Beet Kvass

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchases.

Nourishing Traditions reports that beet kvass is an “excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.” Good stuff! And I can vouch for some of those health benefits being practically instant.

Does it taste good, though? That depends on who you ask. ;) My children aren’t thrilled. Yet. But I am loving it! Each morning, my husband and I have a little shot of it.

I am sharing my kvass recipe today for the person who asked me about it at a past webinar. Hopefully you’ll see this! I’ll demonstrate this on video in lesson 11 of the Lacto-Fermentation eCourse, along with Kombucha.

How To Make Beet Kvass

This beverage/health tonic is lacto-fermented. Beneficial bacteria called lactobacilli consume the beet sugars, producing beneficial lactic acid, increasing vitamins and enzymes, and multiplying throughout the beverage for probiotic benefits.

The main differences between my recipe and the recipe in Nourishing Traditions are: 1) I use less salt in the first batch; 2) I add salt in the second batch; and 3) I get a second batch going immediately instead of waiting for the first to get consumed.

  • 3 medium (about 3″ to 4″ diameter) beets, peeled and chopped into 3/4″ to 1″ wide pieces*
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt (first batch), plus scant 1 tablespoon (second batch)**
  • 1/4 cup whey (what this is and how to get it — also includes dairy-free substitutes)
  • filtered or good water (not city water)

Makes 1 quart+.

*It is important not to cut or shred the beets too small, points out Nourishing Traditions. Otherwise, the released beet juice is likely to create alcohol rather than lactic acid.

**Since posting this recipe, I have reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 tablespoon for first batch and scant 1/2 tablespoon for second batch.

1st batch. Put beets, 1-1/2 tablespoons** sea salt and whey in 1/2 gallon mason jar or fermenting vessel (here and here). Add water to fill to within 1″ of the top of the container. Cover tightly. Let ferment at room temperature for 2 days. Leaving the beets behind, pour all but about 10% (just eyeball it) of the finished kvass into a glass jar and transfer to the refrigerator. That is what you’ll drink, a few ounces at a time, daily or twice daily.

2nd batch. The remaining 10% of kvass is the “starter” to get the next batch going. (So you don’t need whey this time around.) To the same 1/2 gallon fermenting container, add 1 tablespoon** sea salt and fill with water to within 1″ of the top of the container. Cover tightly. Let ferment at room temperature for 2 days. Pour all the fnished kvass into a glass jar and transfer to the refrigerator. Send the beets off to the compost…

3rd batch? It is possible to get a third batch of kvass out of the same beets, though it will be weaker. If you want to do this, don’t compost the beets yet, while saving back 10% of the kvass from batch #2. Start a third batch in the same way as the second.

So… who else is a kvass fan? If not yet, are you willing to give this a try? If you make kvass already, do you have any tips for kicking it up? Not interested in lacto-fermenting beets? Try roasting them — click here for a video tutorial.

This post is shared in Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday and Fight Back Friday.

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchases.

Do you love GNOWFGLINS?

Help us keep this site going by becoming a member! As a member, you get:

  • access to 8 online classes (and counting!)
  • 100s of videos and print tutorials
  • eBook discounts
  • monthly learning bonus
  • access to exclusive forums
  • and more!

Comments

  1. A.d. Sevigny via Facebook says

    For those of us who cannot use whey, do you happen to know of effective alternatives? Ferment longer? Use a water kefir bug?

    • says

      Kara — You can eat them, but after they make kvass a few times they’re pretty much spent. Kind of like bland fruit that’s finished flavoring water kefir. I give them to the chickens. :)

  2. says

    I made beet kvass for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The first morning I drank 4 oz. of it, and a couple of hours later, I felt like I had the flu. I’m assuming that’s the liver detox effect? I drank it twice after that and haven’t since. I really want to do a cleanse of some sort, but that stuff just doesn’t taste good to me AT ALL. Questions: is the flu-like feeling I had shortly after drinking the first shot normal? Does kvass work for a cleanse?

