Beets are currently in season and each morning I find myself going out to my garden to pick a beet. I then juice the greens and save the roots in the refrigerator to be fermented.
Fermented beverages are a wonderful food to help restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut. The beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract aide digestion, produce a number of vitamins and nutrients for us, provide protection against pathogenic microbes, and support our immune system. With all these functions and many more, it is crucial to take care of and replenish these good guys daily. Beets and beet juice have positive effects on the liver and gall bladder, and can thin bile so that it flows easier, much the way paint thinner works for paint that is too thick. This makes beet kvass an excellent food for dealing with constipation, and other issues related to bile flow, fat digestion, and gall stones.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has instructions for Beetroot Kvass on page 215 of Gut and Psychology Syndrome 2nd Edition. As with all ferments, adapt them to your style and taste. Following is how I ferment my beets.
2 large or 3 small beets, cut into small pieces
1-2 tablespoons sea salt
1/4 cup whey *
2-3 tablespoons ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 quarts water
Beets may be peeled or if fresh, simply scrubbed. Chop into 1/2″ pieces. Do not grate them as they will ferment too quickly and produce alcohol. Place beets into a half-gallon jar and add sea salt, whey, and ginger. Cover with water. Cover and place in quiet location at room temperature for 3-5 days.
Pour liquid through a sieve into another jar and move to the refrigerator. Drink your kvass as is, or you may dilute with water as your palette enjoys. Save the solids and at least a 1/2 cup of liquid in the original jar. Re-fill with water and ferment again 3-5 days. When this batch is done you may repeat this step for a third batch, but note that each subsequent ferment has a milder flavor, and I have not gone past three times. I usually will do two ferments and then I will juice the remaining solids to add into the final product.
*If you cannot use whey you may use a culture starter or do “wild” ferment by adding more salt. Note this will result in a saltier end product, but some really like that.