Thanks to a resurgence of interest in traditional, cultured foods, beet kvass is making a comeback. Celebrated for centuries as a blood and liver tonic, a new generation is discovering beet kvass through cultured food companies such as Zukay Live Foods and the boutique Jewish food purveyor, Gefilteria, as well as through the current popularity of traditional diets such as the Paleo diet and the Nourishing Traditions eating guidelines promoted by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
A probiotic-rich, cultured beverage similar to kombucha or kefir, beet kvass is a traditional Eastern European drink made from beets, water, salt and a starter culture (optional). Refreshing and tasty, beet kvass is loaded with enzymes and antioxidants and, thanks to its high electrolyte content, it is a deeply hydrating beverage.
With a zingy, salty and slightly sour flavor beet kvass is appreciated for its taste as much as for its properties as a digestive aid. It is also heralded as a liver cleansing tonic and for alkalinizing the blood. A small glass of beet kvass every morning is an energizing way to benefit from the ancestral wisdom of traditional Russian and Ukrainian cultures, which have valued the restorative properties of beet kvass for centuries.
- 2 – 3 peeled organic beets, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup whey (see instructions below to make whey; or to make this recipe dairy-free, omit the whey and just use 4 teaspoons of sea salt instead of 2)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Filtered water
Place beets, whey and salt in a large glass container. Add 2 quarts of filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator. Now you can enjoy the kvass.
When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting kvass will be slightly less strong than the first batch. After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use this as your starter instead of the whey.
How to Make Whey
Line a large colander or strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour approximately ½ quart of whole-milk organic yogurt into the colander and let it stand at room temperature for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the colander. Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, transfer the whey to a jar and store in the refrigerator. The yoghurt (which is similar to Greek-style yoghurt or cream cheese) will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.