Beet is a vegetable that can be used in many dishes such as cake, hummus, and juices. It is even used in cosmetics, such as powder blush. In addition, it can be used to make Slavic drink kvass.
History of Kvass
Kvass is a very common fermented drink in America. It has a very ancient origin and was spread to other Eastern European countries over time.
The simplest way to prepare this drink includes only bread and water. These two ingredients are left in a closed glass for a few days. During this period, the ingredients are fermented, which results in low alcohol content.
The nutrients that result from fermentation depend on the type of bread that is used. Thus, it is possible to have a very nutritious drink and one that has less nutrient content. In addition to bread, it is possible to make fruit or beet kvass.
The Benefits of Kvass
As a fermented drink, kvass is considered a probiotic. Therefore, this drink can bring several benefits to those who drink it.
Improves Digestion and Bowel
As a probiotic, the kvass improves the immune system and the intestinal tract. Thus, nutrients are better absorbed, and allergies and symptoms of lactose intolerance are reduced.
The liver is another benefit, as kvass can reduce the risk of inflammation. When this drink is made with beets, its nutrients are also absorbed by the body. Since beets are rich in antioxidants, your body can improve at the cellular level as free radicals are combated.
In addition, beet kvass helps to clean the gallbladder, removes toxins, improves the flow of bile and promotes balance.
Beet contains phytonutrients, known as betalains, which are natural pigments that give color to the vegetable. Betalain makes our body’s blood more alkaline. This prevents inflammation and keeps calcium levels in balance.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Since beet kvass has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it works to prevent cancer from arising. This, due to the beet since it is rich in antioxidants and betalains.
More Nutrients for the Body
In addition to antioxidants and betalains, beets are rich in vitamin C. Therefore, when consuming beet kvass, the immune system will be stronger, preventing colds and other diseases.
Beet manganese acts on bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Beet kvass also contains vitamin B and folic acid, which are important in pregnancy.
How to Make Beet Kvass
There are some recipes for beet kvass. They vary with respect to the ingredients used.
You will need:
- 3 medium (organic) peeled beets;
- 2 tablespoons of sea salt;
- filtered water;
- 1 pot with a lid and with a capacity of 3 to 4 liters.
Chop them into thick pieces. Put them together with the water in a glass jar (the water should almost fill the pot completely). Add salt and stir well. Close the glass jar and leave it at room temperature for 5 to 10 days.
From the 5th day, you can taste it, and when you like the flavor, uncover the pot and strain the juice. Discard the beets and drink the juice. It is important to leave the leftover kvass in the refrigerator.
If you have never drunk kvass, here is a good opportunity to try this delicious and healthy drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
The bottle to be used must be very clean. You can wash it by hand by washing up liquid and warm water or wash it in the dishwasher. In both cases, do not clean the bottle with a dish towel; just let it air dry or shake the bottle carefully and use it afterward. You do not need to sterilize the bottle unless you live in a house that creates mold easily. In this case, there are several hypotheses:
- wash the bottles and lids in the dishwasher and use them as soon as they finish washing.
- Spray the bottle with isopropyl alcohol bought in pharmacies, let it act for a few minutes with the lid closed and then wash with detergent and running water or do so.
- Place the freshly washed flask by hand in the oven, turn the oven on at 180ºC WITHOUT a fan and count 10 minutes after the oven reaches a temperature of 180ºC. The bottles that best withstand this sterilization in the oven are the bottles of coconut oil. The jars of honey tend to break easily with heat. It is very important not to use the oven fan; if you use the bottles, they will break as it increases the temperature by 20ºC.
The water used cannot be from the tap. It will have to be water from the bottle or filtered or solarized, as chlorine hinders fermentation. In my case, I use water from the bottle with a minimum of chlorine and still shake the bottle before adding the water, as this will release a little more chlorine.
Fermentation with salt will give some extra minerals and make the process safer, but it does not make the kvass salty. The salt to be used must be sea salt.
