Video/Recipe: Lacto-Fermented Beet Kvass

January 15, 2012 · 39 comments

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I love beets. So the idea of a fermented beet drink appeals to me. Lately I have been craving salty things and I think I need some readily available minerals. Beet kvass is revered as a tonic with rejuvenative qualities. It is a traditional drink in Russia and all of Eastern Europe. My ancestors are from that part of the world so perhaps that is why I like it so much. However, this is a fine drink for anyone of any nationality!

Beet kvass is full of nutrients. In Nourishing Traditions, author Sally Fallon Morel says, “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.”

The procedure is so simple. The hardest part is trusting your ferment. When I first started to make this drink I often wondered if it tasted the way it was “supposed” to taste or if I would get myself sick from it. Looking back, I laugh now, but at the time I was very hesitant to drink it. I finally got my courage up and found that I really liked it. After making and drinking kvass for a while you will know when it is “off” and not good to drink.

Here are some tips:

  • if it tastes too salty, let it sit another day.
  • If your house is hot, let it ferment only one day and then taste it. It may only need one day.
  • If it is not tart, let it ferment longer. It becomes an art to know when it is ready.


This recipe is based on the beet kvass recipe in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morel. That recipe uses whey as the starter. I did not want to use a dairy product so I experimented with several nondairy starters. I found that the water kefir and the kumbucha starter worked well and tasted really good!


Lacto-fermented Beet Kvass




  • 2 quart ball jar or Fermentation Master (where to buy)


  1. Clean and peel the organic beets
  2. Chop in small pieces, no smaller than 1/2 inch cubes
  3. Fill the jar 1/3 full of beets
  4. Measure the starter and add the salt to it and mix
  5. If you are using the powdered starter, add it to 1/8 cup water and mix
  6. Pour the mixture into a 1 quart mason jar
  7. Fill the jar with filtered water leaving a 1 inch space from the top of the water to the top of the jar because the beets and their liquid will expand slightly during fermentation.
  8. Cover tightly, (lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process) and keep on the counter covered with a dishcloth for approximately 2 to 4 days
  9. Taste after 2 days. It should be tart and somewhat salty.

where to buy culture starters


This post is shared at: Sugar-free Sunday, My Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, Melt in Mouth Monday, Homestead Barnhop, Real Food 101, Mouthwatering Monday, Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Hearth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Gluten Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Healthy 2Day, These Chicks Cooked, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Freak Friday, Fight Back Friday

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Juliette January 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I just found your site, your amazing, I can’t wait to try these cookies and more! Thank you.


2 Leah Johnson January 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Oooo what a timely post – my favorite farmer at the farmer’s market just started selling beets. I wasn’t sure what to do with beets (I’ve only had the canned variety during my pre-real food days)…next week I am definitely going to try some and make this! Thanks!


3 Hannah K. January 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

I love drinking beet kvass. One lady I know said she found younger people generally didn’t like the taste while older people like it, but I don’t know if I agree because I’ve always liked the taste! Thank you for posting the recipe. :)


4 Lauren Hairston Collado January 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I’ve never tried beet kvass, but I think I’d like the combination of beets and ginger. Love that you’ve included a video, too.


5 Kathryn Arnold January 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I’ve been looking for a way to start using cultured foods. This sounds easy and good. How much should I drink at one time?


6 K January 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

If you’re just starting out, only drink a little bit at a time! That way, your body gets acclimated to the probiotics from the fermentation. Slowly you can add more probiotic foods to your diet in larger quantities.


7 Jill January 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hi Kathryn,
K is correct — just a little bit at a time, increasing a bit each day. It is healthful to have some sort of fermented food or drink at each meal, so that should be a goal.


8 France @ Beyond The Peel January 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Hi Jill, Thanks for sharing this great video. Super helpful for newbies like myself at fermenting.


9 Rachel - A Southern Fairytale January 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Jill, you are so inspirational.

On a complete side note.. I love seeing the anti-SOPA banner :=)


10 Victoria January 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

You already know I’m a huge fan! I just set up my Amazon link with your info, so you will benefit from my shopping!
Keep up the great videos and info!


