Beet Kvass is one of the most famous and simple recipes for fermented drinks and is highly appreciated, especially in the United States. Its origin from Russia or Eastern Europe is not historically proven. There, kwas (квас), a drink made from fermented rye bread, is drunk. Combined with beet, it is made into soups, but that is where the connection ends.
If you like vegetable juices, you will immediately love this ferment. For those with a sweet tooth, it's an acquired taste. However, if you taste thoroughly, you will notice that beet roots have an innate sweetness and will make you want more.
Beet Kvass is more than just a thirst quencher for Ferment-A-Freaks.
All beets help to reduce inflammation in the body. The nutrient betanin (from Latin beta: beet, root) is antioxidant, so it protects our cells and vascular system from environmental influences. Beetroot contains many nutrients, vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals such as potassium and manganese.
Also B vitamins and a high amount of folic acid.
Especially at the end of the calendar year, between Christmas and New Year's Eve, my body often craves something fresh, earthy, astringent. Do you know this feeling? Beet Kvass fits this craving perfectly. Even when I'm fasting, this delicious drink feels like it refreshes every single cell.
Somewhere in the depths of the Internet I read that this lactofermented drink is great for liver detox. To what extent this is true, I can not judge. But it is definitely not unhealthy.
For a 1.5 liter jar you need
- 3-4 medium sized beets
- 3 large slices of ginger
- 2 piper longum (long pepper) *
- ~ 1 liter water
- ~ 30 gr. rock salt
You can ferment Beet Kvass in a variety of ways
The combination with ginger and long pepper is my personal classic. I would not omit either of the two ingredients. In addition to that, I also like variations with e.g. 3 thick slices of radish or 2 leaves of red cabbage, spices like juniper, bay leaf, allspice or, for a slightly different aroma, lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves.
First, prepare the brine so that the salt has enough time to dissolve. To do this, mix 3% salt with water.
Peel the beet if you want to eat it afterwards, because the skin is quite tough. If you use organic vegetables and the peel does not bother you, leave it on. The bacteria on it will help the fermentation process. Remove the stalk and top and cut the roots into quarters. By the way, it's best to wear gloves when processing beet if you don't want pink hands.
Cut 3 slices from a 6-7 cm long, 2-3 cm thick piece of ginger.
Place the beet pieces, ginger and long pepper in the jar and fill with the brine. Leave about 2 finger wide space to the edge of the jar, so that the developing gases do not push the liquid out of the jar. Insert the rubber ring and close the jar. Swirl the jar several times a day so that everything is constantly covered by the brine and no mold can develop.
Allow to ferment at room temperature for 10-11 days, marveling at the color development and carbonation. When it bubbles nicely, it's time to move on to the beverage.
Strain, fill into swing-top bottles and store cold. The fermentation continues still inside the bottle! In the cold it is greatly slowed down, but if you have no experience with fermented beverages, ventilate the swing top every now and then to get a feel for the pressure that builds up.
That leaves all the leftover vegetables...
This is true. But it is not bad, because you can follow up with a second fermentation without further ado. Just fill the jar again with 3% brine, close it, and let it stand until it significantly bubbles. This again takes about 10-11 days.
But that still leaves all the vegetables...
Exactly. Either you make another batch, or you nibble away the beet as a snack. The ginger and long pepper give the pink root vegetables a delicious spiciness. However, because they are a little too salty for me due to the 3% salt, I either rinse them thoroughly or grate them and combine them with unsalted vegetables or toss them in a salad. You can, of course, juice them and enjoy them either with the kvass or plain. And if you want more veggies and less drink, just ferment the beets according to my other beetroot recipe with ginger and vanilla.
Beet Kvass is a zero waste product!
You can also prepare the Kvass with only one beet root. Then the first fermentation should last at least 3-4 months, so that your drink does not taste too watery. I prefer the variant with a lot of beet and several fermentation cycles. If the kvass is too strong for you, you can of course dilute it with water.
I love this neon pink, salty wholesome drink. The taste gets rounder and earthier over time. How cool it is to consume living, changing things. A shot glass every day. Cheers!