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. ~ Nourishing Traditions
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.
Those of you who have been following my site know that I switched my fermentation vessels to anaerobic vessels, no more mason jar ferments for me. There are many reasons for that, but for now, suffice it to say, I feel they are the most optimal to get the most benefit out of my ferments. I have also noticed a difference in improved health since my switch. This switch means I now have to change my recipes a bit. Using an anaerobic system requires much less salt (total bonus right there), and does not require any type of starter for the most part. These jars are also in liters versus quarts. My original recipe for beet kvass was for a one-gallon vessel. Yes, I drink a lot of beet kvass! So, now I have had to adjust things a bit to work with the size of the new jars I have on hand, as well as using my own preference of adding lemon and ginger.
This is my beet kvass recipe adapted for an anaerobic vessel, the only method I now use. Since I go through quite a lot of beet kvass I tend to use as large a vessel as possible. I recommend using, at least, a 3-liter vessel, this will provide you with 4 to 5 bottles of beet kvass. A good daily dose would be 4-8 ounces per day. Though I recommend you start with 2 ounces as a beginner and work your way up slowly.
- 4-5 small to medium beets, peeled and quartered (you want them cut this size, because you will use them in a second batch and will be cutting them in half)
- 1.5 -2% brine (22.5 - 30 grams of salt to 1.5 liters of water)
- Juice of one lemon, or 1 whole lemon cut into quarters (optional)
- 1-inch hunk of ginger, peeled and cut into a few pieces (optional)
- Place the beets in your 1½ liter jar. You want them to fill your jar about halfway.
- Add enough brine to fill. Stir well. Clamp down the lid. Place the airlock into the lid and fill with 1½ tablespoons of water.
- Cover the jar with a cloth and leave on the counter or in a cupboard covered to protect it from UV light.
- Ferment in a warm place (mid 70°F to low 80°F) for 7 to 9 days. You may see bubbles forming on the top. This indicates active cultures are thriving. Taste after several days.
- Transfer the beet kvass into wire stopper bottles, if desired.
- Add some grated ginger and the juice of one lemon divided into the bottles, and let sit in a dark cupboard for one more week before moving to the fridge.
- Take the used beets and cut them in half and add back to your vessel. This time add a hunk of ginger and one lemon cut into wedges. Add brine to fill. Repeat the process.
- The second brewing with the beets will be a bit different. Mine usually turn out a bit cleaner and more effervescent. (Simply double this recipe for a 3-liter vessel.).
- *Note - If you have purchased beets with greens make sure your beets have been detached from your greens for at least a week before using them. If you have ever had issues with Kahn yeast showing up (white foamy yeast at the end of ferment), you might want to add a teaspoon of sugar to the brine to provide enough food for the LABs.
- **Note: If your temperatures are lower than 70 degrees in the winter, simply extend your initial ferment time to 10-14 days (this is about right for my kitchen).
- ***Note: To make a 2% brine, use 19 grams of fine grind sea salt per quart of water.
The nice thing about this beet kvass is it will not be too thick or syrupy, it will not be salty, you do not have to use an inoculant such as whey (which actually skips fermentation steps and is not the right bacteria you want), or a starter culture (which can be costly). I know so many people who have been turned off by the beet kvass recipes out there, particularly the one in Nourishing Traditions (no offense, Sally Fallon but thank you for introducing me to beet kvass I owe you a debt of gratitude). I promise you will like this beet kvass if you give it a chance! I have been advised to let beet kvass age in the refrigerator after it is done fermenting on the counter for at least 3 weeks or more. This helps to give it more depth of flavor, reduce the salty taste and increase the healing benefits. Give beet kvass a fair try before you give up on it, because I can’t even begin to tell you the immense benefits it will provide you with.
I personally find that beet kvass helps balance my hormones and keep my skin clear. It is also a powerful intestinal mover! There are many benefits to this healing tonic and I usually try to incorporate it into my diet each fall through spring on a daily basis. Read more about the health properties of beets – Beets: A Healthy Bile Builder.
New to anaerobic fermentation? Here are the jars I recommend – The Probiotic Jar.
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