A fermented drink that tastes slightly sweet, slightly salty, and definitely of the earth. A gorgeous red hue and full of things that are good for you.
There are many variations on beet kvass; consult either of Sandor Katz' books Wild Fermentation or The Art of Fermentation for more information.
Organic, farm fresh beets are ideal, as you are relying on the microbes living on the skin to help ferment the kvass. —Jess Armantrout Bitting
1 1/2 to 2 cups
3/4 to 1 teaspoons
sea salt, or other mineral salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups
Ginger root slices, lemon or orange slices, allspice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, or turmeric root or powder (optional add-ins before fermenting)
Remove any dirt from the beets with a gentle wash using filtered water, as chlorinated tap water can kill the microbes.
Cut off the stem and root tip from each beet, then cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces, leaving the skin on. Toss chopped beets into a 1-quart jar for which you have a lid until it is about halfway full.
Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of fine grain sea salt.
Pour the filtered water into jar, leaving about 1 inch of head space. Put lid on jar and shake to combine.
Label jar with date produced, and date to be checked, usually 5 to 7 days after produced. IMPORTANT: Be sure to burp the jar each day by unscrewing the lid (not removing it) then tightening it again. This will release any built up CO2 gases and prevent the jar from breaking.
After 5 days, check the depth of flavor of the kvass—you want the salty flavor to be reduced and a slightly sour, earthy, and rich flavor to be most prominent, which conveys that the fermentation is occurring.
Watch for any surface growth on top: a common growth on beet kvass is called kahm yeast, which typically is white and looks like thin strands on top of the surface. Although kahm yeast is not dangerous, it can create an off flavor in the kvass. If other surface growths appear, such as mold, the batch should be composted.
When the beet kvass is fermented to your liking, use a sieve to strain the liquid into jars and label them. Store in the fridge for up to three months. Don't toss the leftover beets! They can be shredded and tossed in salads.
Enjoy the beet kvass on its own, diluted with sparkling water (our favorite!) or as a stand in for vinegar in homemade salad dressings.