Repeat after me…”Beet kvass is not like grape juice, and it is not wine.” Beet kvass is made from beets, which ultimately have an earthy taste. Regardless of how you flavour basic beet kvass, it will still have a beety taste. Sorry, if you’re not a fan of beets, you may not enjoy beet kvass. However, I hope you’ll grow to enjoy it because it has a stellar nutritional profile.
African Basil Beet Kvass
Vessel: 5 L airlock jar | Fermentation Time: 3 weeks | Yield: 3 L | Author: Sarah Campbell
- 4 lbs. large organic beets
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole anise seed
- 8 basil flowers or 2 cups whole basil stems
- 16 cups filtered or distilled water
- 19-38 grams (~5-9 teaspoons) unrefined sea salt for a 0.5-1% brine
Primary Fermentation (brine with beets)
- If using fresh beets from the garden, let rest in the root cellar or fridge for a week, beet greens removed. When ready, wash beets well. Peel if using non-organic beets; otherwise, trim the stem and any blemishes and cut into, roughly, one-inch cubes.
- Boil 4 cups of water, add salt, and stir to dissolve. Add remaining water to make a 0.5-1% brine. Water should be cool or lukewarm, not hot. Set aside.
- Add basil flowers at the bottom of the jar, then the beets, cloves, and anise seed. The airlock-adapted Fido jar should be ½ full.
- Pour cooled brine just below the neck of the jar (i.e. almost all the way to the top). The beets, herbs, and spices may float to the top, but that is okay. Fill airlock with filtered water to the fill-line. Insert through the lid into the grommet. Clamp lid.
- Ferment in a warm place, 18-22º C, for at least 10 days out of direct sunlight. Consider a longer fermenting time of 2-3 weeks to develop deeper flavour and acidity. Beet kvass should not taste like salty beet water.
Secondary Fermentation (only beet brine)
Strain beets, herbs, and spices from brine (beet kvass). Transfer to clean swing-top bottles (expect a 3L yield). If the taste suits your preference, transfer to the fridge. For fizz and further flavour depth, leave the sealed bottles at room temperature for several more days or weeks. Additional spices or herbs such as turmeric, lavender, whole basil leaves, or cayenne pepper can be added to adjust or enhanced flavour. When finished, add drops of stevia for a sweeter taste.
Start with an ounce per day, working up to ¼ cup on an empty stomach for better nutrient absorption. Try to consume the batch within one month.
Transfer leftover beets to a jar, covered with beet kvass, and top with lid. Store in the fridge and use on salads, in wraps, or traditional Russian borscht.
Caution: Straining beet brine from the beets can get a tad messy!