How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good

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The following is a guest post from Craig, who blogs over at Fearless Eating. If you haven’t checked out his blog, it’s worth it! He blogs about traditional foods where he dismantles common food myths to help you eat, well… fearlessly!

Hello everyone!  I’m excited to be here today guest posting at Homemade Mommy.

My name is Craig Fear and I blog over at Fearless Eating. I’m also a Nutritional Therapist and I consult with clients over the phone and in person at my office in Northampton, Massachusetts.  I specialize in digestive issues and I just wrote an eBook called The 30 Day Heartburn Solution:  A 3-Step Nutrition Program to Stop Acid Reflux Without Drugs.

An important part of my book is explaining the benefits of fermented foods (what are fermented foods?) and  including recipes for how to make some of the basics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles.  I also discuss how to make fermented beverages like ginger ale, kombucha and the subject of today’s post – beet kvass.

Beet kvass is a traditional fermented beverage of Ukrainian origin.  According to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions, beet kvass is:

“valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are loaded with nutrients. One glass morning and night is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

Beet Kvass and Heartburn

You don’t see beet kvass as a recommended tonic for heartburn too often, but I’ve included it as part of the 3-step plan in my eBook because it’s so much more than just heartburn. It’s really about real food. I explain clearly how real food can stop not only heartburn but also reverse years of damage to the intestinal lining due to acid reflux. Fermented foods like beet kvass are an integral part of that.

But I also recommend beet kvass because it specifically contains some nutrients that can help with heartburn. In particular it contains betaine hydrochloride which helps with the production of stomach acid, and a big part of stopping heartburn is increasing acid production in the stomach.

That’s right–I said “increasing acid production.”  Unlike what you hear in the media and from doctors, acid reflux is rarely caused by too much acid, which may sound counter-intuitive. If you experience a burning in your chest it makes sense to think it’s a result of TOO much acid, but most likely it’s a result of not enough acid production in the stomach, and acid winding up in the wrong place (the esophagus) at the wrong time.

To understand this clearly you can download the first four chapters of my book for FREE  where I use some simple analogies to explain how and why heartburn is caused by low stomach acid. I also explain why acid-blocking medications like Prilosec and Nexium stop the symptoms of heartburn, but not the cause and why they set up a whole host of other digestive problems!

Shameless self-promotion aside, it’s so unbelievably easy to make. There’s really not much more to it than peeling and chopping the beets and placing them in salt water!

The Problem with Beet Kvass

However, there’s one big problem with beet kvass that I’ve run into over and over.

The taste.  Here’s just a few common reactions I hear when people try it for the first time:

It’s too salty.

It’s too sour.

It’s too beety.

It’s just gross.

It tastes like feet.

I only heard that last one once, but it made me laugh. Yes, getting my clients to re-acquaint their taste buds with traditionally fermented foods can be quite comical at times. The reactions I get are just hilarious (don’t even get me started on fermented cod liver oil).

But as far as beet kvass goes, I have to admit, I’ve never loved it either. Lindsey told me she’s never included a recipe for it here because of the same reason.

The Key to a Good Beet Kvass

However, one day a few months ago, I noticed a beet kvass in a local health food store.

It was the first time I’d seen beet kvass being sold locally so I picked up a bottle and gave it a suspicious swig.

I was stunned.

It was absolutely delicious.

There was clearly something very different about it. For starters, it wasn’t overly beety (and no hint of feet either), but there was something very familiar about it too. Sure enough, when I looked at the ingredients it all made sense–there was also cabbage and onions in it. It tasted very much like a combination of beet kvass and sauerkraut. I know that may not sound all that enticing, but you gotta trust me on this one! Just try it. It works beautifully.

So I went home and tried to make it myself. I had no idea how much onion and cabbage to use so I just guessed. I set up two different batches–in one jar I chopped up a quarter of a cabbage and half an onion, and in another I put an eighth of a cabbage and a quarter of an onion. In both I used the same amount of beets.

A few days later I tried it for the first time.

They were both fantastic.

