Beet Kvass is a fermented drink made with beetroots, water and salt. You can use a starter culture to get the ferment going if you wish however you can make this drink without a starter also. Traditionally it was made with sourdough rye bread that was left to ferment in water and then this starter culture would be added to chopped beetroots with the addition of salt and water. It originates from Russia or Ukraine but other mid-eastern European countries also make variations of the beet kvass. Some of these cultures claim it to be their national drink!
Traditionally Kvass was made with black sourdough bread and was a staple in pheasant communities in these regions. Today there are many variations of the fermented kvass drink but I will concentrate on beet Kvass on this post.
Once you have all the ingredients in a suitable container (I like to use a glass jug) give it a mix and cover it with a muslin cloth. Let it sit on your counter for a couple of days. Depending on the temperature it should be ready in two days or three if you like it a bit stronger. However, the length it takes to ferment the kvass will depend if you use a starter culture or not and also the environment such as how warm the room is. After this point, it is ready to be consumed. If you prefer a more fizzy drink then you can strain it and bottle it up and leave it on the counter for a couple more days, when it has built up a desired fizz then you can transfer it to the fridge.
Beet Kvass is a slightly fizzy, salty, and sour tasting drink. I like it chilled and it is a great accompaniment to most meals or to be drunk on its own. It is very satisfying on the palate and refreshing and hydrating in its own right!
Beet Kvass is considered a health tonic. Beetroots have many proven health benefits. Liver detoxifying, bile flow stimulation, supports digestion, cardiovascular benefits, benefits to sports performance to name a few. As Beet Kvass is fermented this makes it a probiotic delivering functional drink! Meaning it has benefits to your digestion by topping up your healthy gut microbiome. It can help get your bowels moving if you suffer from constipation, improve your digestion by warding off bad bacteria, it can aid your liver to detoxify by stimulating bile flow. It is also rich in minerals and electrolytes also which makes it a very hydrating drink. In addition to all these health benefits, beetroots are very high in antioxidants so it is likely to have a beneficial impact on free radical scavenging also!
Beet Kvass is great to have on its own as a probiotic drink between meals. Traditionally it has been added to soups and stews to enhance their flavour also. The Russian or Ukrainian
soup Borscht which is made with beetroot as the main ingredient is flavoured with Kvass.