Ever heard of Kvass? It originated in Russia and was traditionally made with stale sourdough rye bread. Kvass can also be made with beets, and traditional homes in the Ukraine always had a bottle on hand. It was often used as a tangy addition in soups, vinaigrettes, and borscht.
As chopped beets mix with sea salt, the sugar and starch convert to lactic-acid perfectly preserving it. Kvass is full of beneficial enzymes, friendly probiotic bacteria, and increased vitamin levels. Regularly eating lacto-fermented vegetables like these, or incorporating beet kvass into your diet, will promote healthy gut flora and greater absorption of nutrients from your food.
It’s very important to use filtered water, free from chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals are typically present in tap water and can prevent your kvass from fermenting properly.
- 2 large, or 3-4 medium beets (preferably organic)
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- Filtered water
- a mason jar
- If organic, keep the skin on. If not peel your beets, and chop them up coarsely (1-2 inch chunks). Do not grate your beets! This will cause your kvass to ferment too rapidly, producing alcohol rather than lactic-acid.
- Put your chopped beets in your jar, or divide them equally between two quart sized jars
- Sprinkle the sea salt on top of your beets
- Fill your jar with filtered water, leaving about an inch at the top for headspace, and stir the contents well. Secure the lid, and leave it on your counter for 2-7 days before moving it to the refrigerator
- When it is is a deep red color, and you see fizzy bubbles moving upwards in the jar, it’s good to go. It should smell earthy and salty, like beets.
- You can re-use the beets to make another batch or toss them out- you don’t eat them, you use the liquid. You can drink it straight.
Other uses: use it in place of vinegar for salad dressings, or as a tangy addition to soups.
Kvass has also been used traditionally as a cleansing tonic and digestive aid. It can be used to treat heartburn, fatigue, allergies, kidney stones, digestive problems, improve regularity, and alkalize the blood.