The first time I made beet kvass three years ago, I was scared to drink it. This tended to be a theme with my first lacto fermentation experiments. So I had this half gallon of beautiful ruby liquid sitting on the counter, and then in the fridge, untouched.
Finally in the second week I got up some courage, and I took a sip. It was sour like sauerkraut, a bit salty, and there was a tinge of sweet raw beetiness. It was definitely tolerable! I drank about 4 ounces every morning and evening until it was almost gone. I then made a second batch with the same beets as Sally directs in the recipe, and drank that too!
Since that time, I have made beet kvass multiple times and I like it for when I need extra nutrients and vitamins, or for a ‘pick me up’ in the afternoon. My body just hums on fermented food now, and I find that beet kvass provides a variation to the other fermented foods that I’m eating. It even tastes ‘good’ to me now, not just tolerable!
Here’s what Sally Fallon says in Nourishing Traditions about beet kvass:
“This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”
Tips for making Beet Kvass
- Do not grate the beets. When grated, beets exude too much liquid resulting in too rapid of fermentation that favors the production of alcohol rather than lactic acid.
- Add beet kvass to salad dressings, soups, or wherever you would use vinegar or where a slightly sour taste is preferable.
- Be sure to make the second batch of beet kvass as the recipe directs, but leave some of the first batch of liquid in the jar to help start the 2nd batch.
- After you’re done using your beets for kvass, use your leftover beets and make Simple Roasted Beet Soup. The soup will of course be more sour than if you used fresh but it’s not an unpleasant flavor at all.
Beet Kvass (Fermented Beet Juice)
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- 1/2 gallon mason jars
- Fine strainer & cheesecloth (to strain whey from yogurt)
- vegetable peeler
- Chef’s Knife
- No stain, No Slip Cutting Board
- Non-reactive Spoon
- 3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and chopped up coarsely
- 1/4 cup whey (To make this recipe dairy/casein free, omit it and just use 4 teaspoons of salt instead of 2)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt [TNC: I reduced the salt to 2 tsp from 1 T] – See Resources
- filtered water
Place beets, whey and salt in a half gallon glass container (2 quarts). Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.
When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first. After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your inoculant instead of the whey.
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