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How to Make Beet Kvass (+ Beet Kvass Benefits)

How to Make Beet Kvass (+ Beet Kvass Benefits)

Imagine this: a cholera epidemic is raging in Moscow. And before these russian soldiers go out onto the streets, they take a ladleful each of “a particular red drink”. In doing so, they feel invigorated, and have no fear of being infected.

 
Immune booster

This story comes from the Russian writer Tolstoy (who was a keen observer of 19th century Russian life). This story shows how people perceived this particular “red drink”: as a potent immune booster.

The drink is called ‘kvass’ and is made of fermented red beets (beetroot).

And in Ukraine as well, it was a popular drink. They called it a “Cure All”. Apparently, traditional homes always had a bottle of kvass on hand. The drink was often used as a tangy addition in soups, vinaigrettes, and borscht (red beet soup).

 

Why was (and is) beet kvass so popular?

Because of its nutritional and health properties. Take a look.

Beet kvass:

– cleanses the liver
– improves digestion with over 20 different beneficial probiotics
– is also a good source of whole-spectrum, natural iodine.
– helps with allergies
– helps detox from radiation and toxin exposure
– is used as a cancer therapy throughout Europe and is frequently recommended to cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy
– and more and more

That’s a whole load of positive properties.

 

Beet kvass health benefits

Beetroot is truly is a superb food. You’re missing out if you’re not including it in your diet, in any form. But don’t take my word for it: this comes from the BeetIt site:

HEALTH BENEFITS:

Helps regulate blood pressure
Promotes cognitive health
Prevention against anemia
Antioxidant properties
Anti-inflammatory properties
Detoxification properties
Lowers bad cholesterol
A Stamina enhancer via oxygen usage efficiency
A weapon against infection
A gate keeper of blood flow to certain organs
Improves digestion

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS:

High in potassium – Potassium helps lower blood pressure, prevent strokes and improve brain function. it ensures proper growth of muscle tissue and aides in the delivery of oxygen to the brain.
High in iron – Iron helps fight against anemia, delivers oxygen to cells and is important for muscle proteins.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps protect against infection by boosting your immune system as well as aids in preventing respiratory problems
Folate – Folate aides in the production and maintenance of cells and prevents against anemia.
Betaine – Betaine is an amino acid found in beets, has significant anti-cancer properties. Studies show that beet juice inhibits formation of cancer-causing compounds and is protective against colon or stomach cancer. It is an important nutrient for cardiovascular health that fights naturally occurring acids that lead to heart disease, strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. It has been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
Riboflavin – Riboflavin help enzymes perform metabolic functions, increases oxygen delivery in the blood and acts as an antioxidant to protect against chronic diseases such as cancer.
Vitamin B6 – An important nutrient in the development of hemoglobin. It is a critical nutrient for healthy nerve function.
Carbohydrates – Beets contains a significant amount of carbohydrates that provides fuel to boost energy.
Fiber – Beets juice is a good source of fibre, and this means that it can further reduce blood pressure by reducing cholesterol.
Boron – Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones – Nature’s Viagra

Oh yes, that’s a long list :)

 

How to make beet kvass
A glass of homemade red beet kvass

 

And then there’s the extra fermentation

The process of fermentation increases the amounts of vitamins. In vegetables this is mostly about Vitamin C.

But fermentation does way more than that.

The process is actually called ‘lacto-fermentation’. That means that carbohydrates and sugars in vegetables are converted into ‘lactic acid’. Why is that good? Because lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria.

 

Probiotics and lactobacilli

And this conversion is done by specific species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. We call these species: “lactobacilli”.

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits of probiotics and lactobacilli. It’s a trend nowadays to stuff foods with synthetic probiotics and lactobacilli. You may have also taken a probiotic pill before.

The fact is, these pills and “added probiotics” only contain a small slice of all the existing types of health promoting bacteria. They are not the varied types of bacteria you can produce with lacto-fermentation.

 

Lacto-fermentation also increases enzymes

As Kristen Michaelis writes on her blog FoodRenegade.com:

As you age, your body’s supply of enzymes decreases. This has caused many scientists to hypothesize that if you could guard against enzyme depletion, you could live a longer, healthier life.

Eating an enzyme-rich diet decreases the load on your pancreas, preserving your body’s own natural enzyme potential, thereby reducing your risk of chronic diseases.

So there you have it. If you or someone you know has stress, digestive problems, blood issues, cancer, toxicity, or general health issues please tell them about beet kvass.

 

How to make beet kvass

This is the recipe we make here at home. I compiled this recipe based on different sources (in books and online). I can’t remember the exact sources though. But all the recipes found online are pretty similar.

Get 2 – 4 red beets. Two if they’re really big, four if they’re really small.

Cut the beets into small cubes (don’t grate them or the beets will ferment too quickly – doesn’t taste nice).

Put the chopped beets into a 1 gallon (2 litres) mason jar. I use a Fido for this.

Add 1 leveled tablespoon of salt (we use himalayan salt, but you could use any other salt).

Add some water (fill about half the jar), and stir until the salt is dissolved.

Add 1/4 cup of sauerkraut juice (you could use whey too). This will act as a starter.

Add more water. Fill the jar with more water, but leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch at the top for headspace (so the fermentation gases have some room).

Stir and mix everything well.

 

Close and store

Close the lid and place the jar somewhere safe, at room temperature. Cover it with a cloth (so no light can reach it).

This first batch I usually leave for 3 days. I never open it in that time.

 

Pour into bottles

After those 3 days, open up the jar and pour the liquid into bottles. Leave the beets in the jar, as well as 10% of the liquid.

This beet kvass has a really nice taste, although it is not so fizzy. If I would have left it for longer it would have gotten fizzier.

 

Start a second batch

But I choose to do a short 3 day cycle to have more goodness in the beets left. This enables me to do a second batch with the same beets. That’s what the 10% of the liquid is for. This will become the starter of the second batch.

So no need to add sauerkraut or whey juice to this second batch. You just need to add the salt and more water, and that’s it.

You can leave to sit this second batch for about 10 days. To really let the water soak up the minerals from the beets. And letting it sit for 10 days creates a much more fizzy drink. Yummy!

(Again, I never open it in those 10 days. The headspace ensures there is space for the gases.)

 

What to do with the left over beets

After this, you can use the beets in a salad (for example). But I ususally toss the beets. They hardly have any taste left and all the goodness has been used anyway.

Awesome drink!

 

What’s the difference between beet kvass and fermented beets?

Fermented beets have little water, and the nutrients stay in the beets. So you want to consume the beets.

But beet kvass is mostly water, and all the nutrients from the beets get absorbed in the water. So you can safely toss the beets (especially after you made 2 batches of kvass with them).

 

White foam

You might find that sometimes a white ‘foam’ forms on top of the liquid. This is harmless and all you need to do is scoop it off before you pour into the bottles.

 

Keep in fridge

As long as it smells and tastes ok, it’s still fine. Kvass keeps for a long time in the fridge. But for how long exactly I couldn’t tell you, because we finish a bottle in one week!

 

How much to drink

We usually drink half a glass every morning and every evening. But of course, that’s up to you? You could drink more, or less.

Enjoy!
 
 

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