Beet Kvass is a delicious, sweet, salty, earthy, fermented tonic full of immune-boosting probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. Traditionally, it is known for aiding in digestion, combating fatigue and constipation, and is especially great for blood flow too!
Beets for Blood flow
Beets are purple vegetables and purple vegetables are great for blood flow. For this reason, my son drinks Beet Kvass before every workout and my husband drinks his daily dose of purple too…for obvious reasons. My doctor calls beets, “Nature’s Viagra”. We all need good blood flow and healthy blood pressure, and although I am not a doctor and not prescribing anything, I can pass on the fact that eating colorful fruits and vegetables is extremely healthy and healing to the body…naturally. “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,” as Hypocrites, the Father of Medicine is quoted.
Using a Starter Culture
Beet Kvass is loaded with gut-healthy probiotics because it is a naturally fermented beverage. Ultimately, Kvass is cheaper than any probiotic you can purchase over the counter and super simple to make. Fortunately, you can make Beet Kvass without a starter culture using only beets, water, and salt. It just takes a few more days. But, think of a starter culture as being a jumpstart of probiotic inoculation. Depending on the starter culture you use, will determine the flavor of the final product. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ginger Bug
- Vegetable Starter Culture
- Raw Kraut or Pickle Brine (I use Bubbies brand in the refrigerator section of the grocery store)
Whey Starter Culture
Whey is a quick culture and easily accessible. Actually, It is the liquid remaining after milk is curdled and cultured. You have probably seen this liquid form at the top of your yogurt after scooping some out. To separate the whey from yogurt, I use a Greek yogurt maker. This is the super easy cheaters method. Sorry, I love useful kitchen gadgets that multiply my time. I also prefer to eat a thicker yogurt.
To prepare, I purchase regular plain yogurt, dump it in my Greek yogurt maker filter basket, and let gravity work for me in only a few hours. One quart of plain grass-fed yogurt produces about 1/2 cup of whey. You can watch a YouTube video from The Healthy Home Economist on how to separate whey from store-bought yogurt here if you don’t have a Greek yogurt maker.
Ginger Bug is an amazing starter culture if you happen to have some fermenting in your refrigerator. It is a wild, fermented culture made from sugar, ginger, and water. Additionally, it takes about a week with a little daily care to prepare, so this would not be your quick choice. Once your culture is established, you can use it in preparing delicious, probiotic-rich, bubbly sodas and tonics.
I love the additional kick of flavor the ginger gives my Beet Kvass. Ginger is also a circulatory stimulant, increasing blood flow throughout the body and into the tissues; perfect for a pre-workout boost. Ultimately, I use Ginger Bug in other recipes such as fermented root beer and ginger-lime soda in the summer, so I have a jar in my refrigerator all the time. Find the recipe from Nourished Kitchen for Ginger Bug here.
Vegetable Starter Culture
These are packets of dehydrated probiotic cultures that you can purchase through Cultures for Health. When you purchase a box, they can be used to make sauerkraut and other fermented veggies as well.
Raw Kraut or Pickle Brine
Using raw saurkraut or pickle brine is a quick method if you have a jar of raw kraut or pickles, such as Bubbies, in your refrigerator. Note: the brine needs to be from raw sauerkraut or pickles found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store or from your own prepared ferments. Beet Kvass is similar in flavor to sauerkraut except kvass adds a sweet and earthy note along with the salty brine. Dill is a wonderful addition to add to your Beet Kvass while fermenting, so pickle brine would be similar. Personally, I love to use the liquid leftover from the sauerkraut to make my Kvass. Not only is it easy, but it is a great way to use up the leftover liquid that is rich in probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
How to Make Beet Kvass
Preparing Beet Kvass literally takes minutes and once you work it into your schedule, it will be easy peasy. I use a gallon clamp lid jar because we drink a lot of this. This will usually yield about a half gallon of Beet Kvass as well as some delicious fermented beets, perfect for a salad. Think of the Beet Kvass as you would sauerkraut brine. Not only would you eat the sauerkraut, but you can drink the juice as well.
Salt to Water Ratio Depending on Your Jar Size
It takes approximately ten days to prepare, so I don’t want to mess with quart jars all the time. Just keep in mind, you will need about 1 tsp of Real salt, Celtic salt, or Himalayan sea salt (all rich in minerals) per 1 cup of liquid. This ratio will not be as important if you are using a starter culture because starter cultures infuse your kvass with loads of healthy bacteria that destroy any bad bacteria. Salt is a natural preservative…so are healthy bacteria.
- First, you are going to cube or julienne enough clean and well-scrubbed (not peeled) beets to fill your jar 2/3 of the way full. Feel free to use either red or golden beets.
- If you want to add any additional flavors, such as sliced fresh ginger or turmeric root, garlic, pickling spices, or herbs such as dill or bay leaf, go for it. Personally, if I am not using Ginger Bug, I will add about a 1″ knob of fresh sliced ginger for the added blood flow boost.
- Add in 1/4-1/2 cup starter culture (whey, ginger bug, or brine) to your beets. I use 1/2 cup sauerkraut brine for my gallon jug. I believe the packets of culture recommend 1/2 packet per quart of vegetables. See packet for directions.
- Prepare your salt brine using 1 tsp salt per cup of water. For example, if you are making a quart jar of Kvass, then you will use 4 tsp salt to 4 cups of filtered water. You will have extra brine. I wing it and add 3 Tablespoons of Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt (our taste preference) to my gallon jug and then fill my jar with filtered water up to about an inch from the top. I taste to see if I am happy with the saltiness level. That has always worked for me.
- Fill your jar up to 1 inch from the top and give it a good gentle rock back and forth to combine the salt water with the starter culture.
- Place your lid on the jar or clamp the jar down and remember to burp your jar occasionally to let out any pressure build-up from the fermentation process.
- Set on the counter and cover with a tea towel for 10-14 days.
- After the 10-14 days, strain and place in a clean jar to consume or keep the beets in the jar to keep slowly fermenting.
- Don’t be alarmed if you notice any white foam on top of your Kvass. Most likely it is just kahm yeast which is harmless. Skim it off with a spoon. As with any ferment, if your Beet Kvass smells foul or has colored mold, discard and start over. Always work with clean, sterilized jars and utensils.
- Enjoy sipped daily, before and after exercise as a natural “sports drink,” or when the craving strikes.
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Fermenting lids– I have used wide-mouth quart sized jars with these fermenting lids as well as jars with clamp lids. If you use a jar with a clamp lid, you will need to burp them often. Fermenting causes natural gasses to form causing pressure to develop inside the jar. The fermenting lids allow for this pressure to be released while not exposing contents to bad bacteria.
Greek yogurt maker for preparing whey starter culture.
Flour Sack Towels– These are my favorite multi-use towels.
Celtic Sea Salt– Light grey Celtic is my preferred salt for fermenting vegetables or making Beet Kvass. The mineral content is rich and easily assimilated into the body.