Root to Stem: A Beet Kvass Recipe & Lessons in Using the Whole

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.

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Beet Kvass

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

filtered water

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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.

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Next, grab your beets. If they have greens, simply cut off the tops and save for later steaming!

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Grab your peeler and carefully cut away skin from each of the beets.

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Cut them into large cubes and place inside a ½ gallon mason jar.

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Next, pour the whey over the beets. Then add sea salt.

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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!

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This looks and sounds amazingly healthy! Will have to try x

Love these recipe!! Good idea
xx

olweis

Thanks for the writing such an informative post.

Ever since I read that beets can help clear up skin I’ve been dying to try beet juice!

I also had never heard of this- so interesting!

Warm Regards,
Alexandra
http://www.littlewildheart.com

I’ve never tried beets in a drink! Will look into this!

Delia

I recently made beet kvass! I love all the health benefits, and I’ve noticed my skin clearing a bit since I’ve started drinking about 4 oz every morning. Any tips on how to make it actually taste good? I have to chug it and chase it with something else to get it down!

Katrina

Mmmm I love beet kvass! I drink it every morning with my breakfast to keep my gut flora happy and healthy. Instead of using yogurt/whey protein, I use juice from fermented sauerkraut that my boyfriend makes. Doing that usually speeds up the fermentation process, as well. I also load mine with turmeric (whole pieces), ginger, and garlic for extra benefits and to pack a little flavor in. It’s definitely a nice kick in the morning to get you going!

Summer

I use the whole beet by sautéing the greens and roasting the bottoms. When I roast the bottoms, I wrap them in aluminum foil and bake at 405 for an hour and a half. When they come out, as you take off the aluminum, you squeeze the beet out and put pressure on the skin and it will slide off. Easy peasy, no peeling for meesy. I sauté the greens with garlic and onions and oil, and sprinkle with some basalmic vinegar after. MMmmmm.

This looks incredible, did you shoot this with your iphone?