Beet Kvass

by lydia on November 16, 2011

Beet kvass, a fermented Russian beverage made out of beets, is a wonderful tonic served more for it’s medicinal effect rather than it’s taste. Beets have a tremendous regenerating effect on the body, and for those recovering from digestive ailments beets help to can be used a digestive aid. It is an excellent tonic for the blood as it alkalizes the blood, promotes regularity, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones. Beet juice or beet kvass is also helpful in healing the gallbladder, or important for those without a gallbladder as it helps to thin out the bile. If the bile is too thick the liver and gallbladder get congested and problems start to occur. The betaine in beets is what aids digestion, as well as helps to promote healthy stomach acid and juices. The nice thing about drinking beet kvass is you get all the nutritive value of the beets without all the sugar content. Beets are also loaded with minerals, fermenting them only enhances their nutritive properties.

I am currently drinking beet kvass every morning and evening to help aid in healing my digestive tract and overall digestion. I make a gallon at a time and it lasts me quite a while. Beet kvass is a traditional beverage in Ukranian homes and no home is without it. I believe each traditional culture instinctively knew how to help the body through digestion and consuming properly prepared and fermented foods. This is a practice we should really learn from and incorporate into our diets to ensure optimum health. This is the time of year to take advantage of all the fresh beets, make some kvass and drink to your health. Beet kvass is best left to age for several weeks after the fermentation process is finished. To purchase some of the Caldwell’s starter – click here.

Beet Kvass

Ingredients:

  • Beet Kvass
  • Makes 1 gallon
  • 6 medium or 4 large organic beets, peeled and chopped up coarsely
  • Caldwell's Culture Starter (see package instructions)
  • 2 lemons, halved (optional)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped ginger (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. sea salt, or 1 Tbsp if you like it less salty (though I don't find it too salty with 2)
  • Filtered or distilled water

Instructions:

  1. Place beets, lemons (squeeze a bit first), ginger, starter culture and salt into a gallon glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover tightly. Keep at room temperature for at least 2-3 days on the counter. The resulting liquid should be somewhat thick and slightly bubbly.
  2. Save your beets for a second batch. Cut the pieces in half and make a new batch.
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A great source for understanding how to detoxifying your liver is the book; ‘7 -Day Detox Miracle

I personally find that beet kvass helps regulate my hormones and keep my skin clear. I know there are many benefits to this healing tonic and I usually try to incorporate it into my diet each fall through spring as I can. Do you have a healing testimony from consuming beet kvass? Feel free to share in the comments!

This post contributed to Real Food Wednesdays.

****UPDATE: I no longer brew my beet kvass using this method. Please see this updated post: Beet Kvass in a Pickl-it for a more optimal way to ferment your beet kvass. ****

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LydiaLydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’.

Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has to offer you!

 

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Marina at My Busy Children November 16, 2011 at 11:44 am

sounds very healthy. I grew up in Russia but never had beet kvas. It is usually bread kvass that we make (wheat or rye).
It would be interesting to try beet kvas, though

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Erin March 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

What does it taste like? We like beets, but not so much carbonated beverages. I know that it won’t be like drinking a can of pop though! I wonder if my girls would like it? They love beets in all their forms. I really don’t like pickled beets though. Is the taste similar to that?

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lydia March 7, 2012 at 7:30 am

Hmm, it tastes kind of effervescent and minerally – it has been an acquired taste for me. I now love it! Give it a try – it might grow on you or you may just like it right off the bat. I don’t think it tastes like pickled beets at all. Hope that helps…..I love the benefits to my health!

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kathy March 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

this is new to me still – but I am very interested in healing my gut as I had been dependent on nexium and the like up until 2 weeks ago when I took myself off. I’ve been healing w/ food all of 2012 and loving it. So my question is a bit silly. After you make this and get it into the fridge – how long do you let it sit until you can drink it. After you drink all of the liquid (except for the 1/2 cup you save for your next batch) do you throw out the beets, ginger, lemons and start all over? Or can you “reuse” the beets, etc and just add saved kvas, water, salt, minerals. THANKS so much!!!

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lydia March 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Kathy,

Kudos to you for your health achievements!

Yes you can use the beets again, but your second brew will be less desirable. I usually just put them in the compost and start fresh. I don’t let it sit once I put it in the fridge, I start drinking it!

Enjoy!

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kathy March 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

great to know! thank you! I can’t wait to try it!

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Jennifer @ 20 something allergies April 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

A great way to start with beet kvass is to add it to fresh juices by starting a spoonful at a time to taste. It gives a slight salty tang to the juice – depending on how much you use – and adds a well-rounded flavor. We love beet kvass at my house, and our favorite way to drink it is added to a freshly made carrot-apple juice. Plus, it’s great if you have kids since you can experiment with the red/purple juice. It’s fun to shred daikon radish and add beet kvass to dye it for a raw/probiotic side dish with meals.

