“No Ukranian home was ever without it’s beet kvass. The kvass was always handy and ready when a pleasing, sour flavour had to be added to soups and vinaigrettes.” Lubow A Kyivska from Ukranian Dishes.
Kvass is a probiotic health boosting beverage often made from beets. By culturing the beets in brine, beneficial bacteria proliferates the same as in other fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir or sauerkraut. This bacteria helps support digestive health and immune system function, alkalizes blood, cleanses the liver and contributes to cardiovascular, cognitive and cellular health. People who regularly consume kvass tend to have less gut issues and tend to avoid illness from flu viruses.
In the Ukraine, beets and berries are used to make kvass and served as a tonic and addition to soup, sauce and vinaigrette recipes. It’s interesting to see how many Ukranian variations of kvass there are ~ I had no idea. Years ago, a good friend gave me Nourishing Traditions, a must-have cookbook! Beet kvass is featured in the tonics and super foods section, which I kind of overlooked until recently. The recipe calls for four ingredients; whey, sea salt, filtered water and organic beets. All you need is a 2 quart jar with a lid and you’re good to go! Kvass is one of the easiest concoctions I’ve ever made. It takes very little time and the result is magical. If you are new to kvass or other fermented foods, it’s suggested you introduce it to your system slowly and start with a teaspoon a day for about a week. Eventually increasing to a shot (100 ml) once a day.
Makes 2 Quarts Kvass
- 3-4 large organic beets, with skins, cubed into 2″ pieces
- 1 T fine sea salt
- 1/4 C whey (recipe below)
- Filtered water
- 2 quart glass jar with lid, sterilized
I added the following to my recipe. This is optional of course.
- 2″ piece of organic ginger root, cleaned sliced down the middle (no need to peel)
- 1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
- 3 pieces organic orange peel, about 3″ in length
How to make whey:
Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained or when yogurt is strained.
Pour 2 quarts raw milk in a glass jar and cover loosely to keep clean. Leave on your kitchen counter for four to seven days or until it begins to separate. Once separated, line a bowl with cheese cloth (or clean kitchen towel) and pour separated milk into cheese cloth. The whey will pour through to the bowl and the “yogurt” or “cream cheese” will remain in the cheese cloth. Refrigerate whey in a glass jar for up to 3 months and the “yogurt” in a glass jar for up to one month. Use the whey for making beet or fruit kvass, kimchi, sauerkraut or fermented mayonnaise.
Please note that you can use 32 oz organic full-fat yogurt in place of raw milk and go straight to the cheese cloth step.