OilyAngels_ecourse banner

Personally, I liked the one better with the quarter cabbage and half of an onion, but you could use even more. There’s really no right or wrong way. As I tell all my clients, when it comes to fermentation, experiment with different amounts and combinations of things and just have fun with it.

Beet Kvass That Actually Tastes Good

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Add onion and cabbage to a 2 quart glass jar (Homemade Mommy note: I use these inexpensive jars)
  2. Add the beets on top of the onion and cabbage so that they act as a weight
  3. Add salt and optional whey
  4. Cover with filtered water, leaving an inch between the top of the jar and the top of the water
  5. Close the jar and leave in a cool dark place in your home
  6. Transfer to the fridge after 3-7 days

That’s it! It’s so easy.

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I hope all you Homemade Mommy fans enjoyed this post. I’ve been in awe at how Lindsey has created such a great community of real food mommies (and daddies) in such a short time. I’m honored to be here today and I’d like to thank Lindsey for letting me jump in here to share my recipe and mention my new eBook. Cheers!

A Great Deal This Week Only

Right now you can buy Craig’s eBook all by itself for $25 or you can buy it along with + 46 others and a whole load of $2000 worth of great content including video classes and meal planning services as part of a BIG sale for only $14 more! Sign up for VGN premium and you can get in for only $29 — the same exact price for a lot more!

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This sale won’t last forever and you don’t want to miss out!

Stop Struggling With Heartburn

Meet Craig

head-shot-254x300Craig Fear grew up in Port Jefferson, Long Island. After graduating from Mary Washington College in 1996 with a degree in Biology, he traveled extensively and lived in six different states. Living in Homer, Alaska for two years kick-started a journey of self-discovery that led him to travel to Thailand, India and Burma. Around that time he became a vegetarian for seven years which dramatically affected his health. He developed chronic fatigue and chronic digestive issues. His discovery of the work of Dr. Weston Price and the principles of traditional diets led to his health recovery and inspired him to become a Nutritional Therapist. He completed his training in 2008 and started Pioneer Valley Nutritional Therapy in 2009 and his Fearless Eating blog in 2011. He loves to hike, play guitar, spend time with his golden retriever, root for his beloved New York Giants and blog and read about nutrition whenever possible!

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I am a very busy real food mama! When I am not taking care of my 5 year old, I take time to share my real food recipes on my blog, Homemade Mommy. I finds the time for homemade cooking because eating this way has truly changed my family’s life. Ditching processed food has helped us all to heal from a number of ailments including asthma, allergies, recurrent sinus infections and ADHD. I buy organic, from family farms, local and grass-fed. I am passionate about achieving vibrant health and am happy to share tips, techniques and recipes in my eBook, The Real Food Survival Guide for Busy Moms which is an excellent resource for any busy mom (or dad) who wants to cook real food for their family but is not sure how to take the plunge.

Latest posts by Lindsey Gremont (see all)

75 Responses to How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good

  1. eye see says:

    This might be a dumb question, but once fermented on the counter for 3-7 days do you dump out the cabbage, beets, and onion? Do you simply drink the liquid? Do you eat the veggies?

    • Lindsey G. says:

      I believe there are no dumb questions! :)
      Guess what? It is a great question because the answer is that you can remove the veggies and make another batch of kvass with them. They can be used twice to make kvass. What a way to save money right?! Just use a bit of your first batch of kvass as the starter (vs. the optional whey).

    • Ann Rein says:

      Thank you so much for asking this, I was wondering the same thing!! Good to know yu can make another batch with the same veggies :)

  2. Donna says:

    once its done in the fridge how long does it last before it goes ?

  3. Hope says:

    Can I start it without the whey? We are dairy free at the moment.

  4. Deborah says:

    How much is considered to be a serving to drink of the Beet Kvass? And, we make our own homemade Kombucha. Is Kombucha considered just as good for digestive issues as the Beet Kvass?

  5. Ann Rein says:

    I have some yogurt I was going to strain to get the whey out – will that work?

