Beet Kvass – An Unbeetable Traditional Ukranian Health Drink

Beet Kvass

It’s been a while since I last made beet kvass. Every few months, I get the urge to make some and this month of May was one of them. It must be my body telling me I’m in need of something therapeutic. Beet kvass, which is thought to have originated in the Ukraine a long time ago, is a probiotic drink that is chock full of health-giving properties and made using the humble beetroot.

What is Beet Kvass?

CT is responsible for introducing me to beet kvass, along with most of the other fermented food and drink I’ve eaten over the last twenty years or so. I really ought to be a lot healthier than I am, but alas, I do love my carbs. I have a useful post on kefir, what it is, how to make it and what to do with it, but for some reason posts on fermented foods seem to be somewhat lacking.

Kvass is a russian probiotic drink that is traditionally made with stale rye bread. It’s said to taste a little like beer, despite being non-alcoholic. I’ve not yet tried to make it, but I really should. Beet kvass, on the other hand, is probably from the Ukraine, where traditional homes would always have a bottle to hand. It’s a simple tonic made by lacto-fermenting beetroots.

Beet Kvass

Beetroot is, despite its humble associations, a fantastic source of all sorts of nutrients. There’s no need to go searching the Amazon for superfoods, there’s one growing in a garden near you right now. Fermenting it just makes those properties even more vibrant and accessible. When beetroot mixes with salt, it converts the sugars and starches into lactic acid and preserves the beet kvass in so doing. The finished drink acts as a digestive aid and is attributed with all sorts of health claims including, boosting the immune system and cleansing the blood and liver.

Beet kvass works at its best taken regularly in small doses, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. A small glassful (50 to 80 ml) is about right, though if you like it, more is absolutely fine. It’s probably one of the cheapest health tonics you can get. 

Making Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is incredibly easy to make. It’s just a question of scrubbing and cutting up some beetroot, adding water and salt, then leaving it to ferment for about a week. If you have some whey or sauerkraut juice available it speeds up the process, but it’s not necessary. I usually add a little whey to get things going, but I’ve not strained any yoghurt or kefir recently, so didn’t have any to hand. It was fine without.

When the beet kvass is ready, just strain the lot through a fine sieve, bottle and keep in the fridge until needed. It should last for several months. I usually repeat the process, using the same beetroot pieces again. This second fermentation is generally not quite as powerful as the first, but it’s not far off. Don’t use them more than twice though.

The leftover lacto-fermented beets can be eaten as they are, turned into soup or smoothies or incorporated into any number of recipes where you’d normally use beetroot.

Spent Beet Kvass Beetroot

Beet kvass has a savoury, almost umami taste to it, with a slight sour tang, which makes it almost delicious. The initial saltiness is reduced by the fermentation process as is some of the earthiness that a few people find hard to tolerate. Even beetroot hating CT likes to have a daily dose when I’ve made a batch. I’d be hard pushed to say he drank it with relish, however. I, on the other hand, positively look forward to drinking my dose of medicine.

Beet Kvass – The Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Beet Kvass
Beet Kvass
Prep Time
5 mins
Fermenting Time
7 d
 
Beet kvass is a cheap and tasty Ukrainian lacto-fermented health drink. Preparing it is simple and before long, you'll be making it on a regular basis.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Eastern European
Servings: 10 glasses
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sized beetroots - scrubbed well organic is best if you can find them
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • filtered water
Instructions
  1. Chop the beetroot into rough chunks and place in the bottom of a sealable 1 litre glass jar.
  2. Sprinkle over the salt and top the jar up with water, leaving a 2 cm gap at the top. Stir well.
  3. Seal the jar and leave on the counter for about a week. Time will vary according to temperature. When the kvass has taken on a deep purple colour and you start to see bubbles forming, it's ready. Although personal taste preferences will also have an influence.
  4. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve. Bottle and seal. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Recipe Notes

Ensure you don't use chlorinated water, as this is likely to hinder the fermentation process.

