In search of new fermented drinks as a tasty, steady supply of live beneficial probiotics, I repeatedly came across beet kvass. Pretty much everyone’s posts said the same thing: “I hated it and then found myself drinking the whole thing.” OK…mixed reviews…
I bookmarked the best looking how-to (they all said the same thing) for the next time I went to the grocery store, happily thinking that beet kvass would be my next big, successful fermenting “find.”
What appealed to me about beet kvass is the multiple use of the ingredients: ferment the beets as a drink up to two times and then eat the beets, which have been soaking in a fermented brine so they, too, are seeping with beneficial bacteria.
Want the skinny on a variety of probiotic drinks? Read this post!
Taste Verdict on Beet Kvass
OK, so beet kvass is definitely not my next big skinny drink (but it could be yours!). Nope, not at all. Sorry for the spoiler alert. What I can say is that, yes, I will keep that one and only beet kvass drink in my fridge until it runs out…or I really need the shelf space.
If-and this is a big if, I make it again, I’ll use the recipe from TheKitchn because it does not add a starter culture (juice) from my sauerkraut; the beet kvass was very very very salty. So salty that I let it continue to ferment on the counter for two additional days after I first tried it. In the end, the salty taste was not bearable at all.
Apparently, unlike every other person’s post on their body “craving beet kvass” so much that they drank the whole (mason) jar in one sitting, I guess I’m not lacking those nutrients! Instead, I was able to swig a small glass watered down and was happy with that accomplishment. Watered down is the way to go.
Let It Sit (and ferment) Longer
One post by The Nourishing Gourmet stated that she lets her beet kvass ferment for over a week in the colder winter months. Thinking about it, I’m not entirely positive I saw fermentation bubbles that lasted a long time, but there was bubbling. I have a busy household and I tend to forget about my ferments… She also stated that the saltiness “diminishes” as it sits in the fridge. Perhaps I rushed it…perhaps I will try it again after it sits in the fridge…perhaps.
Alas, being a fermenter means that you are curious, so after additional reviews online stating that I should just continue to ferment it for 2-4 weeks, I dared to continue the beet kvass adventure. The smaller jar of beets and brine from my first big batch warmed in the upper cabinet (AKA cabinet above fridge) and fermented again. I dared to take a swig out of the jar and it was slightly less salty and definitely had a more “earthy” flavor that other posters had discussed. Yay?
More Than Just a Probiotic Drink
Beet kvass was definitely fun (and pretty) to make and I enjoyed the process. If I ate salads, I’d follow the suggestion to add it as a vinegar substitute to a dressing (but I hate salads). If I drank smoothies, it would be a great addition to a veggie juice or fruit smoothie (too expensive for me to do as a daily food choice and my kids are fresh fruit mongers). I did add it to a sourdough bread and I snuck a drop into some cooking beef. No one noticed (but their digestive system thanked me…)
I’ll stick to a brief, watered down swig from the fridge every now and again. Perhaps if I get brave again and make it without the sauerkraut starter I’ll be in agreement with other beet kvass enthusiasts. Until then, I will save the actual beets for when I get brave enough to eat one-in another 2 weeks when I move it from the cabinet to the fridge once again.
I did ask myself, “Why am I going to all this trouble when I don’t even know if I’ll enjoy the end result because, honestly, I’ve never liked beets.” As I wrestled with this deep food question, I realized I was still “giddy” over my failed ferment. It failed not because of the process, but because of my own taste preferences.
I’ve learned over the past 5 years that my tastes continue to change-change as a result of the introduction of different beneficial bacteria through a variety of fermented food and drinks. And, I’ve learned to enjoy the exploration of food and the differences in taste, nourishment, and WEIGHT LOSS!
Since one of my goals is to introduce the Basics of fermentation to people who want to lose weight with food, I tested this drink out on a friend whose only exposure to fermented foods/drinks is sauerkraut. Actually, it was more like, “I’m going to try this and I’m pouring you (shot glass amount) one too. OK? OK!” Kudos to her-we both gagged. I’d say this is probably not the ferment you should introduce to “prospective” fermenters. A fruit-sweetened fermented drink is a better surprise for people new to fermenting.
The recipe that I ended up using and is detailed in my pictures is a great site called The Wellness Mama. The next recipe I will use that uses only beets, salt, and water is from The Kitchn. I’ve enjoyed numerous recipes and know-how from both of these site and encourage you to peruse the links!
Have you tried beet kvass and know of a good recipe or specific ingredients that make it more palatable? What other uses have you found for this probiotic drink or fermented beets?
Update: So, I am always researching…and I came across this great post: How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good and it really made me laugh-out loud. So, perhaps I will pick up these ingredients the next time I’m at the grocery store. Maybe. If you are itching to get in the kitchen and give it a try, please post a comment! (You be the brave one!)