This ‘Love Your Liver’ Beet Kvass number can hardly be called a recipe. It is more of a process, really. Nevertheless, I dedicate this baby to my former business partner and friend, Emma.
Unlike me, she’s not a fan of fermented vegetables. But, she is a fan of the kraut juice that comes from fermenting your veggies. And, this little nutrient dense tonic contains a good boost of that kraut juice + a whole lot of other benefits, too…
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler
Me, I’m not such a fan of beets. Especially, cooked beets. I find their earthiness overwhelms a dish. But, I know just how good for me beets are. So, a lovely tart fermented beet kvass is a great solution. And, while kvass is not quite as bubbly as kombucha, it is slightly effervescent as a result of the fermentation process.
Want to know about the health benefits of beets?
Beets (or beetroot, as we call them in this neck of the woods) are a wonder-food used to cure all number of ailments. Some of these include the treatment of anaemia, indigestion, constipation, kidney disorders, gall bladder disorders, cancer, and heart disease. Beetroot are said to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, improve blood circulation, aid in skin care, help with respiratory problems. They are a true wünderfood!
These intensely ruby-coloured root vegetables contain phytonutrients, which are the source of their deep red colour but also known disease-fighting substances.
- are great for cleansing the liver and purifying the blood. While many people think that alcohol is the only reason for liver problems, disease-causing inflammation is also caused by poor eating choices.
- contain natural-occurring nitrates which convert into nitric oxide inside the body. This helps to dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure overall.
- help to reduce inflammation. They contain a nutrient called betaine, which helps protect cells as well as enzymes and proteins from oxidative stress caused by the environment. This helps keep inflammation at bay and also helps protect the vascular system.
- help naturally cleanse the gallbladder, improve bile flow, remove plenty of toxins and promote regularity!
- in the form of kvass, also a great way to get more gut-healing probiotics into your diet.
One of my whole-food idols, Sally Fallon has this to say about beet kvass in her best-selling Nourishing Traditions,
“This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalises the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”
What exactly is Beet Kvass?
Beet Kvass is a fermented beet tonic made up of really simple ingredients. In fact, of all the ferments you can create, I think it is one of the easiest and least intimidating. You don’t need any fancy equipment, either.
Traditionally heralded as a blood and liver tonic, beet kvass originated in the Ukraine and Russia. Apparently you can still see barrels of the stuff on the streets in Russia!
A few things to note:
- It is important that your water is free of chemicals. If filtered spring water is available to you, use that. Me, I boil a full kettle and leave it to cool overnight.
- As with all fermentation, your beets should be organic if at all possible. We’re fermentting these babies and investing time and effort into creating a nutrient dense addition to our diet. You want to avoid added pesticides if you can.
- If your beets are organic, there’s no need to peel them. If they aren’t, you’ll need to
- While I have an anaerobic Pickl-It jar, you can use any large glass or ceramic receptacle.
- My recipe is for a basic kvass. You can experiment with flavour combinations. Try adding carrot, orange or a little mint.
- If your kvass develops some froth or scum on the surface, simply skim it off with a spoon.
I have been enjoying my kvass as a pre-meal cocktail. Just 1/3 of a cup, or so. It’s also lovely diluted with sparkling water – makes you feel like you’re indulging while others enjoy their alcoholic beverages!
Kvass can be added to soups and braises and used as an alternative to vinegar in salad dressings, too.
- Approximately 1 kilo (2 pounds) beets, preferably organic
- ½ cup of kraut juice from your favourite sauerkraut recipe
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Filtered water
- Wash your beets. (If you are not using organic beets, peel them, too). Chop roughly into cubes of approximately 2 cm.
- Place your chopped beets into a large jar. Add the kraut juice and salt. Cover with water until the jar is almost full.
- If you are not using an anaerobic vessel, cover your jar with a tea-towel or cheesecloth and allow the kvass to ferment at room temperature for at least one week (I prefer two in the wintertime when the temperature is lower)
- When the kvass reaches your preferred flavour, strain into bottles and refrigerate.
E N J O Y !
If you’re new to the world of gut-healing fermentation, here’s my post on How to Ferment Your Vegetables, too!