The Slowpoke: BEET KVASS

Slowly but surely it seems we are all relearning the health powers that lie within age-old fermented foods. Whether sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, or as we’ll talk about today, kvass, they’re loaded with probiotics that keeps your gut, and as a result many other things, in good shape.

One man who knows the power of a good ferment for health is chef Pete Evans, and in his new cookbook Family Food, provides a few recipes that are ideal for the whole family. One of which is this fun and simple beet kvass. 

“Beet kvass is an unusual and delicious drink that I absolutely love. It is touted as a great liver cleanser and is widely used in Europe as part of natural approach to chronic fatigue, allergies and digestive disorders. Kvass is pretty simple to make, though you may want to wear disposable gloves – unless you don’t mind having purple hands for a few days.

“Try to get your kids to have some of this in small quantities – it’s a great alternative to red cordial and you can also freeze the mixture into ice blocks or popsicles as a refreshing summer treat. If you don’t want to use sauerkraut juice or starter culture, you can double the amount of salt, though this will take longer to ferment.”

2–4 beetroot
1 tablespoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
1/2 sachet vegetable starter culture or 3 tablespoons sauerkraut brine

You will need a sterilised 1.5 litre preserving jar with an airlock lid for this recipe. You will also need to sterilise the knife, chopping board,
glass measuring jug and stainless steel spoon you will be using. To do this, wash the jar and utensils in very hot, soapy water. Dry well and set aside. Alternatively, run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher.

Wash and scrub the beetroot (peel them if they are not organic). Chop the beetroot into 1.5 cm cubes and place in the jar.

Mix the salt, 250 ml of filtered water and the starter culture or sauerkraut brine in a glass measuring jug, then pour into the jar.

Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving 2 cm free at the top. Cover the jar with the lid and a piece of muslin secured with an elastic band. Leave on the kitchen counter at room temperature for 3–5 days to ferment.

Chill before drinking. The kvass will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge once opened.

Makes 1.5 L.

Recipe: Family Food by Pete Evans, $39.99, Pan Macmillan. 

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