St. Johns Boosters Wellness

Cheers to beet kvass! A powerful traditional health elixir

Beet K-what?! Why, let me introduce you…..

If you aren’t familiar with this gem, you are missing out on one of the easiest, least expensive and nutritious beverages around. Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage that originates in eastern Europe. It was usually made from stale rye bread. Kvass was considered a tonic for digestion, an excellent thirst quencher and cure for too much vodka! When kvass was made with beets, it was served more for its medicinal properties than its taste.  I love beets and always have, so I think this stuff tastes amazing. However, I realize there are a lot of *beet-haters* out there. Well. I am the messenger and I think beets have something they would like you to know…

Standing alone and proud in spite of haters, the beet is an absolute nutritional powerhouse. Beets are a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin c, iron, and vitamin B6. Whew! They also contain pigments called betacyanins and betaxanthins which have strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and aid in detoxification.

Why would you want to drink this? The fermentation process enhances this beefy nutritional profile by increasing enzymes, B vitamins, and probiotics. Beet kvass can alkalize the blood, promote regularity, cleanse and tone the liver, heal the gallbladder and thin the bile. It also promotes production of healthy stomach acid. Sounds pretty good, right?

The first time I made beet kvass, I threw it out. It can look a little scary because a mucky, film can form on the surface. I was a lot more timid with things concerning mold and bacteria back then. Now that I am older (and wiser) I realize these things are natural and can be our friends! So I tried again and once I got past that layer, I discovered a salty, earthy and slightly sour concoction. It can be an acquired taste, but you don’t have to chug this stuff to reap its’ benefits, although you may eventually want to! You can drink about 4 oz in the morning and evening and your body will be high-fiving you. YES.

Beet Kvass Recipe

  • 2 large or 3 medium beets (peeled if not organic)
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 gallon filtered water
  • That’s all!

Dice beets into course chunks. Do not grate, as they will ferment too fast and produce alcohol. (Sometimes we want that, but not here !) Place in a glass jar. I use a one gallon jar and then just fill it half way with water. No precise measuring needed. Add your sea salt and water. Cover with a cloth and rubber band and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days.

Strain beets and store this ruby red liquid in glass jars/bottles in your refrigerator. You will know if it’s ready when it tastes slightly sour, earthy (like a beet!) and perhaps a little fizzy. Do not let the scary film deter you. Simply spoon it off or use a fine mesh straBeet2iner. Occasionally these natural processes can go awry, so use your senses to guide you. If it tastes ‘off ‘ you will probably know. Like how you know when milk has gone bad. You just know something is NOT right. Or call me and I will be your taster 🙂

A beautiful thing about this recipe is you get two batches out of one! Save a cup of the liquid and the original beets and return to the jar. Refill with another half gallon of water and let this batch sit for 2 days. This liquid will be weaker and lighter in color than the first but still just as tasty and nutritious.

I like to add a squeeze of lemon to my beet kvass. It is also fun to use in smoothies, soups and salad dressings. Be brave my friends and give this a try!

By Allison Kirley

Allison Kirley is a licensed massage therapist, nutritional therapy practitioner, yoga instructor and self-taught kitchenista.  She is the founder of Delicious Life Wellness in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, offering nutrition services, bodywork and yoga classes.

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