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.
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.
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
- 2-3 medium beets, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
- ¼ cabbage, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp sea salt (where to buy)
- ¼ cup whey or 1 Tbsp starter culture (where to buy), optional
- filtered water to cover (where to buy a water filter)
- Add onion and cabbage to a 2 quart glass jar (Homemade Mommy note: I use these inexpensive jars)
- Add the beets on top of the onion and cabbage so that they act as a weight
- Add salt and optional whey
- Cover with filtered water, leaving an inch between the top of the jar and the top of the water
- Close the jar and leave in a cool dark place in your home
- Transfer to the fridge after 3-7 days
That’s it! It’s so easy.
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!
Stop Struggling With Heartburn
Check out Craig’s ebook here!
Craig 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!