BEET KVASS

Fermenting: Room temperature 2-14 days
Storage: Refrigerator 3-4 weeks
Yield: 5-6 cups per batch
      
Kvass is a traditional probiotic drink made by fermenting bread scraps. Beet kvass is made using fresh beetroot, starter, salt and water. Beet kvass is salty, earthy, can be sweet or sour and flavoured by adding extra ingredients.
   
Ingredients:
2-4 beetroot
2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
1/4 cup whey or brine (optional, see tips)
2 teaspoons salt (4 teaspoons if no whey is added)
6-8 cups filtered water
5-6 teaspoons sugar (optional)
   
Method:
  1. Wash beetroot and peel. Dice into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes and place into a 2 litre (half-gallon) Mason jar fitted with an airlock, or use a Fido jar, or a ceramic crock. 
  2. Add garlic, whey and salt to the jar. Add filtered (room temperature) water to 2.5cm (1 inch) from the rim. Add airlock to Mason jar.
  3. Culture (ferment) at room temperature for 2-7 days, up to 14 days. Refrigerate once desired flavour is achieved.
  4. Strain kvass into bottles and refrigerate to enjoy immediately (consume within 3-4 weeks). Beetroot can be re-used for a second, third or fourth batch of beet kvass – skip the whey and add 1/4 cup kvass liquid to ferment the next batch quicker.
  5. Carbonate beet kvass by adding 1 teaspoon sugar into 1 cup kvass (placed into airtight bottles) and fermenting for a further 2-3 days before refrigeration.
  6. Flavour develops further during refrigeration.
  7. Enjoy!
    
TIPS:
  • Beetroot get an unpleasant, over-fermented flavour if grated into kvass, so keep them diced or sliced;
  • You can use different coloured beets – however only the red beets contain betacyanin (see health benefits);
  • Collect whey from yoghurt, milk kefir or clabbered milk;
  • Powdered kefir starter can also be used to make beet kvass;
  • Or use brine from sauerkraut or kimchi (not water kefir or kombucha because they make a yeasty kvass);
  • Fido Jars are hinged jars that will need to be “burped” daily to release excess gases;
  • Airlocks (or a solid lid) prevent mould and kahm yeast on the surface of the kvass.
 
FLAVOUR IDEAS:
  • Add a diced apple (peeled, cored);
  • Add 1 turnip to 3 beets;
  • Add 1/2 a shallot (peeled, sliced);
  • Add garlic, ginger or horseradish;
  • Add seeds i.e. caraway, dill, 
  • Add fresh herbs i.e. dill, parsley, tarragon, basil, chives, coriander or mint;
  • Add black or white pepper;
  • Add spices i.e. cinnamon, allspice or cardamom;
  • Honey;
  • Citrus juice and/or zest i.e. orange, lemon;
  • Add dried fruit;
  • Honey Dijon mustard;
  • Add sugar (especially if carbonating).
   
SERVING IDEAS:
  • Serve beet kvass over ice, topped up with mineral water to taste;
  • Mix equal parts beet kvass with ginger beer;
  • Mix equal parts beet kvass with pomegranate juice;
  • Just like all fermented foods, begin with a few spoons of kvass, increasing amounts every few days as your body adjusts – increase to two servings (2 x 1/4 cup kvass) daily;
  • Colour boiled eggs with beet kvass;
  • Add kvass to borscht, soups, vinaigrettes and sauces.
  • Beet Kvass Dip: blend leftover beetroot with carrot and microwave until cooked, blend with chickpeas and add ground cumin, salt, pepper, Greek-style yoghurt and sour cream to taste. 
   
BEET KVASS HEALTH BENEFITS:
Beet kvass is a probiotic food, supporting immunity by increasing white blood cells and aiding the body’s digestive system by being high in fibre, manganese, potassium and lactobacilli. Beets contain a high level of food enzymes and B vitamins (especially folate) and have been used as a liver cleanser. Beets are a rich source of glutamine, an amino acid that benefits the intestinal tract. Consuming beets may also assist treatment for chronic fatigue, allergies, digestive problems, chemical sensitivities and may reduce blood pressure. 

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