Adventures in Traditional Foods: Beet Kvass, The Blood Tonic.

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8 days ago I went on a fermentation binge.

I prepared sauerkraut, started another batch of kombucha, and made a batch of beet kvass. I had slacked over the holidays as far as my ferments goes. It had been a long while for sauerkraut, and I have yet to have had a good non-overly-fermented batch of Kombucha yet. Beet Kvass is my safe drink.

It is one of the EASIEST fermented drinks to make! Kefir may come second, but kefir needs almost daily care. Beet kvass? It’s so easy, it was hard for me to believe it really could pack a punch for health.

Beet Kvass originates from Russia. (Correction: Ukraine. My apologies!) It’s a fermented drink made from beets (as the name indicates), using water, salt, and/or whey to ferment the drink into a healthy tonic! It’s full of probiotics, B vitamins,  minerals, and antioxidants. It alkalizes your blood; detoxes your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder; is anti-carcinogenic; and known for being an overall healthy wellness drink!

From what I’ve read, it doesn’t matter what kind of beet you use, although red beets are typically the ones seen being made into Beet Kvass. My grocery store happens to nearly always carry golden beets over red in the Organic section, so when I first attempted Beet Kvass, that was all I had. Later I attempted to make it with red beets, and didn’t like it. At all. I thought maybe I messed something up. So I assume there are different tastes in the final result depending on what kind of beet you use, so be aware that you may develop a taste for one over the other.

Originally I wanted to use red, but I have now fully fallen in love with golden beets, which looks, and tastes, lovely.

The recipe I follow for my Beet Kvass can be found on Coconut Mama. It’s the best recipe I’ve used, doesn’t use whey, and is simple to follow. I do not have a gallon glass jar, so I will write down my modified recipe here suited for a half-gallon mason jar.

You Will Need:

3-4 small beets (the larger they are, the less you’ll need)
1 tbsp. of sea salt
filtered water
a cutting board
chopping knife
half-gallon mason jar + lid and ring

  • Take the beets and chop the tops and the bottoms off. I’ll also cut off any spots that don’t look so good, or are gnarled.
  • In your sink, wash off the beets until they “shine”. I use a rough pad of some sort to scrub the beets just enough to get dirt and grime off, without tearing the skin.
  • On your cutting board, cut your beets in half, then cut them in half again (horizontally), and then in half a third time (vertically). You don’t want the chunks to be too small, so depending on the size of the beets, cut accordingly.
  • Place beets in the mason jar, and sprinkle salt on top. (It is my personal preference to leave the beets covered in salt for a short while before I add the water. For whatever reason, the kvass always turns out better this way.)
  • Add filtered water up to the top, leaving 1-2 inches of headspace.
  • Cover with lid, closing tightly. If you didn’t leave much headspace, I wouldn’t close it too tightly because the kvass will produce carbonation. I shak the jar to combine the salt and water, but you could also use stir it using a wooden spoon.

Place in a warm spot in your home, and leave for 1-2 weeks. Do not stir or shake during this time period.

Mine only took about a week before I was pleased enough to drink it. I’ll leave it out for a while longer to ferment more before I transfer it to the fridge. The time period in the fridge allows the tonic to “age”, so its taste will change over that time. Because “harder”, in my opinion.

Once you’re finished with your first batch, you take the beets, rinse them, cut them in half once, throw them back in the mason jar, and repeat the steps above! This batch will be weaker, but it’s one way to be frugal and make the beets last longer. I never care for the second batch, it always tastes too weak for my liking. So this time around, I plan on grating the beets and using them in salads and other recipes to eat.

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, recommends drinking a 4-ounce glass morning and night to get the full benefits of the Beet Kvass, and as a digestive aid. You can always ease into that habit slowly, if you wish to form it, because Beet Kvass can be an acquired taste, and since it is a probiotic, it may be best to give your body some to adjust. I have never had adverse effects (such as “die off”) from drinking Beet Kvass.

This morning, when I decided to check on my Beet Kvass, I noticed it had a lovely, dark color to it! I just LOVE the orange color the golden beets create!

And when I opened it, immediately I discovered how carbonated it was.

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Look at them bubbles!

And it FOAMED like crazy!

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This was a first for me. Best batch yet?

I don’t really have a taste for the foam, and in case there were any impurities, I decided to skim the foam off.

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I just took a spoon, and scooped the foam out, and skimmed the top to get as much as I could. At this stop, it hadn’t yet stopped foaming, so to get all of it would have been in vain.

