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
- 1 large or 2 small organic beets
- 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt (where to buy sea salt)
- 1/4 cup starter (whey, or 1/2 teaspoon vegetable culture starter) (where to buy culture starters)
- filtered water
- 2 quart ball jar or Fermentation Master (where to buy)
- Clean and peel the organic beets
- Chop in small pieces, no smaller than 1/2 inch cubes
- Fill the jar 1/3 full of beets
- Measure the starter and add the salt to it and mix
- If you are using the powdered starter, add it to 1/8 cup water and mix
- Pour the mixture into a 1 quart mason jar
- 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.
- Cover tightly, (lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process) and keep on the counter covered with a dishcloth for approximately 2 to 4 days
- Taste after 2 days. It should be tart and somewhat salty.