A few weeks ago I became a real kitchen scientist… I started fermenting my own drinks. Not beer or wine or anything as normal as that. I started making Beet Kvass. I first heard about this in the book Nourishing Traditions. I was intrigued because I LOVE beets. So, I decided to try it. The result was received with mixed reviews. I liked it, but didn’t love it. My husband thought it was too salty and not worth drinking. The first few days after making it I forced myself to drink it though and by the fourth day or so I was starting to like it. So, I made more. But this time I did a few things differently. For starters I had a lot more beet this time. I used the biggest beet I’ve ever seen - after cutting it all up it almost filled my jar. Second I used less salt. This time it turned out really good – even my husband liked it alright - although he had to add a little Mattoni (sparkling mineral water) and some lime juice to it first.
The flavor is sort of earthy. It’s not really sweet like roasted beets, but it’s not really sour or savory or anything like that either. I think the best description is simply earthy, with just a little bit of a salty taste. It’s sort of an acquired taste but I’m definitely acquiring a taste for it, maybe even a little addiction.
Here are just a few of the benefits of lacto fermented drinks:
- More hydrating then water. In order to remain hydrated your body needs a balance of sugar, salt and water. Electrolyte drinks are designed to ensure that balance, but are often packed with added preservatives, dyes and unnecessary sweeteners. Lacto fermented drinks could be called the traditional, real food version of Gatorade since they provide a great hydrating balance.
- Support the intestinal ecosystem. Lacto fermented drinks are packed with beneficial micro-organisms. Essentially they are full of what we often call probiotics. These micro-organisms help support digestive and intestinal health, which can be critical for overall health.
Here are just a few of the benefits of beets:
- Good for the blood. The pigment that gives beets their rich color is called Betacyanin. Betacyanin can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood. Beets have also been used to help normalize blood pressure, improve the elasticity of arteries, and prevent varicose veins. They also contains a high-quality iron which is easily and efficiently used by the body making beets helpful in the treatment of anemia.
- Cancer fighting properties. Beets contain very high levels of anti-carcinogens. Beet juice has been shown to “help inhibit the development of colon and stomach cancer.”
- Good for the liver. “Beet juice helps stimulate the function of liver cells and protect the liver and the bile ducts.”
- Reduce Inflammation. Beets contain betaine, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body particularly when combined with choline (found naturally in egg yolk for example).
In short, beet kvass is loaded with all kinds of health benefits. So, if you want to try out your own kitchen science experiment here’s how to make your very own lacto fermented beet kvass.
What You Need:
1-3 large beets (how many beets you need to use will be dependent on how large the beets are) ¼ cup whey 2 tsp unrefined sea salt 2-quart container water
What to Do:
Peel and chop up the beet. You want the beet in medium to large size chunks. If you grate the beet or chop it really fine then too much of the beet sugar will be released and supposedly it can turn alcoholic.
Place the cut up beet in your 2-quart container. Add ¼ cup whey and 2 tsp unrefined salt. Add enough water to fill the rest of the container. Stir well, cover, and let it sit somewhere for about 2 days (personally think it was better after sitting for 3 days). Strain the liquid into a bottle and place it in the fridge. You can reuse the used beets for another batch by just adding more whey, salt and water to them. The second batch will be a bit weaker though. Enjoy chilled, mixed with a little bit of fresh lime juice, mixed with Matoni, or as an addition to salad dressings.
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman
This post has been entered in the Fight Back Friday May 14th blog carnival at Food Renegade, Food Revolution Friday at Notes from the Cookie Jar, Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker. Check out the links for lots other posts.