    • Danielle Chevalier says

      Yes flu l;ike this has happenned to me and the only other person i know who drank it? what isgoing on can anyone help with info onthis? I love the taste by the way .
      + I never get the flu and am preetty sure its not the flu.

  3. Richard says

    To make is intesting you can add some spice. It sound something llike Indian people drink called “KANJI” The only difference is that we add red peppers to taste along with anise seed. It comes out delicious and energizing. It is usually consumed during the month of march and april because that is when black carrots mature but overhear you canfind beets around the year.

  4. says

    As a fellow owner of Nourishing Traditions, I tried making this beet kvass once. It all looked fine and good until the jar exploded within the white antique cabinet that sat inside the back door entry. Red beet juice everywhere – white cabinet, wood floors – not to mention the glass ball jar that exploded into a million pieces. I hope one of these days I’ll still get to try a taste of some beet kvass! :)

  5. Rhonda says

    How long will the kvass keep in the fridge? I’ve been making a jar or 2 each week for awhile now since beets have been available at my Farmer’s Market. My local grocery stores never have beets that look very good any other time of year. (I hope I can drink all the kvass before it goes bad!)

    Rhonda

  6. Heather says

    Wardee, this is great info! I have a TON of beets that I just haven’t gotten around to doing anything with yet. I’m planning on lacto-fermenting some of them, but didn’t want to do that with them all. My family is not too thrilled with eating them roasted, but I’m pretty sure they’ll take shots of beet kvass if I tell them it’s healthy. Thanks a bunch!!

  7. Holly says

    An excellent blood tonic?
    I found out yesterday at a physical that my hemoglobin is low-8.2. I think I’ll make a batch of this!

  8. Kathleen says

    I love my beet kvass and usually make it just adding the sea salt without whey. I make 2 batches, each taking 2-3 days. I put them in a pitcher in the refrigerater to drink after adding a couple tablespoons of probiotic hotsauce made from blended ginger, garlic, peppers and onion. It gives it a nice spicy flavor and adds a tangy snappy effervescence. Later I decant into glass wine or olive bottles to save for consumption a little later. Mine only last a couple months at the most before it is gone … but then I have beets all year long and make it whenever I run out.

  9. jean finch says

    Wardee,
    I wrote you awhile back about Kombucha Tea! I just wanted to report great success in making my own scoby and subsiquent batchs to the point that I ranout of containers and stored my scobies in their tea in the fridge! Now I am ready to make more, how long should I take to return scobies to room temperature after removing from fridge?
    Thank you I love your blog.
    Jean

  10. Carol Oliver Sharp via Facebook says

    I’ve become a fan of beets…but Beet Kvass is so salty. Its hard for me to drink.

  11. says

    I love kvass, but I love salty and earthy so that’s really a no-brainer. For the kids I like to take peeled hard boiled eggs and soak them in kvass for a while, it turns them bright pink! The chilluns love them like that. Sauerkraut juice from red cabbage will turn peeled eggs blue, if you’re curious.

    When I was on GAPS (I need to get back onto that) I depleted my sauerkraut juice a lot. I topped off my sauerkraut with kvass to keep it from going moldy.

  12. says

    I’ve been making beet kvass a lot lately. I love it!
    I make mine without whey, just with sea salt and water.
    However, when I’ve tried to make a second batch, even with the same ratio of salt to water, it ends up molding. Any idea why?

    My beets are nearly white when my kvass is ready. Weird.

    • says

      I find the whey from yogurt cheese keeps mine from molding. But I guess I need to ask what kind of water you are using. If it has chlorine or other “purifying” chemicals, it will kill the kvass and it will mold.

      I increased the whey and decreased the salt because I found it too salty for me prepared as in Nurturing Traditions. I also add a couple of ounces to completed kvass to smoothies, lemonaide, apple juice, even raw milk and kefir. I’ve also added it to mead that came out too sweet.

