A friend asked me to write the recipe for a plain and simple beet kvass. She thought, for a beginner, the Apple Ginger Kvass and the Orange Turmeric Kvass were too complicated. And besides, she wanted to know what straight beet kvass tasted like so that she could start experimenting with her own flavors once she got the hang of it.
I said, “Sure! All you need is salt, beets, and water”.
Here’s a little history of Beet Kvass: it is a fermented beet tonic made from beets, salt and water. Kvass originated in Eastern Europe, namely, Russia, Poland and Latvia. Kvass was originally made with stale sourdough rye bread and still is. You may think Vodka is Russia’s national drink, but truth be told, Kvass wins the day. Jennifer Eremeeva exclaims, “In the warmer months, Russian street corners are host to Kvass tanks that dispense the healthy and refreshing liquid to thirsty consumers”.
Take the process of fermenting stale bread, sugar and water and transfer that to heart, blood and liver healthy beets and you have a delicious, rich and salty-sweet beverage that is chock full of gut friendly probiotics and beneficial enzymes.
5 medium to large beets – cut into ½-1 inch pieces
38 grams of kosher salt
2 quarts of water
2-3 large cabbage leaves
1 gallon glass fermenting jar – sanitized
A long wooden or plastic spoon
A lid with and airlock (not necessary if you “burp” you jars daily.
*Sauer Stones (glass fermentation weights) or some other food grade weights *optional*
Rinse beets in warm water to remove dirt.
Chop beets into 1/2 in pieces
Place beets into the glass jar.
Make the brine: Into the 2 quarts of filtered or spring water, stir in 38 grams of kosher salt.
Stir until the salt is dissolved.
Pour the brine over the beets and fill up to the top of the beets.
Roll or fold the cabbage leaves over the beets and press down under the brine.
Use 2 Sauer Stones (glass weights) to hold the cabbage and beets down below the brine optional – if you pack the cabbage leaves carefully over the beets, this step is not necessary.
Prepare to Ferment the Kvass:
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the glass jar.
Screw on the lid.
Through the airlock hole, with a skewer poke a hole in the plastic wrap.
Place the airlock on the lid making sure it penetrates the plastic wrap.
Ferment the Kvass:
Place the jar in a dark place at room temperature (68* to 85*) for 2 weeks. The Kvass will ferment faster at higher temperatures and slower at lower temperatures. You can go longer than two weeks if you wish to have a stronger tasting ferment. Usually I find that the longer I let it ferment, the more sour and floral (yes, floral) the beet kvass tastes. This ferment is very much alive. It is imperative that you either use an airlock, or if using a traditional ball jar lid, you must release the build up of carbon dioxide daily, or your beet kvass MAY BLOW UP.
Bottling, Resting and Refrigerating:
When the Beet Kvass has finished fermenting (to your taste) strain the liquid and discard the beets. You could eat the beets, or use them for another weaker and lighter batch. I prefer to start over with new beets because I have become accustomed to the robust flavor of fully fermented beet kvass.
This recipe makes two quarts of kvass. I have quart size dark brown glass medicine bottles. These seem to work the best for me. I have also bottled in empty, sanitized store bought beet kvass or kombucha bottles; they work just as well.
If you wish, you can rest your bottled kvass on the counter at room temperature for a day or two to build up some carbonation.
Refrigerate your kvass. It will last in the refrigerator for months. But I notice, since my husband has taken a liking to it, I can’t seem to keep 2 quarts for more than 2 weeks.
Beet Kvass is an earthy salty beverage and although I LOVE it, I will admit it can be an acquired taste. I hope you try it. Enjoy.
As always, thank you for coming by to read this. I’d like to grow my readership. If you enjoyed this blog post, add a comment and share it with a friend. 😀 Please visit, subscribe and like my YouTube channel Kickin’ it with Karen: Beyond Sauerkraut to find more things I’ve made.
This video will premiere on 5 February 2019. Come along and visit with me while I make this recipe.