  6. Very energetic blog, I loved that bit. Will there
    be a part 2?

  7. Sheena says:

    I am curious as to the short fermentation time. Most ferments require 4 weeks room temperature fermentation in order to be at the optimum level of LABs (lactic acid bacteria). Is there any particular reason to only ferment for a few days? As an aside, I absolutely LOVE beet kvass, but only the kvass that is fully fermented for four weeks. Perhaps you might change your opinion if you try the full four weeks?

    • Sheril C says:

      I’m so glad you mentioned this. I am going to try the longer ferment time on regular kvass!

  8. Donna says:

    Oh that is a lot of salt. Think I can do it with one tablespoon???

  9. megan says:

    Trying this today! I’ve never had kvass… so this should be interesting! I make kombucha but with my current pregnancy I’ve not wanted it. So we’ll see how thus goes :) thanks for the recipe!

  10. Tara says:

    Lindsey and Craig,

    I’m ordering the book bundle and I can’t wait to read the one about heartburn…if I stop taking omeprazole (Prilosec), I have horrendous heartburn…can’t even sleep.

    Anywho…#1: I make Kombucha as well, but have been dying to try the kvass…are the beets cooked, or just peeled with a veggie peeler and chopped raw? #2: In reference to the whey…I know it speeds fermentation and that’s why people sometimes use it, but if you don’t use it, I just want to verify…still only a few days at room temp?

    • Lindsey G. says:

      Great! Aren’t the books amazing?! What a great deal. As to your questions:
      #1 – use raw, peeled beets not cooked
      #2 – you do not need whey and yes it is the same amount of time without it.
      Thank you!

  11. Cheryl Rohrer says:

    My husband puts Beet Kvaas in his Vitamix drink of veggies & fruit each morning. He does not drink it, but is looking SO forward to me making this Beet Kvass with a twist!

    1 – Why would they even have whey in the recipe if it’s not needed, not even to speed up the fermentation process?

    My husband is highly allergic to dairy and gets immediate migraines when he has any dairy, however, when first making fermented Beet Kvaas for him a couple of months ago, I used my raw milk whey, thinking it was needed. He tolerated it! (I’m also suspecting that raw milk may be ok for him as I put some in a soup i made last Winter and he did not get a migraine.)

    2 – Wondering if you did ever try a 4 week ferment suggested by a previous Commenter and what you thought?

    3 – In a previous response, you mention to “toss” the veggies after the 2nd beet kvaas fermentation. My husband is wondering why you would not suggest eating them since they are a fermented food. Could he eat them or use as an ingredient into his Vitamin drink?

    Thank you!

    • Lindsey G. says:

      1 – Some people use whey as an ‘insurance’ policy to be sure they won’t get a failed, moldy result. I personally don’t do this but some people feel more comfortable adding a starter for that reason.

      2 – I really haven’t seen a lot of beet kvass recipes that go that long. I do my kraut that long. Try it and let us know how it goes!

      3 – I think all of the good nutrients are pretty much leached out after two rounds. You are more than welcome to eat them though if you want to!

  12. […] The 30-Day Heartburn Solution by Craig Fear – NEW! (read about this eBook and get a recipe) […]

  13. Maria says:

    I ditto Donna above, a tablespoon of salt per quart is flat out impossible for me to drink. Even two teaspoons is too much for me, especially for a beverage. Salt, more than anything, keeps me from drinking kvass. Does anyone know the BARE minimum salt we can get away with?

    • Lindsey G. says:

      I believe the cabbage and the onion in this recipe balance out the salt better than just the beets alone.

    • Bebe says:

      I made this recipe on the weekend and thought it seemed like too much salt for me too. I just tasted it this morning and decided to let it go a few more days but it is definitely not too salty. My guess is that much of the salt is absorbed by the vegetables.
      I also am going to try adding the vegetables to a beef broth based soup. After making my second batch, of course.

    • Anja says:

      1 T per quart of kvass is quite lovely and really a minimum. it’s to keep the “bad” bacteria from taking over before the good bacteria have multiplied enough to crowd them out. if you find it to still be too salty, let it ferment longer. the saltiness reduces over time.

  14. gail says:

    using the vegs the second time with part of the kvass as a starter, would you still add the salt for the 2nd batch.