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beverly April 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

It has white mold (?) on top. Should I discard it? It is 6 days old and was refrigerated after 3 days. I did not fill it all the way to the top, but about 1 inch below. Is that why?? Also, when I pop the lid a bit, I hear no fizzing. Did I need to use a special jar that was sterile or something? I just used 2 glass canister jars with screw on lids. Thanks.

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lydia June 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Hi Beverly,

Sorry to reply to you so late on this. Yes I would throw it out and start over, it’s likely from too much oxygen. I now use either a Fido jar (more affordable, but without an airlock) or a Pickl-It jar – this ensures that the ferment is airtight! Hope that helps!

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Charlotte July 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

I have enjoyed your post about digestion and digesting fats. I had my gallbladder removed 20 years ago and 3 yrs ago started on the path to repair my health. I drink raw milk kefir, kombucha and eat fermented foods with each meal and eat only good saturated fats. I have made beet kvass before but don’t like beets very much. You recipe sound interesting and I think I might like it better. So I’m willing drippy it again. How much beet kvass should I drink a day to get the benefits to support my digestion since I don’t have a gallbladder?

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Kelly Kindig August 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

I really want to make this I don’t have any whey right now and I don’t want my beets to go bad. Could i buy some kefir what should i look for in kefir (to use in kvass) or Kombucha (it’s harder to find but available)? Would adding powdered probiotics do the same thing?

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lydia August 7, 2012 at 6:23 am

Kelly – I recommend using Caldwells veggie starter. Don’t just add probiotics. I will be revising my recipe soon. I now only ferment in an anaerobic vessel (Pickl-It) and you do not have to use a starter culture at all.

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lydia August 9, 2012 at 6:57 am

Kelly,

Use a culture starter, Caldwell’s is best, or do it in an airtight vessel such as a Pickl-It and you won’t need a culture starter.

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Cassandra August 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Hi, Kelly,
You can use a packet of kefir starter for your culture. I am using “Body Ecology” brand kefir starter and making the kvass in a Harsch fermentation crock. Good luck. =)

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Candice September 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Cassandra, (or Lydia)
I have a 2.5 gal fermenting crock and am trying to figure out how many lbs of beets to use, and if one packet of the kefir starter is enough for my crock size. I don’t know what size your crock is, but could you please share any advice you may have? Thanks.

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Cassandra September 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Hi, Candice,
I am not an “expert”, but my rough rule of thumb is about 1/3 of crock to be filled with beet and 2/3 of crock for solution. As far as the starter amount, I am sure that 1 packet is probably fine – it just helps to get things jump started. The crock design itself encourages the fermentation process of brined veggies. I hope that helps! =)

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Candice September 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Cassandra,
Thank you so very much for your help! I’m going to buy my beets in the morning and get started!

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Catherine October 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm

How course should the beets be cut? What size pieces is good?

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lydia February 3, 2013 at 9:02 am

1 1/2 – 2 inches would be fine

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David February 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi your article says that you use one gallon jars, and that you use Pickl-It jars, but Pickl-It does not come in one gallon. They are just 1-5 liters. So do I assume you get the 4 liter Pickl-It jar?

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lydia February 3, 2013 at 9:03 am

This is my old recipe – when I just used a gallon vessel. Now I use a 3 liter Pickl-It and a slightly different method.

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charmane February 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Hi Lydia, love your post, thank you. I have been through a host of digestion issues in the last year including GERD. Went through all the normal testing (all came out normal) and medications from DR which didn’t help and I knew they were not good for me. After weaning of the medications and changing my diet I’m much better, but still have flare ups. I want to start drinking kvass, but am a little nervous about what it may do to my stomach. Can you please tell me how long you have been drinking kvass and how long did it take to start helping your digestion? I’m so hoping that drinking kvass on a regular basis will help cure my digestion. Thanks so much for your thoughts. Charmane

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lydia February 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

Charmane,

I don’t recall – but it’s immediately supportive to the liver/gallbladder and should be a powerful intestinal mover~! I only noticed it was helping me when I ran out of my first batch. Then when I added it back in again, I could tell a difference. Just start slow 4 ounces a day and work up to 8 at the most. Enjoy!

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Tim Burt February 22, 2013 at 6:40 am

Great stuff BUT-NO WHERE -HAS ANY ONE, SAID EXACTLY, WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AMOUT TO BE CONSUMED PER DAY / DOSE, FOR DESIRED BENEFITS? ANY ONE?

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lydia February 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

Tim,

This likely will be a bio-individual thing. If I wanted more therapeutic benefits I’d drink more, but for daily use 4-8 ounces would likely be a nice support. It’s too much carbs to drink much more than that daily.

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Dasha August 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Growing up in Ukraine, I have lived in America for 2 years now when I was adopted. Miss Kvass very much! And Borsch, also a healthy beet recipe! Eat it everyday in Ukraine. So good for you and taste good also :)

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Catherine August 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

What is your new recipe using the pickl it?

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Tatyana February 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Where can I purchase picklit jars? I definetly want to try this.

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