  13. Elizabeth says

    I just made beet kvass for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Nourishing Traditions suggests diluting it with water, if desired. It is much more palatable for us when we mix it half and half with filtered water.

  14. Theresa says

    @Lindsey. Within several hours of my first drink of beet kvass, I had a horrible headache! I believe it was the cleansing effect. No problems the next day though. Starting out with a few tablespoons might alleviate this for those who haven’t started it yet. :)

    Instead of the salty version in NT, I learned how to make a great tasting batch from Three Stone Hearth.(Northern CA) It involves using more whey.

    First Batch:
    2 QT. Mason Jar with tight-fitting lid, not the plastic white ones
    1 cup whey
    1 tsp. salt
    2 to 3 beets

    Second Batch:
    immediately following the 1st
    about 10% of liquid from 1st
    all beets from first
    water
    no more salt or whey needed

    I then combine the 2 batches so that I have a healthy, medium tasting one. My kids actually are OK with this. Hope this helps. :)

  15. says

    I’ve been making this for my husband who has digestive issues. We think it tastes disgusting, but he drinks it with the hope that it will help heal his gut! My mom grows organic beets, so I have a free source for them and I can’t justify not making it! :)

  16. Fiona says

    Hi Wardee,

    I noticed that after the ingredient list, it says it makes a quart, but you are using a 1/2 gallon jar (is that 2 quarts, Im on the British system!)

    I’ve just finished making some and put it into a 1 litre (quart) container, should I move it to a bigger container?

    Also, I just took some ‘Sprouted Spelt Raisin Cupcakes’, from your menu lists, out of the oven. They are NICE.
    That was the first time I have made anything with sprouted flour. It was interesting in itself as I havent got my grain mill yet (its on its way, yippee!), so here I was trying to grind the grains in all sorts of appliances, like coffee grinders, etc.

    Cheers
    Fiona

    • says

      Fiona — I make it in a 1/2 gallon jar, and when I pour off the kvass (leaving behind the beets and the 10% of finished kvass) there is about a quart of it ready to drink. Actually, a little bit more than a quart finished. :) Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes — Sonya created those!

  17. Ann says

    I wish I loved kvass! I made it for my family a couple of years ago, but we never developed a taste for it. My husband’s comment was, “It tastes like dirt.” Maybe I’ll try again and add some spice.

  18. Fiona says

    Well, Ive just drank some of the first fermentation.

    I love it (I love beetroot anyway, so not a big jump for me)
    My daughter (22yrs) looked like I was trying to poison her but I made her drink it anyway. That’ll teach her to complain about being run down…

    So, Ive put the second fermentaton on, and, after reading one of the posts above about kanji, I put some whole star anise in and some ground cayenne pepper ( I didnt have plain anise or whole peppers).

    I’ll report back on the next stage.

    But so far – a vote for Beet Kvass!

    Cheers
    Fi

  19. Alicia says

    I just used this recipe to make my first Kvass. I’m trying it as I write. I love beets, and this tastes like salty beet water, so I’m fine with it. The only thing is, I thought it would be a little bubbly. Might I have done something wrong? My beets were a little old (I think this is why my kvass is lighter in color or maybe the color is due to adding almost 2 qts water?). The whey I used was from making chevre, so it was heated. Also I just covered my jar (vase-I don’t have a 1/2 gal mason) with Glad Press n’ Seal and a fat rubber band.
    I just realized I sound like those people who give a recipe a bad review when they changed everything about it, lol. I’m not giving this a bad review, just wondering if I did it right.
    Thanks :)

    • says

      Alicia — It is not bubbly. There may be bubbles at the top, though, as a sign of good fermentation. It is fine to cover your jar the way you did. :)

      How high was the milk heated when making chevre? That’s my only concern — whether or not beneficial organisms were in the whey.