  15. Gopika says:

    I get the same jar you linked to when they go on-sale at http://www.surlatable.com. Full-price 2-ltr jar is $6.95. Free shipping on orders over $59.

  16. Jen Hummel says:

    After round 1 can you freeze the veggies until you are ready for round 2?

  17. […] Kvass by Real Food RN How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good by Fearless […]

  18. […] The 30-Day Heartburn Solution by Craig Fear – NEW! (read about this eBook and get a recipe) […]

  19. […] few months back, I had Craig Fear of Fearless Eating stop by and do a guest recipe post for me for beet kvass. In that post, he shared something quite shocking. It turns out the real cause of heartburn is not […]

  20. […] How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good by Fearless Eating How to Brew Water Kefir by Nourished Kitchen How to Make Ginger Bug for Homemade Sodas by Nourished Kitchen Bubbly Probiotic Lemonade by Learning and Yearning Water Kefir Basics by Real Food Outlaws Herbal Kefir Iced Tea by Nourishing Herbalist Easy Probiotic Strawberry Limeade by Mindful Mama Cultured Strawberry Soda by Holistic Squid Lacto-Fermented Orange Juice by Oh Lardy! […]

  21. Al says:

    Do you think its necessary to put the jar in the ‘fridge?

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  23. WOW! i trusted you, i tried this and it is delicious. thank you!

  24. […] already started a batch of Kombucha Tea, and have the ingredients for sauerkraut and kimchi and beet kvass ready. I’ll let you know how these come […]

  25. Omar says:

    I just wanted to thank you for the recipe.

    It is amazing !

    I can eat almost any food with no problem but beets are the one food I have a hard time with…this recipe made it not only tolerable but delicious. Thank you again !

    And I think the other posters are correct…the longer it ferments the less salty it gets…I let mine ferment for 12 days at about 62 F. it turned out to have no salt taste at all…we do use Pink Himalayan salt though which has a less ‘salty’ taste.

    I’m gonna try the full 4 week ferment and see how it goes. The 12 days was perfect taste wise though…

    • Omar says:

      I forgot to mention I used the Fido jars. I’m not sure if makes a difference from Mason jars…but I just started switching over to the regular Fido’s to see if there is any difference…

      so I dont open and ‘burp’ the Fido’s at all…it stays closed till I open it when it’s done…

      and so far with pickles I can tell they seem to stay crispy and not spoil …

  26. liz says:

    ick way too oniony for me :/ but more power to you if your down for the onion.

  27. Erica says:

    Can I ferment vegetables with salt ONLY?

  28. Lindalee says:

    I just made this recipe for the 5th or 6th time. I add garlic cloves to your recipe and I love it. Sometimes I do it with whey, usually without. This time using whey I let go 9 days and when I checked it this morning it was moldy. I have it in a cabinet that I am also using to make apple cider vinegar. Any thoughts on what went wrong?

  29. Jason Season says:

    I had a question about salt content as well…. This recipe was my first time making beet kvass and I literally just made it… after putting in all the ingredients into my jar, I then looked at a couple of other recipes and they used a lot less salt. I did read Lindsay’s response about how the cabbage and onion help balance the salt flavor. But I was curious what others had to say about this particular recipe including Lindsay if they thought it was too salty… anyways, I will wait a week and find out myself… Thank you!!! :)

  30. Erica says:

    This is the first time that I’ve made beet kvass, and I used this recipe.
    After10 days, I opened the regular mason jar (with lid and ring)-slowly and carefully over the sink. Good idea, it’s pretty active!

    The taste unfortunately-too darn salty. :-( The underlying flavors are good, but the salt makes it undrinkable. I guess it’s a soup base now or will be used to blend into juice drinks.

    I have a tip though: to prevent mold from forming, simply turn the jar once or twice a day. (When you brush your teeth, make this a reminder to turn the jars.)