I originally didn’t plan on drinking it just yet, but I was so happy and pleased with the results I decided to go ahead and pour me a cup.

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Look how handsome.

Like I said, I will keep it out to ferment some more, before I put it in the fridge to age. Most likely that’ll only be a few days.

I love Beet Kvass, and I definitely feel better after drinking it. I drink just a small glass at a time, typically in the afternoon. I hope to take it more regularly, to see if I can notice any long term benefits it gives me.

Please consider giving Beet Kvass a try. It’s a time tested and true health beverage. It’s very easy; probably one of the easiest fermented drinks you could ever make. If I can do it, you can do it.

Please check out my Fermented Foods board on Pinterest to browse other recipes for Beet Kvass and to find more information on the benefits of it, among other fermented food and beverage recipes.

Other links to also check out:

Kvass and Kombucha: Gifts From Russia
There’s Foam in my Kvass!

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

While it is important to keep the physical condition of your blood healthy, please realize that alone will not save you. Jesus Christ shed His own blood to atone for our sins, while He himself was blameless.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins…” Colossians 1:14

Give thanks unto the Lord for the body and health that He has given us, always counting our blessings, and giving God the glory for all that we do. The measures we take to keep ourselves healthy is all good and well, but remember that Christ holds the key to eternal life, and the health of our soul is more important than the health of our physical body.

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7 comments

  1. Great info. One little correction though – beet kvass is from Ukraine – not from Russia. Two different things… Borshch is a Ukrainian national dish. It is soup made from our traditional beet kvass that traditionally was always at hand in every Ukrainian household. Russians do not use beets as much as Ukrainians do. Russians make their bread kvass, simply known as kvass. Thanks for correcting this info.

    Thanks
    Anna (from Ukraine)

  2. PS: Closing the jar tightly may spoil your kvass – traditionally we only covered beet kvass jar with a cheese cloth. Adding a few cloves of garlic will make it tastier and healthier. 🙂

    1. My apologies, I made the correction. Thank you for pointing it out!

      I have heard of that warning, and I’ll be cautious. I’m still a newbie when it comes to this. I do still credit it for the great carbonation though, lol. I’ll definitely have to try out the garlic cloves!! Next time, for sure!!

  3. Regarding adverse affects of drinking kvass, u mention “die off.” What is that, and what adverse affect would u have from drinking it?

    1. “Die off” is when the good bacteria kills bad bacteria at a high/fast rate, it causes adverse detox symptoms due to the bad bacteria getting killed and releasing toxins in your body. It’s best to start off with a small amount at first to not overload your body. Some people have no issue with this, while others are very sensitive.

      The adverse effects can be drainage, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, etc. It depends on each person.

      I did not get this effect when drinking Beet Kvass, but felt the need to give a warning, since it is a probiotic. 😉

      More info:

      http://kulturedkaraite.blogspot.com/2012/03/you-are-going-to-get-sick.html

  4. what a great post on this beet kvass. i’m just getting into fermented drinks. i’ve done probiotic lemonade, kombucha and ginger ale, but now i’ll have to give this a go. thanks for your informative post with “likes and dislikes”. i think i’ll start with the golden beets. a couple of questions…should it be strained before refrigeration? should it be bottled in airlock bottles?…should it retain natural effervescence? can you add other flavors during fermentation…such as ginger?…ONE MORE…is it a salty tasting drink? whew, i didn’t know i had that many questions

    1. Thank you!

      1. I do not strain it before refrigeration; honestly, this is out of laziness. I figure, though, that once I am done with the kvass I could always eat the beets, and by that time they are more flavored and may have more probiotics in them? I have yet to do so, however.
      2. I use a mason jar, and use a lid and ring to close it. I haven’t had a batch go bad, and I’ve had it sit in the fridge for months before. The taste simply ages. I don’t have any information on that if you preferred to do that, though.
      3. If I tighten the lid, it’ll keep it’s bubbly nature. But as time goes on, it’s not as bubbly. The best time for that is right after it’s fermented!
      4. I’m not sure; I’m sure you can! It’s work experimenting! Keep in touch if you do! 😉
      5. It is very salty tasting. I had a family try it and didn’t take more than a sip because of the saltiness. I suppose their bodies just didn’t need it. A close friend of mine, and myself, love it for that reason! If you use the whey method, and less salt, you can avoid that if you don’t care for the salty taste.

      I don’t mind it! I apologize for the delayed answer. :] Hope I answered them correctly! lol

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