Fermentation is the best friend of a strong immune system and a great way to keep your digestive system into a good health. Kimchi, sauerkraut or kefir are probably the fermented foods you’re already familiar with. Today I introduce you to a new word, one with huge personality: kvass.
Coming from an Eastern European country, I grew up with sour soups and fermented foods. In this part of the world winters are harsh and people need a very strong immune system to face them, and that’s why fermentation has a long tradition over here.
Fermented drinks refresh the good bacteria in your colon; as Hippocrates said, all diseases begin in the gut, so we should take good care of these colonies. Excess antibiotics, refined sugars, processed food or too much starch diminishes the good bacteria colonies and can result in a poor immune system, poor nutrient absorption, vitamin deficiency or allergies.
Kvass is a very popular drink in Slavic and Baltic countries, where you can buy it at the supermarket or order a homemade version in any traditional restaurant. With its tangy yet sweet taste, nutrient load, and medicinal qualities, everybody is crazy about kvass. Magnesium, phosphorus, amino acids, vitamin C and B, including the very rare B12, are all found in the drink. It is traditionally fermented with the use of rye or barley bread, but sometimes people use a starter such as whey or yeast to accelerate the fermentation.
Consuming a variety of fermented foods helps you get all the health benefits of bacteria, and keeps your colonies refreshed and varied. This is why I always embrace any new fermented food I learn about, and kvass is definitely a must try.
Orange Ginger Carrot Kvass
- 6 carrots, sliced into approximately 1/8-inch coins
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
- 6 large strips of organic orange peel (peeled with a vegetable peeler)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (4 teaspoons if omitting whey)
- ¼ cup whey (optional)
- Water as needed
- Put carrots, ginger, and orange peel into a half-gallon jar.
- Add salt and whey and fill the remainder of the jar with water, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
- Cover tightly with a lid, and shake well to dissolve the salt in the whey and water.
- Remove canning lid and cover with a clean towel or coffee filter.
- Secure with a rubber band or canning ring.
- Place in a warm spot to ferment for 2 to 4 days, depending on temperature.
- The longer it ferments, the more sour it will get. Begin to taste after the first two days and allow to ferment to your liking.
- Strain the liquid from the carrots, leaving about 1 cup of liquid in the jar for another round of kvass. To make a second, weaker batch of kvass simply add water and repeat fermentation instructions as above.
- 2-3 beets, depending on size
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tsp active dried yeast or 1/4 cup whey
- 2 quarts filtered water
- PREP THE INGREDIENTS
- Peel and chop beets into ½-inch pieces and place in a half-gallon jar.
- Add salt. whey/yeast and fill the jar with water, leaving 1 inch of space between the beets and the top of the jar. Cover the jar with a tight lid.
- CULTURE THE BEETS
- Store the beets at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved (about 2 to 5 days).
- If using a tight lid, slightly unscrew the lid daily to release excess pressure (do not remove the lid completely).
- Once the kvass is finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to refrigerator.
- The kvass flavor will continue to develop as it ages.
- When the liquid in the kvass is close to empty, refill the jar and culture at room temperature again for a second, weaker batch.
Recipe Source: Cultures For Health11