The proportion of salt most used in Kvass is a pinch of salt for each liter of water added. A pinch is about 1/16 teaspoon leveled to 1/8 teaspoon below the level.
The one I use the most is 1/8 teaspoon Salt. This amount of salt will make Kvass a short-lived fermentation, made in just 2 to 3 days to be consumed in the next 5 to 7 days.
However, it is also possible to make kvass with a greater amount of salt, which will require a longer fermentation time to neutralize that salt. The advantage is that after storing in the refrigerator it can be consumed over 1 to 2 months.
To make the long fermentation kvass, here are two alternatives - I never made any:
- 1lt jar, cut the beets into 2cm cubes, add 1 teaspoon of Flor de Sal = 6gr and water. Ferment at room temperature for 2 weeks, store in a refrigerator, and consume over two weeks to 1 month;
- dissolve 20gr of salt in a liter of water and add 570gr of beetroot to the 2cm cubes. Ferment for 2 weeks at room temperature, store in the refrigerator and let ferment in the refrigerator for another 2 weeks. Consume over 1 to 2 months.
For the fermented ones, it is always advisable to use organic vegetables, as the skin also contains lactobacillus that will favor fermentation.
If you can't find organic beet, you can still make Kvass. In that case, peel the beet and use only the inside, which has many lactobacillus that guarantees fermentation.
When making fermented foods, give preference to organic vegetables.
Sliced or small cubes?
If the beet is tender and sweet, it is better to cut the beets into 1 cm cubes.
If the beet is hard and earthy, it can be sliced with a mandoline, which makes it even more practical to consume after fermentation.
2cm cubes? This size of cubes is suitable for long fermentation kvass so that the sugar from the beet is released very slowly.
Grated? Never. Never use grated beets, as according to Sally Fallon in the book Nourishing Traditions, the grated beet will release too much juice, generating a very fast fermentation that favors the creation of alcohol and not lactic acid. This tip is valid for beets used in other types of fermented, such as pickles or sauerkraut; that is, it is to use a knife or mandolin.
The Beetroot Kvass has a Port wine texture. If it gets slimy with a whitish texture, it's because something went wrong, and it usually has to be thrown away.
Viscosity can arise for the following reasons:
- the fermentation was very fast because it was very hot;
- beets are very sweet and tender.
When the beet is very tender and sweet, if it is thinly sliced, it will release a lot of juice and pass many sugars into the water. This will encourage the production of yeasts which, in the case of beet, will create an alcoholic drink or a lot of viscosity and foam.
Other hypotheses that I found for the appearance of viscosity are badly cleaned flask, not shaking enough, not removing the foam, having used chlorinated water, or having added a fermentation starter such as water from another fermented, kombucha or whey that accelerate the fermentation.
I have made kvass several times and from my experience:
- if the beet is sweet and juicy, it is best to cut it into cubes;
- if the beet is hard and earthy, you can slice it with a mandolin.
If there is a dense texture, but it does not smell bad, nor does it have any mold, try putting the kvass in the refrigerator for 2 days. If the viscosity disappears it is because there was a rebalancing, but if it continues with the same texture it is to throw it away.
It has happened to me to make beetroot and strawberry kvass at the peak of summer and to have a viscous texture. I removed the strawberries, which cannot be used for their texture, I put them in the fridge and in 2 days lost their viscosity and gained the texture of Port wine.
The other times the kvass became slimy it was just made with sliced beets, which were very tender and sweet. These never reversed and were thrown away.
Place the liquid in airtight spring bottles or beer bottles with a cap, leaving about 5 cm free to avoid the risk of bursting due to the concentration of CO2. Let it ferment for 1 to 2 days and then store in the refrigerator.
Honestly, I don't think it pays off, because you will have a less rich drink ... So I always chose to eat the beets instead of making this second round of Kvass.
The second round of kvass only works if the first kvass was made with a little salt. It is done in the same way, but with the same beets.
Curiosity: Kvass is a very common fermented drink in America. It has a very ancient origin and was spread to other Eastern European countries over time.