Kvass is a traditional Slavic drink made from a fermented juice. Beet Kvass is a nourishing, healthy, probiotic drink that is super easy to make! Two ingredients (plus water) and three days and you have a nourishing tonic to super charge your health!
Beets have a special place in my heart. They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Simply bury the seeds, thin them and basically ignore them. For a full work up on how to grow beets, check out my Quick and Dirty Guide to Growing Beets.
History of Beet Kvass
Kvass has been a common tonic since at least the Middle Ages. A grain-based kvass probably was developed around the same time as beer in Egypt, millet beer in Africa, rice wine in Asia, and chicha made with corn in the Americas.
This ancient tonic is fermented enough it made drinking water safe, while keeping the alcohol content low (roughly 0.5-1.0%) and adding a probiotic health-punch.
The word “kvass” was first mentioned in The Primary Chronicle – a manuscript written in 1113 in Kiev, or modern-day Ukraine. It is a history of the area going back to about 850, however it was the most common non-alcoholic drink until the introduction of Western sodas.
Kvass was commonly consumed by peasants in all forms – grain kvass, apple, strawberry, etc.
There is a Russian saying that translates roughly to “to clamber from bread to kvass” meaning, essentially, to barely make ends meet. Because kvass is made with very little ingredients and very little effort, the poor could afford to make kvass from stale bread…but just barely.
Nutritional Benefits of Beets
While not as nutritionally dense as some veg, one cup of beets does contain 34% of your recommended daily intake of folate, and 24% of your manganese. They also contain copper, potassium and phosphorus.
What makes beets exciting, however, is their phytonutrients and carotenoids. Beets are a unique source of the phytonutrients called betalains. These have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support to the body.
In recent studies betanin pigments from beets have been shown to lessen tumor cell growth, including tumor cells from the colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular tissue.
How to Make Beet Kvass
While you can buy a “kvass fermentation starter” yeast, this recipe uses the wild yeast native to your home and environment. Because it never reaches a boiling temperature, it not only contains wild yeast, but also a large amount of other microorganisms which are responsible for the lactic fermentation which gives it its unique flavor – similar to kombucha.
This recipe truly couldn’t be simpler: Simply wash your beets, cut off the stem and root ends, roughly chop and put into a quart-sized mason jar. Fill the jar with water and cover.
Twice a day, for three days, “burp” the jar – or undo the top to allow any gas byproduct of the fermentation to escape.
Strain, chill and enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from a recipe from:
And for more fermentation recipes, check out: