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This beautiful Strawberry-Beet Kvass is super easy to make and FULL of probiotics! Kvass is one of my favorite ferments for so many reasons: Beets are high in minerals, B vitamins and energy-yielding carbohydrates. These qualities are magnified through fermentation. The fermentation makes this a rehydrating beverage, full of electrolytes and beneficial sodium, (which I talk more about in this post [why we NEED sodium in our diets]). Strawberries sweeten the whole thing, making this beverage fruity and more loved by kids and more popular with everyone! Plus it’s pretty and while lovely in spring and summer, can be made year round. Grab a mason jar and just one beet — and we’ll get started! (Suitable and desirable for Paleo, GAPS, and AIP diets!)
If you want extra fiber instead of probiotics, you’ll love my Beet-Ginger smoothie here.
Ginger is an optional ingredient in this kvass recipe, because I do love the spicy, rich flavor it adds to earthy beets. It also goes beautifully with strawberries, although it is subtle in this recipe, not overly spicy. Like beets, ginger aids the body in detoxification. Isn’t kvass with ginger an amazing super food? Ginger fights inflammation; it aids digestion and assists the immune system!
Although strawberries are naturally sweet and delicious, their nutritional profile is also excellent. What’s cool about fermentation is that those nutrients multiply! We don’t add the strawberries until the beets have already fermented. But if you leave your Strawberry Kvass in the fridge for a few days, they’ll slowly become healthier: more vitamin C, more vitamin K, more manganese and potassium. Plus strawberries are high in fiber that becomes more digestible, gentle and beneficial through fermentation. (source)
How is it possible for produce that’s fermented to gain nutrition?
The beneficial bacteria that develop during fermentation produce enzymes and additional vitamins! What many of us fail to realize is that homemade probiotic foods are MORE beneficial than eating raw veggies + a probiotic supplement! Fermentation predigests the nutrients in foods making them more bioavailable! (source and source)
That’s one of the reasons I keep sharing ferment recipes with you, and also because I love making them so much! Are you fermenting yet? It’s easy and magical! 🙂 (In addition to kvass, try these recipes: Cauliflower Pickles, Brussels Sprouts Pickles, Strawberry-Basil Switchel, Blueberry-Lavender Switchel, and if you enjoy dairy, Bonny Clabber Panna Cotta, which is wild fermentation. All of these take almost no work and are almost pure fun! 😉 )
Lastly, remember: Probiotics create an inhospitable environment for pathogens within our guts! So Many Wins.
Grab your beet. Here’s the recipe:
- 4 cups water filtered
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries or frozen when fresh are not available
- 1 medium-large beet 1 ½-2 cups, chopped into about 1” cubes (or larger), not grated or diced
- 2-4 Tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon probiotic liquid whey or sauerkraut juice (not one that tastes of garlic or other strong flavors)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon stevia, or less, to taste, depending on brand; or use maple syrup (not GAPS), if preferred and for AIP (2 Tablespoons, or to taste)
Place the beet pieces into a one-quart mason jar. Add the optional ginger.
Add the whey or kraut juice.
Fill the jar to within one inch of the neck with filtered water. Add the sea salt and stir well, to dissolve.
Cover, screwing the lid on loosely to allow gasses to escape. Or use airlock lids to ensure success (and prevent kahm yeast [see notes below in post]; see link below in Recipe Notes). Keep at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for two days in warm weather, or up to 8 days or longer in colder weather.
After the kvass has deepened in color, has a pleasantly sour flavor, and shows signs of bubbles near the surface, or active effervescence, strain all but ¼ cup from the mason jar into a blender.
Add strawberries and stevia. Blend 30 seconds.
You can serve the kvass now, but preferably continue a slow, gentle fermentation in the fridge. Transfer strawberry beet kvass into a 4-cup mason jar and a 2-cup mason jar. Chill and store kvass in fridge, allowing it to continue to ferment, for up to 7 days. Serve.
If you'd like to make another batch of kvass, the same beets can do one more round (with the reserved 1/4 cup kvass): Simply add water to the fill line again. Add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Stir to dissolve.
Again, keep the mixture at room temperature for 2-8 days minimum. After the second batch, the beets are now “exhausted” and can be composted; but ¼ cup of the strained kvass may again be used for another batch in place of whey.
Use airlock lids to ensure pickling success. (Find them here.)
Troubleshooting: What’s Kahm Yeast?
Kahm yeast is a thin, harmless film that can form on the top surface of ferments. Kahm yeast (read more about it here) is best avoided by reducing oxygen in a ferment, which is why it’s best to use airlock lids. Airlock lids aren’t necessary, but they do ensure success by helping to develop a layer of CO2 over the ferment’s surface. (Find airlock lids here.)
If you make kvass and the kahm yeast film develops, just use a paper towel to absorb the yeast islands off the surface. While they are edible and harmless, they do add an off-flavor. Simply remove them, then refrigerate your ferment, or proceed with the recipe by pureeing in the strawberries. (Once a ferment has kahm yeast, it’s best not to keep it at room temperature, as it will just keep returning, and we don’t want that flavor to develop.)
Kahm yeast is about the only thing that can cause you trouble when making beet kvass. So grab your airlock lids here, to avoid that, and enjoy the process.
Below, you see the beautiful surface of Strawberry-Beet Kvass! Tempting, fresh, alive and healthy!
If it’s summer where you are, the initial ferment can be ready in two days! Grab your beet and let’s go! 🙂