11 Victoria January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

BTW, I LOVE the idea of using Kombucha instead of whey! Thanks so much for that great suggestion!


12 April @ The 21st Century Housewife January 23, 2012 at 5:57 am

Thank you for sharing this very informative post with the Hearth and Soul hop. Beet Kvass sounds really healthy, and delicious too.


13 Natalia January 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Can I use conventional beets? I can’t find organic ones, but really love beets and want to try making kvass.


14 Jill January 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hi Natalia,
I would say to try health food stores for organic beets. For regular use, organic is best.


15 Amy January 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

You said that you could do a second generation by filling the jar with water again. Do you also add more salt or just water?


16 Jill January 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Amy,
I usually add a little more salt, but not much and then the water, and leave it out again. It will take less time to ferment the second generation.


17 Raquel January 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi there, can you use coconut kefir?


18 Jill January 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hi Rachel,
I did try it with coconut water kefir once and it got moldy — but it may have fermented more quickly. You might try a small amount for 1 -2 days and see if it works. It may just have been too hot at the time.


19 Perry E February 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hi and thank you for yet another great video. I had tried beet kvass in the past with home made milk kefir whey as the starter. However, it always seemed to taste moldy and salty (I may not have let it ferment long enough). However, ginger kombucha worked great. I transfered to the fridge after 4 days and it was delicious. I have now successfully brewed round two by just adding more water and a pinch of salt. This time the result was a lot more bubbly (like somebody had shaken a soda). A big foam head forms at the top when opened. Is that your experience as well?
Also, I was wondering if anyone has tried this with golden beats or white beats?


20 Jill February 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Hi Perry,
I like the beet kvass using ginger kombucha as a starter also! Yes, it will bubble like that when using kombucha!


21 Lauren October 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hi, you talk about how to tell if it needs more time, but what if you leave it too long? Does it become bad/dangerous to drink, and would it be obvious (rotten smelling or moldy) that it had gotten to that point? Also, how long does the finished product keep in the fridge?

Thanks for the recipe/video!


22 Jill October 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi Lauren,
It will be very sour if left too long. If it goes bad you would know from the smell or you would see white patches of mold on it. Keeps 2 weeks (or longer) in the frig.


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25 Allie December 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Thanks for the recipe and video!
Will using Kombucha or whey give the kvass a similar strain of probiotics depending which one is used?
Does kvass bring about a different set of strains that is helpful agsinst overgrowth of candida?


26 Jill December 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Hi Allie,
Whatever starter you use will be which strains are in the kvass. I am not sure using kombucha would be good. Whey is traditionally used so that is OK.


27 Allie December 16, 2012 at 9:23 am

Thank you.
I normally use whey, but your recipe above calls for using Kombucha. I’m confused that you mention it may “not be good” in your comment here.


28 Jill December 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hi Allie,
Kombucha may have too much sugar in it and promote yeast growth especially in beet kvass. I am going to remove from the recipe.


29 Allie December 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Oh. Gotcha.

I have had a major bout with it, white tongue, etc. but the Kombucha really calms my esophagus and throat, more than any other ferment. Guess I will cool it with the freshly made beet kvass. :(

Thanks for your response.

30 gail September 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Not sure I understand the last couple notes… so you say that the beet kvass with the kombucha may not be good creating too much yeast.. I’m guessing for people with candida issues, using it with the kombucha may be a no-no… but, using beet kvass with the whey *should* be o.k. for candida sufferers???? I’ve googled beet kvass and candida and only found 2 references– one from BEE who cites a reference from Nourishing Traditions saying that Beet Kvass should not be used for people suffering from candida… I guess I have the wrong edition because the page she cited does not indicate that… the second reference was from Sally Fallon who says that beet kvass is very beneficial for people suffering from candida… I just made a batch that uses the beets with onions and cabbage, and it is absolutely delicious!!! haven’t noticed any ill effects yet.


31 Jill September 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Hi Gail,
Now I use vegetable starter and salt. That works good. Yours sounds nice! I like to add slices of ginger root for ginger kvass. I love that!


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