 

It's best to use sea salt as the iodine added to table salt may inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria.

 

If you get a grey or brownish layer developing on top, don't worry, just scoop it out before sieving. But if the mixture smells off, throw it away.

 

Will keep in the fridge for several months.

 

Best taken as a small glassful twice a day.

 

#CookBlogShareI’m sharing this beet kvass recipe with #CookBlogShare, hosted this week over at Hijacked By Twins.

 

 

 

Other beetroot recipes you might like

Beet Kvass. PIN IT.

Beet kvass. A cheap and tasty traditional Ukrainian lacto-fermented health drink. #FermentedFoods #HealthDrink #Tonic #Beetroot #Recipe

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Kate
    30th May 2018

    I’m so intrigued by this beet kvass! I really would love to give it a go and taste it. It sounds easy, so I just need to get my hands on some beetroot! Thanks for introducing me to this.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th May 2018

      Oh yes do give it a go Kate. It’s super easy, if a little messy. It may take a little getting used to, but I really like it.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    30th May 2018

    I have to confess I’ve not come across beet kvass before Choclette, but it sounds absolutely fascinating – and so blinking easy to make too! I’ll definitely have to give it a try.
    Angela x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th May 2018

      It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but you don’t have to drink very much of it and I really like it.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      30th May 2018

      Oh no Angie. I am shocked! Though also pleased you’re getting ideas from me for a change 🙂

  3. Leave a Reply

    Galina V
    30th May 2018

    I have never tried a beet kvas, but used to love bread kvas. It’s also a great base for a cold summer soup. Must try your recipe, it sounds wonderfully refreshing.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      31st May 2018

      Yes, I really must try bread kvass, especially as I make my own rye sourdough. I used the spent beets to make a cold soup – much appreciated when the weather was so hot.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Ceri Jones
    31st May 2018

    I’ve never tried or made Kvass. Must add it to the list of fermented drinks to experiement with – so good for you. Love how pink this is!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      31st May 2018

      Oh, it’s such an easy one to try Ceri. No special ingredients or equipment needed. Just somewhere you can leave a largish jar for a week or so.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Jemma
    31st May 2018

    I’ve never heard of this before so I’m intrigued and would love to give it a go. I love the taste of beet juice, is it similar?

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      31st May 2018

      It’s not really like beet juice, although you can taste the beetroots. It’s more savoury with a bit of a tang and it has greater depth of flavour. It’s ever so easy to do, so give it a go.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      4th June 2018

      If you like beetroot, you’ll probably be fine with this. I like it, but I think it took me a while to get used to it.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Elizabeth
    2nd June 2018

    This sounds extraordinary! I’ve never heard of this either but I really want to try it – it sounds gorgeous, and good for you too!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      3rd June 2018

      I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say it’s gorgeous, but I do like it and also notice the difference when I drink it.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder
    2nd June 2018

    Beet kvass is well known in Poland and from my experience when I was growing up it would be prepared mainly to create a base for clear borscht (barszcz) that was served on Christmas Eve. Same method of preparing/fermenting but there were also fair few aromatics added like garlic, allspice, bay leaf etc. I’ve heard so much recently about the health benefits of kvass on its own , that will happily give it a go.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      4th June 2018

      Oh that is interesting Jo. Was the borscht cooked or were ingredients added to the cold kvass? Cooking it would destroy many of the benefits.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder
    6th June 2018

    Kvass is added to the hot vegetable stock to intensify the flavour of borscht and add some acidity so unfortunately some health benefits of cold kvass will definitely be destroyed but I must say proper clear borscht using kvass is simply the best. I have just put my kvass on earlier today with the intention of drinking and enjoying all the goodness. Thanks so much for the recipe and bringing it to my attention again!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      7th June 2018

      Well, I can see why adding kvass to borscht is a good idea and next time I make it, I will be sure to include it. I don’t really know enough about the heating process, but it could be like miso, that as long as it’s not boiled, nothing beneficial is destroyed.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>