      • Alicia says

        The milk was a bit sour and looked a little separated when I started so I didn’t heat it to the 180 F the recipe said. I think it was between 120 and 130. There were some tiny bubbles around the edge with small white flecks floating in different layers at the top of the jar. And the second batch I started last night looks to have tiny bubbles around the top too and when I turn the jar lots of tiny bubbles rise.
        I’m pretty excited about this, thank you for sharing and helping!

        • says

          Alicia — 120 to 130 is too hot for the cultures, so they likely perished. It doesn’t mean your kvass is bad, it just means that fermentation will take longer because it didn’t have a strong colony of starter organisms from the beginning. I’d guess you need 4 to 5 days instead of 2 to 3. Seeing those bubbles is a good sign! Seems like that ferment wants to take off with or without a starter!

          Here’s a video about whey that should help you understand what whey is good to use and what is not: http://gnowfglins.com/2011/07/20/free-video-whey-what-it-is-how-to-get-it/

          • Alicia says

            Thank you for the video link, Wardee. That was helpful to see demonstrated.
            I wonder if I mis-guessed(?) my temp, although I’m sure it was above 100.
            The second batch I started was much darker than the first. I used a little less water and salt since I think I put too much water in the first time. The flavor was less salty and richer. I really liked it! I’m going to keep trying and use one of the methods you mentioned for collecting the whey.
            Thanks again :)

  20. Jim says

    Put together our first batch of kvass yesterday. We used beets, Celtic Sea Salt, reverse osmosis water and whey. It now looks like there is mold growing on top. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Help! I don’t want to waste food. We are on very limited budget.

  21. Josephine says

    Hi Wardee,

    I’m trying Kvass for the first time today. I want to make it not too salty especially since we’ve never tasted it before – and the family will revolt : ) if it is extreme. I’ve read that sometimes NT recipes are a bit salty and was hoping for a reduced salt formula that is still good – and good for us. So I was glad to see your recipe, but I’m just a little confused. NT recipe calls for 1 tablespoon sea salt (pg 610). I see that you say you use less salt, but your recipe (for the first batch) calls for 1 and 1/2 tablespoons. Do you mean teaspoons for your recipe, or am I just not understanding?

    I love your site and blogs and newsletters! Thank you so much.

    • says

      Josephine — I’m sorry to confuse you. I think I thought the NT recipe called for 2 T salt. The amounts I listed above are what I use. If you think that is too much for you, feel free to reduce it to 1 T or 1/2 T. I’ll go correct my note above — obviously I am NOT using less! :)

  22. Lisa says

    Hey! I’m making kvass for the first time! *fingers crossed* I’ve never made anything with beets before and when I cut into them they were yellow! I was quite surprised! I guess I purchased golden beets. Ha ha! Is this still going to be good?

  23. Julia B. says

    Hi, first of all, I absolutely love your website! Out of all of the ones I’ve read, this is the one that has really encouraged me to start trying fermentation and bean sprouting. As a recovering germaphobe, I am always a little paranoid about shelf life. I would love to know how long will the juice be good for when refrigerated. Would be forever grateful if anyone could let me know, Thanks!
    Julie

  24. Angela Lynn Wolfe says

    Recipe says makes 1 quart. Also says to fill a half gallon jar to within an inch of the top. ?????

  25. says

    To the commenters mentioning that their beet kvass tasted disgusting or like dirt — throw it out and start over. Beet kvass is supposed to taste delicious! I don’t even like beets at all but beet kvass at room temperature is absolutely delicious. My preschooler and I can polish off a whole quart in one sitting!

