‘Google’ the word “Beet Kvass” and you will find hundreds of very salty recipes.
People often comment that our Beet Kvass tastes better than the one they made at home.
So now we will share our secret- USE LESS SALT!
Use good quality salt as well. Himalayan salt crystals (above right) are mineral rich, and packed with healing benefits, unlike refined table salt which is mildly toxic to the body.
Salt is traditionally used in ferments and pickles as a preservative to help inhibit growth bad bacteria. This allows the lactobacilli to grow and acidify the ferment, excluding contaminating bacteria. The trick in making a low salt kvass is adding fresh shredded ginger and more whey to the mix. Please don’t try this at home unless you can remember, “MORE WHEY, LESS SALT!” The extra whey will give your kvass a jump-start so that the cultures grow and produce lactic acid faster. It is very important, whenever you are fermenting anything, to be as sterile as possible… especially if you are using less salt! You will want to clean your jars well and use sanitizer such as hydrogen peroxide or GSE, or a dishwasher is best if you have one.
Whey is a powerful source of concentrated probiotic cultures. This is not the same thing as whey protein that people put in their smoothies to beef up their workout. Whey has been made for generations, and mostly comes as a byproduct of the cheese industry, but not all whey is the same. Cheese whey has specific cultures and your kvass could taste very cheesy and even “bloom” on top with floating chunks depending on what type of cheese whey you are using.
Yogurt whey made from non-homogenized yogurt makes pretty good kvass as well, but the mother ship of all kvass comes from kefir whey, which has a more diverse array of beneficial microrganisms. The easiest method of making kefir whey is to buy the kefir from the store and pass it through a coffee filter. The clear liquid that drips from the bottom is the whey, and left in the filter is yummy probiotic cream cheese! We like to use Green Valley Organics, or Redwood Hill Farm kefir for this.
Whey from homemade kefir is really the best and some strains of kefir cultures contain a symbiosis of beneficial yeast and bacteria that are perfect for human gut health. I once taught a workshop on kvass and kefir making and I promoted the cultures from the Caucasus mountains of Russia. One of the attendees was a woman who had been struggling with candida for years and she could not get rid of her candida overgrowth even though she had been on the candida diet (ate absolutely no sugar [not even fruit] for two years).
There is a particular culture of dairy kefir, the same one that I was making kefir with, once considered sacred by the inhabitants of the Caucasus Mountains of Russia. It has the power to crowd out candida and other non-beneficial yeasts and fungus, etc. that make a home in our gut, and thus, restores intestinal health.
So she gave it a try and in a few months her test showed her candida was stabilized without having to be on a sugar free diet! A few companies like Organic Pastures sell this healing strain of kefir culture, and you can mail-order right from their website to produce your own amazing probiotic dairy kefir at a very low cost in comparison to what is in the store.
Low Salt Beet Kvass Recipe
1. Clean, peel and chop up 3-4 medium sized beets into 1/2 inch cubes and fill the bottom of a half gallon mason jar with the beets.
2. Add 2-4 tablespoons fresh shredded ginger.
3. Add 1/2 cup whey and 1 tsp. salt (see photo above with the red coffee filter basket)
4. Fill jar with purified water, leaving an inch of space at the top.
5. Ferment in a dark cabinet for 3-5 days, until rich an tingly!
TIP: Beet Kvass tastes better the longer it ages in the fridge! Wash and peel extremely well and never use a cutting board that may contain mold. This will prevent any mysterious stuff that can tend to float at the top.