I must admit that when I first got the book Nourishing Traditions, Beet Kvass was one of the recipes that I glazed over and didn’t plan on making. I wasn’t a huge fan of beets and I didn’t even know what kvass was, so I steered clear.
When I finally tried Kvass, the taste wasn’t as bad as I expected and the health benefits were more than I expected. I’m a big fan of fermented foods like sauerkraut and fermented drinks like kombucha and water kefir. Beet Kvass is a nice mix of the two…
Kvass is salty and earthy tasting and after a day or two adjustment, I found that I really like it and my body is now craving it.
What is Kvass?
Kvass is a traditional eastern European beverage that was originally made from fermenting stale bread.
It is also recognized that kvass is safer to drink than water. Tolstoy describes how Russian soldiers took a ladle full of kvass before venturing from their barracks onto the Moscow streets during a cholera epidemic. Because kvass protects against infectious disease, there is no worry about sharing the glass.
Kvass can also be made from beets. The result is not so much epicurean as medicinal, although beet kvass is often added to borscht. No traditional Ukranian home was without its bottle of beet kvass, according to Lubow A. Kylvska, author of Ukranian Dishes, “handy and ready when a pleasing, sour flavor had to be added to soups and vinaigrettes.
Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.”
Nourishing Traditions explains the Beet Kvass is:
valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.
My kids love Kvass because of the color and it makes a beautiful addition to salad dressings, sauces or soups because of its bright hue.
I’ve found it easiest to make Kvass with whey (here is how to make whey at home– not the same as protein powder!) or the juice from sauerkraut, but it can be made with just sea salt, though it may take a little longer.
How to Make Beet Kvass
Yield 6 +
An inexpensive health tonic of fermented beet juice that is a healthy, salty and earthy health booster!
- 2-4 beets
- 1/4 cup whey or juice from sauerkraut (here's how to make whey)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt or himalayan salt
- filtered water
- half gallon glass jar
- Wash beets and peel (if not organic) or leave skin on (if organic)
- Chop beet in to small cubes but don't grate.
- Place beets in bottom of half gallon jar.
- Add whey/sauerkraut juice and salt (If you don't want to use whey or sauerkraut juice, you can double the salt instead, though it may take longer to ferment)
- Fill jar with filtered water.
- Cover with a towel or cheesecloth and leave on the counter at room temperature for 2 days to ferment.
- Transfer to fridge.
- Consume as desired. I drink 3-4 ounces each morning and night.
Cuisine Eastern European
Have you ever made beet Kvass? What did you think of it?