The main ingredient for beet kvass is beetroot. Beetroots are very rich in manganese, copper, and potassium. An excellent source of Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, vitamin C, and smaller amounts of B-complex vitamins, such as pyridoxine (B-6), pantothenic acid (B-5), riboflavin (B-2), thiamin (B-1), and niacin (B-3). Also a good source of fibers and minerals such as magnesium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and selenium.
Beetroot acts as an anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. That said, it reduces inflammation and promotes cardiovascular health. Its antioxidants help protect cellular integrity and key organs from oxidative stress, hence stemming inflammatory conditions. As a vasodilator, it nourishes and purifies the blood, relaxes the blood vessels, and promotes circulation, stabilizing the blood pressure, thus preventing associated risks such as stroke, hypertension, and heart attack.
Numerous studies on the mechanisms of action of beets have found that the link between the consumption of beets and their medicinal benefits, is their high content of dietary nitrates (inorganic compounds), which the body transforms into nitrite and nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is critical to a variety of vital functions, including the optimal function of the cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide is incredibly effective as a vasodilator, relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and increasing blood circulation. Hence maintain optimal blood flow and oxygenation, which all prevent a host of other ailments.
Increased nitric oxide, leads to more efficient energy production, stamina, and physical strength. High nitric oxide levels can increase athletic performance due to increased blood flow and oxygenation, resulting in faster muscle recovery, reduced soreness and muscle cramping, and overall less tension on the heart and musculoskeletal system. Likewise, improves brain neuroplasticity and helps increase oxygenation of the somatomotor cortex, a brain area that is often affected in the early stages of dementia. Nonetheless, supports immune and cellular health.
While beetroot has a moderately high glycemic index (GI), it also has an extremely low glycemic load (GL), meaning a very slow rate of sugar absorption in the body. That said, it is a myth that beets are not good for diabetic people.
Beets contain a considerable amount of dietary fiber, which promotes good digestion and normal bowel function. Beetroot is also considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times, due to its high amounts of boron, which is related to the production of sex hormones.
Beets are also high in betalains, which are the phytonutrients responsible for the red-violet pigments in beets. They provide strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation that can trigger several ailments. Studies have also associated betalains with reducing cancer risk and lessening tumor cell growth. Furthermore, betalains are also capable of lowering toxic levels of Homocysteine, an amino acid that triggers the release of catecholamines, which are neurotransmitters that, if produced in excess, can cause constriction of blood vessels, raising blood pressure and heart rate.
It is a powerhouse of medicinal benefits, having mainly affinities in the blood, digestive and cardiovascular systems. Some of its therapeutic applications are Alzheimer’s disease, Anemia, Blood Disorders, Colon Cancer, Cardiovascular Ailments, Leukemia, and Wound Healer.
Beet kvass is a Lacto-fermented probiotic drink, valuable for its medicinal qualities. It has all the above benefits plus more due to the fermentation process. Therefore, it contains multiple types of Lactobacillus bacteria, a plethora of digestive enzymes, electrolytes and nitrates, amino acids, probiotics, postbiotics, and everything mentioned above.
The fermentation process of beets consumes all of the natural sugars while at the same time increasing the bio-availability of all the precious nutrients to your body. Nonetheless, the fermentation transforms all the dietary nitrates into nitric oxide.
Its affinities for the digestive system include increased healthy gut flora, digestibility, and balanced stomach acidity levels.
Beet kvass nourishes the liver and gallbladder, helping naturally cleanse and detoxify both organs while improving the bile flow and removing toxins.
Kitchen Tools, Utensils & Equipment:
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Kitchen Scale
- Kitchen Towels
- Wide Mouth Mason Jars with Mason Jar Airlocks + Fermentation Weights
- Mandoline Slicer or Sharp Knife
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowls
- 1.1 Lbs. (500 gr) Red Beets, organic & freshly harvested
- 2 tsps. (30 gr) Unrefined Sea Salt
- 1000ml Fresh Spring or Filtered Water
- 1 tsp. Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
- Wash and rinse the beets thoroughly.
- Trim the tops and tails without removing the skin. If the beets are not organic, peel them.
- Using a mandoline slicer, shave the roots as thinly as possible. Otherwise, use a sharp knife and cut it into thin slices.
- Place them into the clean and sterilized fermentation jar.
- Pour water over the beets, leaving at least 1 or 2 inches of headspace at the top of the jar.
- Add salt and seasonings.
- Wipe the top of the jar with a damp towel. Place the seal on top of the jar, then screw on the ring.
- Fill your airlock up to the fill-line with water. Then, place it into the air-tight gasket in the cap to your fermentation jar. Double-check to make sure the lid is on as tight as possible.
- Shake well, adding some good vibes to the jar!
- Ferment in a warmish spot for about five days up to a week, keeping it between 65-75°F / 18-24°C. The higher the temperature the faster the fermentation occurs, the lower temperature slows the fermentation process down significantly.
- When you start seeing bubbles inside the jar, that means that the fermentation is active and that is a good sign. Usually occurs a couple of days after you start the process.
- When the kvass reaches your preferred taste and has a nice dark magenta color, strain it into bottles or jars.
- Reserve in the fridge and use as needed.
Making Another Batch
To make another batch of kvass, follow the same procedure, using approximately 1/4 cup of the beet kvass from the previous batch. This will speed up the process and this amount should be enough for nearly a half-gallon of water.
Technically you can reuse the beets and add salt and fresh water again, leaving a small part of the fermented beet kvass from the first batch, and proceed as before. The second and third batches can be made this way, though they will taste weaker than the first. I prefer to add fresh beets to every batch.
I recommend drinking at minimum between 60-120ml beet kvass daily, sipping it as it is, or mixed with other juices or fermented drinks.
- Feel free to add extra layers of flavor. From spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, to fresh fruits, such as tangerines, clementines, lemons, or even fresh or dried herbs, such as ginger, and dandelion, calendar flowers, and more.
- It is better to use an airlock system, to prevent any risk of creating mold or other harmful aerobic bacteria.
- Fermented beet kvass can last up to a month or even longer if kept refrigerated. Ingest within a week for full gut benefits.
- Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use only spring or filtered water.
- Adjusting the recipe for different batches: To make larger or smaller batches of beet kvass, keep the same ratio of beets to salt and select the appropriate fermentation vessel. Note that the smaller batches will ferment faster and the larger batches will need a longer time.
- Fermentation temperature: Keeping it between 65-75°F / 18-24°C is safer and more efficient for you. The higher the temperature the faster the fermentation occurs, the lower temperature slows the fermentation process down significantly. That said, you need more time in the winter and less time during the summer.
- Boost fermentation: A lot of recipes call for wild starters at the beginning of the fermentation process. You can use a couple of tablespoons of whey, sauerkraut, or kimchi juice in the jar, to speed up the fermentation process. Other starter cultures (grain rejuvelac, yogurt & kefir whey, ginger bug, jun tea, etc.) will have similar effects.
- When is the beet kvass ready?: Your beet kvass is ready when it has a strong earthy, tangy, slightly salty, and slightly sweet taste. Usually, under-fermented kvass is whenever the taste is not sour enough, and over-fermented whenever it tastes very sour. It should smell pleasantly sour and taste slightly salty and sweet.