Fermented foods are an excellent addition to your diet if you are healing from some illness or simply seeking good robust health. The world of ferments, however, is complex and can seem daunting so I thought I’d introduce you to this simple and easy drink, Beet Kvass. It’s packed with nutrients as well being fermented so adding lots of lovely friendly bacteria to your gut.
Beet Kvass couldn’t be simpler, the only thing is though, you have to tackle beetroot. If you are like me, dealing with beetroot is not your favourite job in the kitchen. I love them in soups, juiced, grated raw into salad and especially roasted, but I find the washing peeling and general dealing with very off putting. My guilty secret is that I have often bought them and never got round to dealing with them till they were soft and almost unusable, or I’ve just put them in the compost bin.
So my suggestion is to tackle them as soon as you can and to do it while peeling and chopping other vegetables so you are already in the swing of things but do them last so nothing else gets stained dark pink in the process.
Beet Kvass has been drunk in Russia for centuries The Weston A Price Foundation has more information here.
Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions states:
“Professor Zabel observed that sick people always lack digestive juices, not only during the acute phase of their illness but also for a long time afterwards. In addition, he never saw a cancer victim that had a healthy intestinal flora…..Thus, the different lacto-fermented foods are a valuable aid to cancer patient. They are rich in vitamins and mineral and contain as well enzymes that cancer patients lack. Of particular value are lacto-fermented beets, which are very favourable effect on disturbed cellular function. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that beets have a regenerating effect on the body.” Annelies Schoneck, Des Crudies Toute L’Annee.
Beet Kvass Recipe:
2 large or 3 medium beetroot peeled and roughly chopped.
Approx 60ml whey
I tbs sea salt
Place the chopped beets, whey, and salt in a 2 litre jar and top up with the water leaving a little a little space at the top of the jar, stir.
Leave the jar at room temperature for two days then refrigerate.
Drink about 100ml each morning until almost finished when you can top it up with water and let it sit at room temperature again for 2 days before returning to the fridge. After this second brew keep a little liquid back to inoculate the next batch and discard the beets or use them in soup, and start all over again.
Whey is easy to come across for those of us making our own yogurt and kefir but trickier for those just entering the world of ferments. The whey is optional but apparently better as it introduces more friendly bugs. You can make your own whey by straining some plain live yogurt through muslin. I put the muslin in a sieve which I rest over a bowl. This will also leave you with a lovely thick greek style yogurt or you can strain it a little more, say overnight, add some salt and herbs you will have your own soft cheese.
A little note: On the recent Heal Your Gut Summit ( now ended) I did hear that fermented foods may not suite everyone, it depends on the state of your gut health, what gut issues you have and the stage of healing you are at. If in any doubt seek the guidance of a trained nutritionist.
So Beet Kvass, will you give it a go?