I’m sure by know you’ve noticed that I’ve been on a fermenting kick… it’ll end. I promise.
Truth is, having a healthy gut is going to let you absorb the nutrients you’re taking in so much better. I can give you recipes that are “this”-free or “that”-free but if you haven’t given your gut time to heal, given it the nutrients that the body needs to facilitate healing and have repopulated it with healthful bacteria, all of that is for naught. So my latest ferment: Beet Kvass. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? (Kidding.) It’s definitely an acquired taste and the first few times you make it, you probably won’t like it. But stick with it! Your taste buds will be adjusting and usually people come around.
Kvass is salty and picks up the earthiness of the beets. Historically, it was an Eastern European tonic and was more or less the Windex of that area. (Three points for you if you recognize that movie reference.)It’s weird to think that they have carts in Eastern Europe selling this stuff. But, unlike our fried and greasy food carts or 7-11s selling food laden with high-fructose corn syrup and other nasty additives, this stuff is super healthy.
(Kvass Wagon from a photo on Wild Fermentation)
According to “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon (which, btw, I highly suggest adding to your library), kvass is
“valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”
Traditionally, kvass was not made with beets, but with stale sourdough rye bread. I personally am more than happy with the beets. In an article from The Weston A. Price Foundation,
Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing properties and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. Anecdotal reports indicate that beet kvass is an excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.
So here’s the recipe, inspired by “Nourishing Traditions” – enjoy!
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 2 tsp sea salt, non-iodized and no anti-caking agents (add an addt’l 2 tsp if you do not have sauerkraut juice)
- 1/4 cup sauerkraut juice
- 3-4 organic beets, gently scrubbed with peel on, and cut into ½” cubes (any color beet will work and avoid finely chopping or grating the beets, which can lead to very rapid fermentation and alcohol production)
- Place beets, sauerkraut juice and salt in a half gallon glass container (2 quarts).
- Add filtered water to fill the container to just below an inch from the top and stir well and cover securely.
- Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.
- When most of the liquid has been consumed, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first.
- After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your starter instead of the whey.