Beet kvass is a little known probiotic drink with WONDERFUL benefits for the entire body. It has its roots in Russia, where for many hundreds of years people have drunk beet kvass; it was considered a safer beverage than water, as the fermentation process helped to ensure its purity (when water could often be contaminated with disease). On top of that, this lacto-fermented beverage aids with digestion, detoxifies your liver, prevents hangovers, and can even protect against infectious diseases. Skip the vodka, drink beet kvass!
There are many different ways that beet kvass can be made; I’ve included the method that I use below. I love to drink beet kvass, and even my boys will drink it now without a fuss (I’ve also discovered that it’s an incredible marinade for chicken; heating it does destroy the good bacteria in it, but it’s so delicious that I will use it this way every now and again!)
Start with small amounts and gradually work up to tolerance. You can even add a spoon or two of beet kvass to your morning smoothie for those who don’t enjoy the taste or for children (it blends very well with a berry smoothie).
beets to fill a quart Mason jar about 3/4 way full (maybe 3 medium beets)
about 1 Tbs. sea salt
loose chopped ginger
Do not peel your beets. If you rinse them, allow them to sit at room temperature for a day or so and dry (the outer layer of the beets is covered with probiotics). If you get them fresh, there is no need to wash them. Just brush off the dirt and you’re ready to go! After you purchase your beets (or pick them out of the garden), cut the greens off quickly as the greens will suck all the nutrition out of the beets. The beets you use in your kvass do not need to be perfect; it’s actually a great way to use up beets that would otherwise be tossed out.
Chop your beets up into approx. 1 inch sized cubes and fill the glass Mason jar up about 3/4 way full. Add about 1 Tbs. sea salt and some loosely chopped ginger (about 3-4 small pieces) and fill with filtered water (leaving about 1 inch or more of space from the top of the jar).
Some people will cover their jar with a cloth or coffee filter at this time (and then secure it with a rubber band or a metal ring). I found that my kvass tended to grow mold if I did this, so I cover mine with a lid. Let the jar sit on your countertop for 3-4 days.
After the time for fermentation is up, separate the beets from the liquid (the kvass). Place the liquid on the countertop with a few pieces of chopped ginger, place a tight lid on top, and let it sit for one more day at room temperature. Then place it in the fridge. At that time, you could also pour it into a tall bottle with a narrow neck (think the old Coca-Cola bottle shape) and let it sit in the fridge for 6 weeks to get a nice fizz to it. You can drink it sooner than that, but it’s really nice the longer it sits.
With the beets that are left from making the first batch of kvass, you can repeat the whole process again and make a second batch of kvass with the leftover beets. After you’ve gone through all the steps again, you can toss out the beets, as they have very little nutrition left.
(you’ll notice that the beets in this picture are peeled; I had some beets that were starting to mold … instead of throwing them out, I made kvass! However, I did peel them to get rid of the mold)
Beet kvass keeps well for a long time in the fridge, so you can make up batches of it in the summer when beets are in season and store it all winter. We currently are drinking a quart of kvass that I made back in August, and it’s still delicious. This is another great way to preserve some of your garden produce!