  31. Daisy says:

    I followed a recipe that called for two large beets, 1tbsp. Salt, 1/4 cup whey and filtered water. The recipe said to leave it on the counter for two days than place in the fridge. Well, after two days, my kvass is still very thin, not very bubbly and SUPER salty… Do you have any suggestions? Can I strain my beets and add the cabbage/onion mix and put my beets back in reusing the original kvass liquid?? Any suggestions would be great! This is the first time I have made this, so I’m not sure what to expect…

    • I would recommend reading through the comment threads on this. It is winter and much cooler in your home. You likely need to let it ferment longer. You are looking for the right clues. Trust your instincts! You got this!

      • Omar says:

        Yes, I believe Lindsey is right. The cooler the temperature the longer the ferment should go.

        Sandor Katz book ‘The art of fermentation’ also stated the same thing.

        I’ve let my beet kvass ferment for 3 – 4 weeks at around 62 – 64ish now and it tastes good. I havnt gotten mold so long as the vegetables are submerged, or as Erica said turning so the liquid prevents the mold build up.

        I started using pickle brine as my starter instead of whey and so far it works excellent.

        I just started a new batch today which are sitting at around 70 degrees…I usually wait till all the bubbles are gone then put it in a cooler pantry at around 62 – 64ish

  32. Roxanne says:

    My question is this, if you can use the veggies to make two batches total, can you simply make a larger batch to begin with? I have a ton of gallon sized jars that I use to ferment kombucha and make wine, etc, and it just makes more sense for me to make a gallon to begin with. Secondly, do the beets continue to weigh everything down, or do they eventually rise and float? (Which invites mold if they break the surface.)
    Thanks for this post!
    Have a happy day,
    Roxanne

  33. Michael says:

    Hello!
    Just looking for some advice from anyone…
    I am making 2 jars of Beet Kvass. I have my jars in a room that is about 70 degrees. I am not using Whey. Just sea salt. The first 2 days, it appeared to be bubbling up from the beats to the top. I opened the jars up about 2 times a day. Shook the jars to mix up the contents.

    I am on my 3rd day. There are bubbles at the top, but I cannot tell if they are there from fermenting or if they are there from my shaking the contents of the jars. I tasted it. It has a good flavor, but I can’t say that I taste an obvious fermentation or alcohol content/flavor.

    When it is ready, should there be an OBVIOUS alcohol/or fermentation taste? I am just trying to figure out when this is ready. It does not seem to be bubbling as actively as it was in the first 3 days.

    Also, if I transfer it into the refrigerator, does it continue to ferment in the refrigerator?

    Anyone advice would be appreciated.

  34. Brenda says:

    I just opened my beet kvass that has been sitting at room temp for 3 weeks. I used this recipe and I love it. Starting the second batch today. Thank you. I am not so educated at all this fermenting stuff but having fun trying it :)

  35. Sheril C says:

    Wow. Just opened and tried the finished product. It is pure raw onion flavor. And both my daughters said the same thing. :(
    I had high hopes since my husband and daughters dislike the regular kvass that I’ve made. I like the regular kvass and I’m not sure I can drink this onion juice flavored stuff. Double sad face. :( :(

    • Maybe let it ferment longer? Use less onion? It is all about what you like. If you see in how I wrote my first ebook – recipes are a guide not the destination. Get inspired!

  36. […] **How to make Homemade Kvass by Homemade Mommy […]

  37. Marci says:

    I hope I can get answers to questions I have (I noticed some of the posts with questions did not get answers). I have made this recipe twice and I LOVE IT. It is THE BEST!

    I made a ‘second’ batch from the first batch veggies, but didn’t add kavas to help start it. I just ‘remade’ it using the same veggies, adding water/salt. Will it still be OK do you think? Also do you let the ‘second’ batch sit on the counter and ferment like the first batch? I just put them immediately into the fridge as I wasn’t sure about that. If so, should I take them out and let them sit for several days and then put them in the fridge or just leave them there for a very slow ferment?

    I plan to ‘juice’ the veggies when I’m done. I am growing my own beets now as sometimes the local stores don’t have them, esp. in winter months. I drink this recipe all the time, nearly every day, so I don’t want to run out!

    Thanks!

  38. Iri says:

    Hello Lindsey
    In one of your answers to a comment you stated you do not use whey. Can you tell me how you make yours without whey? Thank you.

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