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Beetroot Kvass

Apparently, no Ukranian home was without beetroot kvass, a fermented beetroot drink used as a tonic and digestive aid. One 4 oz glass first thing in the day and again last thing at night is the recommendation. This kvass has a deep, rich earthy smell with a slight tang and a little natural fizz from the fermentation. Beetroot kvass is best fermented with the aid of a starter culture: the liquid from fresh cabbage ferments such as sauerkraut or kimchi is great, or apple cider vinegar containing the “mother” is another option. Lemon juice will provide the required acidity, but no bacterial cultures, so the result may not be as potent. If you don’t have a water filter, leave tap water in an open glass jug for a couple of hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Remember, the chlorine in water is there to kill bugs, so it will stop your good bugs from thriving in your kvass.
Course Drinks
Cuisine Macrobiotic, vegan
Keyword beetroot, drink, fermented, kvass, ukranian

Ingredients

  • ½ to 1 fresh beetroot scrubbed
  • 2-3 tbsp liquid from fermented cabbage apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt I’ve been using less and now get away with 1 tsp
  • 2 litres filtered water
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger optional

Instructions

  • Chop beetroot coarsely (note, if you shred the beetroot, the nature of the fermentation changes and you are likely to end up with a product containing alcohol).
  • Place beetroot, the liquid from fermented cabbage (or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) and salt in a 2-litre glass container and add filtered water to fill the container. Add the grated ginger, if using. Stir well and cover. Note, if you cover with a tight screw-on lid, gas will build up as the beetroot ferments. Best to place lid in loosely, or use muslin secured with a rubber band to allow air to escape. Keep at room temperature for 3 to 5 days, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid has taken on a rich, deep beetroot colour, your kvass is ready. It may get frothy on top, a sign of a good deal of fermentation.
  • Using a fine tea sieve or muslin, filter all but a couple of fluid ozs of the liquid into a large glass bottle and screw the lid on. Your kvass is ready to drink…store it in the fridge where it will keep well for a further 3 days.
  • Re-fill the fermenting jar containing the beetroot and a little of the fermented liquid (your new starter) with filtered water, mix gently and keep at room temperature for another 3-5 days to get a second ferment from the same beetroot.
  • After completing the second brew, discard the beetroot and begin again with fresh. Reserve some of the liquid to use as an inoculant for the next batch in place of the liquid from fermented cabbage/cider vinegar/lemon juice.

Notes

This makes 2 litres
You need a 2-litre glass jar (wide neck). I use a kilner jar (it’s not quite 2 litres, but there’s no need to be too precise)