A traditional fermented Eastern European drink gets an upgrade with my probiotic beetroot tonic recipe. This recipe is a version of “kvass,” which means “acid” in Russian.
Originally, kvass was made from stale rye bread crumbs—instead of throwing them away, the bread was kept in salted water till it developed its own specific flavor. Kvass has evolved and today’s common way of making it is with beetroots, but I personally find kvass made with beetroot alone to be too earthy and bland. In my own culinary experiments, I’ve found that by adding zesty ginger, lemons, oranges, kumquats or tangerines, this drink becomes rather tangy and addictive.
Why is kvass so good for you? Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions says: “This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce 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.”
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- 3 quarts/liters of water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 3 beetroots, chopped (peel if not organic and if organic, leave the skin on)
- 1.5 limes with rind, quartered
ichginger knob, shredded
- ½ pound cabbage, shredded
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1 packet Body Ecology Starter
- Place all the ingredients in the fermentation vessel and give them a good stir to dissolve the salt.
- Weight the food down so the ginger and lime do not get moldy when they float to the top.
- Keep the vessel either covered with a
cheese clothor place an airlock over it. We want the gas to be able to escape the vessel. Keep inroom temperature (60-64F) for 4-5 days.
- Strain and transfer to airlock bottles for a week, place in a cooler place (38 to 40F) for a week.
- When ready to drink, if you want extra carbonation, leave it out for a few
hours inroom temperature. You can chill it before serving.
Low-FODMAP: replace beetroot with raspberries.
Kvass is a bit like wine - it takes time to develop its full flavor. I recommend to keep it in the fridge (the second part of the fermentation process) for as long as a week for the salty flavor to soften and for the ginger and the citrus to come through.
My version of beetroot kvass is vibrant, zingy, and packed with probiotics. You can find more recipes like it in my cookbook, Cooking For Hormone Balance, with over 125 easy, delicious recipes to nourish your body and balance your hormones without calorie restriction or deprivation.
All of the recipes are based on twenty hormone-supporting superfoods and twenty hormone-supporting super herbs—with modifications for Paleo, Paleo for Autoimmunity (AIP), anti-Candida, and low-FODMAP diets. Get the cookbook here.