    My tried and true recipe: very fresh organic beets, well washed and peeled, cut into large chunks — full a 1-qt Mason jar between 1/3-1/2 full with the chunks. Add 1 tbsp fine-ground unrefined sea salt (I am using RealSalt currently), plus 1/4 cup whey (raw!! We use raw whey from a farmer who has it as a byproduct of making cheese but whey from dripping high-quality organic commercial yogurt will work fine), and 2-3 peeled garlic cloves. Top off with filtered water, put on the lid, and leave it at room temp for 5 days. The longer fermenting and the garlic make all the difference, plus using plenty of beet pieces in each jar. If there is any brownish scum on the surface when you’re done fermenting just dip in a metal spoon and it will stick to the spoon so you can remove it easily. Strain out the kvass into another quart jar and top off this jar with filtered water. I never reuse the beets bc it’s too weak the second time. If it is brownish rather than a dense lovely purple, or if it tastes like dirt toss it out and try again! I have had this happen more than a few times. It seems to be a freak accident possibly related to the freshness (or lack thereof?) of the beets. And it’s worth saying again that it is SO much better when at room temperature. I find it loses it’s appeal when cold.

  26. Donna T. says

    Wardee-
    I’ve been making beet kvass, but it is sooo salty. I see your recipe says that you use less than the Nourishing Traditions recipe. You use 1.5 Tablespoons. But my NT cookbook uses 1 T. of salt, so you use MORE ….??

    Is it correct that you use 1.5 Tablespoons?

    Thanks. I want to be able to drink my kvass, but also want it to be safe.
    I saw online somewhere a recipe where they use 2 t. (per 2 qt.) … I’d try that if I knew it is safe.

  27. Madeleine Hardt says

    I’ve made several batches of beet kvass with good results. Thank you for all the good information on your blog…it has really helped. But I’d like to know, technically speaking, could the beet kvass be fermented in the fridge from start to finish? It would take longer, I know, but it would beat the kahm yeast issue. It is super-hot in the summer-time (which lasts about 6 months) in far-west Texas. I use plain, big glass jars. I understand even with Pickl-It jars the yeast thing can happen. Thanks so much for your answer.

    • says

      Madeleine,

      You could certainly try a cool-temp ferment for the kvass, though I’m thinking it won’t work as well. The lactobacilli that do the work are active at room temperature and significantly slowed in the fridge.

  28. Melissa says

    After making two batches, can you save 10% of the liquid as starter for new beet chunks, or is it better to start over completely?

  29. Noelia says

    I am on my fifth 1/2 gal batch of kvass and loving it. The kids not so much, so I mix in a 16 oz pitcher 1/3 kvass, 1/3 kombucha and 1/3 POM pomegranate juice. We have 4oz of this in am and pm before meals. No more complaints from the kiddos.

    I make it in 64oz Ball mason jar, with 2tsp sea salt and 1/4 c whey from my milk kefir. I first tried it with only salt and it was too salt, I prefer the salt/whey combo. In my current batch I’ve added ginger, haven’t tried yet. I go for 3 batches from the beets, the last batch filling only 3/4 full, as it comes out weaker, beets totally spent. Storing it in the cabinet above the fridge keeps it happy, it’s the warmest spot in the kitchen.

    I find it provides me with more energy in the morning, replacing my coffee habit, which was not enriching my blood like kvass does. I am looking forward to trying different kvass recipes, maybe adding carrots, anise seeds, or lemon, etc.

    Kvass sells for $5 for a 12oz bottle at the local health food store. I make about 48 oz for less than $2. It feels so empowering, for lack of better word, to make something so simple that is intensely healthy. It’s like finding a treasure, a blessing actually. I appreciate all the posts regarding kvass, nice to know I am not alone.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] An email awaited me in Bozeman. The founders of the local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation were giving on all-day Fermentation Basics Workshop. So glad I attended. I learned and tasted all manner of ferments from beverages to crème fraiche to waffles to fruits and vegetables. Thank you Rebekah Mocerino and Kaelin Kiesel-Germann. That’s where I tasted and immediately loved Rebekah’s White Kimchi. Ever since that fateful day I’ve been successfully fermenting vegetables, mustard, fig jam and (as of today) beet and carrot kvass. [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.