When Mom handed me my first beet kvass a few years back, I was a little dubious.
Beet ‘soda’? Really? I mean, I loved the earthiness of beets, and their importance as a blood tonic, anti-inflammatory and detoxifier led me to appreciate them even more but… an effervescent, drinkable beet seemed a little… odd.
Needless to say, I’ve since become a huge fan of kvass. It can provide the perfect alternative to some of the more popular lacto-fermented foods currently available in our markets like kimchi or raw sauerkraut and, especially in warmer months, serve as a refreshing splash of relief.
Lacto-fermentation is the process by which sugars are converted into lactic acid, a naturally-occurring preservative that inhibits harmful bacteria growth in the body. It also maintains the vitamin and enzyme content in your food that, in turn, promotes healthy digestion. To allow for the creation of lactic acid, I opt to use whey instead of vinegar when making fermented foods.
This is truly a recipe in which there is no waste: If you choose to make your own whey (through the straining of a good-quality plain yogurt), you’re left with something akin to cream cheese, which can be pretty exciting if you’re dairy-tolerant. AND! You can steam your unused beet greens, dress with a little salt and oil and have yourself a delicious and nutritious side dish. All too often we throw away the parts of the vegetable or food product that we’re intimidated by, or assume are unusable, beet greens are a great example of this. They’re amazing steamed, as recommended above, or try throwing them into your morning smoothie or salad at lunch, chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised and might even discover a new favorite food.
3 medium organic beets, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 cups plain yogurt (to strain to make whey)
¼ cup whey (to make this dairy/casein-free, simply omit it and use 2 tablespoons of salt instead of just one)
1 tablespoon sea salt
Scoop 2 cups plain yogurt into an unbleached coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to sit for roughly 2-3 hours to strain off whey. Once you accrue ¼ cup of whey, set off to the side. You’ll be using it a little later. Place the left over yogurt “cheese” in a tightly sealed container and use as you would cream cheese or sour cream.
Next, grab your beets. If they have greens, simply cut off the tops and save for later steaming!
Grab your peeler and carefully cut away skin from each of the beets.
Cut them into large cubes and place inside a ½ gallon mason jar.
Next, pour the whey over the beets. Then add sea salt.
Add filtered water until you reach the neck of the mason jar. Seal tightly and place in a dark, room-temperature location for 2 days. After 48 hours, transfer to your fridge and, when you’re ready to take a swig, simply pour yourself a small glass and enjoy the benefits of this amazing tonic.
+ How do you use the whole? Share your tips, tricks and recipes in the comments!
Check out more posts celebrating #FPEarthMonth!