I don’t fault anyone upon hearing about fermented beet juice to go – “Eww!” Many of us were raised on slimy, canned beets and were forced fed them for dinner – so who on earth would you want to willingly ferment and drink beet juice?!
I first discovered Kvass on a weekend camping in central Oregon. It was summer so it was hot – very hot – and after a long day the hostess of the weekend offered us guests her own concoction of kvass. I didn’t know her well and I didn’t want to be rude. I stood there sweaty and exhausted and dehydrated and sipped this odd drink.
Much to my amazement it was fantastic! I ended up copying down her recipe and I’ve been making the drink ever since.
What is it?
Literally, it is fermented beet juice. Kvass is the Russian word for “fermented drink.” It is popular in Russia, Poland and Lithuania. It is similar to kombucha or jun. It is a sweet, bubbly and refreshing drink. Kvass is a drink made in Russia and Eastern Europe from fermented rye bread (also very tasty). Beet kvass is another variation of the rye fermented drink.
What’s so great about it?
Cultures all around the world ferment foods and drink. Fermented foods support good gut bacteria. These critters in your digestive tract are extremely important to your digestive and mental health. Those with less healthy gut bacteria tend to have weaker immune systems, higher anxiety and sluggish digestion.
Spleen and Stomach in Chinese medicine is the root of digestion
The Spleen and Stomach are the mother organs, in the way they nurture a traditional mother feeds and nurtures the rest of the family. The Spleen and Stomach provides nourishment to the rest of the body, when it doesn’t function well there are symptoms such as gas bloating, weight gain or loss, diarrhea, and mental emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression. Eating fermented foods nourishes a healthy digestive core and further supports a healthy mind and immune system. Sweet is the flavor of the Spleen and the Stomach and beets are naturally sweet. The sweet flavor and the plethora of probiotics in fermented beet juice is a powerhouse of health for your digestion!
Humans have fermented foods for thousands of years and have understood fermentation as a crucial step in extracting vital nutrients. The process of fermentation creates and preserves enzymes that have a wide range of health benefits – including supporting immune function. Fermented food is easier to digest and contain a wide variety of probiotics which is known to help digestion.
Curious? Great! Making beet kvass at home is very simple. It takes barely any time to prepare and the results are stunningly refreshing.
How to make your own beet kvass.
- Chop up one large beet into chunks
- Put them in a large 32oz mason jar
- Sprinkle a little salt into the jar
- Fill jar with filtered water.
- Place a cheesecloth or paper towel over the top of the jar (to keep insects out)
- Now just place the jar in a darker corner of your kitchen and wait! Usually between 3-5 days.
- Depending on the temperature and your location the kvass will vary when it is ready. In warmer months the process will be quicker.
- Keep an eye on it, checking it every day. It should start to bubble and foam. After three to four days scoop out the film on top and give it a sip! Don’t worry too much about the film that forms on top, it may look weird but it’s the natural process of fermentation.
- I like my kvass chilled in the fridge before drinking.
- Still weirded out about home fermentation? That’s okay. Most of us did not grow up in a culture where we witnessed the process of fermenting our own food. Fermented food is safe but if you are unsure about anything you have created it is also okay to toss it and try again.
- The book Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz offers excellent recipes with the history of many fermented foods and drink. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in fermentation, it’s a great resource for beginners!
Wild Fermentation http://www.wildfermentation.com/ Date retrieved 3/24/2016
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Lindsey – do you strain out the beets when drinking the beverage? Or do you blend it all together and then refrigerate? Also, I purchased the fermentation locking lid for my large mouth mason jar – which should reduce the chance of the film on top (from what I’ve read and videos I’ve seen). Here we go, should make for an exciting weekend.