney stones and is thought to be helpful for cancer patients by offering vitamins, minerals and enzymes that these patients typically lack.
So, how do you make homemade beet kvass? Here is my recipe (adapted from Cultures for Health).
• 2-3 beets, depending on size
• 4 teaspoons sea salt
• 2 quarts filtered water
• 1/2 gallon glass jar
- First, wash all equipment in hot soapy water to kill any germs. Always wash your hands before touching the ingredients that will be used to prevent contamination.
- Wash and peel beets, then chop into ½-inch pieces and place in a half-gallon glass jar.
- Add sea salt and fill jar with water, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Cover the jar with a tight lid (airlock lid), such as a mason jar. If you do not have a lid for your jar, then use a coffee filter or clean dish cloth secured with a rubber band (this will prevent fruit flies from getting into your food).
- Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved, usually 2 days. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure.
- Once the kvass is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to cold storage. The kvass flavor will continue to develop as it ages.
- When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may refill the jar with filtered water and culture at room temperature again for a second, weaker batch.
*If using a small jar, such as a quart, use less beets and less salt (about 2 teaspoons salt). It may take some trial and error to find the best recipe that works best for you.
Besides drinking it plain, beet kvass can be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings or used for extra flavor in soups. I prefer to add beet kvass to smoothies. Here is my own recipe!
Beet Kvass Smoothie
• 1/4 cup homemade beet kvass
• 1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk
• 1 handful organic baby spinach
• 1 banana
• 1/2 avocado
• 2 Tbs organic, unsweetened peanut butter or other nut butter
• Shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Keep It Simple . Keep It Real
- Cultures For Health http://www.culturesforhealth.com/beet-kvass-recipe
- “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.