Midday Fix: Kombucha, kefir and beyond

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Alex Lewin



To purchase a copy of the book:

Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Fermenting Your Own Probiotic Beverages at Home


Beet Kvass


- 1 medium-sized organic beet

- 1 tsp sea salt

- approx 20 fl oz filtered water


- large chef's knife

- cutting board

- 1 quart wide-mouth mason jar, with lid

Cut the beet into large dice, approx 3/4 inch on a side. They need not be precise. It is not necessary to peel the beet first.

Add the beet and salt to the jar, add water up to the shoulder of the jar, close the lid firmly, and shake until the salt is dissolved.

Let sit at room temperature for at least two weeks. If the lid starts to bulge, "burp" it to relieve pressure without opening it completely.

After two weeks, strain, and save the liquid. This is the Beet Kvass. Have a small cup of it every morning as a digestive tonic. Store it in the refrigerator.

The beet chunks can be puréed and used in salad dressing or in a soup.


*more detailed version*

Beet Kvass

Beet kvass is the brine from fermented beets (beetroot). It combines the benefits of beets with the benefits of fermentation! Beets contain vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin C, plus iron and a variety of minerals that are necessary for proper nerve and muscle function and for healthy bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

Beet kvass is easy to make, and a shot of it is a great morning tonic and organ cleanser. If you buy organic beets and ginger, you don’t even have to peel them. This recipe works well in a half gallon (2 L) Mason jar.

Yield: About 11⁄2 quarts (1.5 L)

2 or 3 beets, peeled if not organic

1 inch (2.5 cm) of fresh ginger, peeled if not organic (optional)

1 inch (2.5 cm) of sprig rosemary (optional)

Approximately 11⁄2 quarts (1.5 L) filtered water

1 tablespoon (15 g) sea salt

Coarsely chop the beets into 1⁄2- to 1-inch (1 to 2.5 cm) pieces. Cut the ginger (if using) into 1⁄4-inch (6 mm) chunks. Place the beets, ginger, and rosemary (if using) in a half gallon (2 L) Mason jar. Fill the jar halfway with filtered water. Add the salt, close the lid, and shake. Once the salt has dissolved, open the lid and fill with water to the shoulder of the jar, leaving 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of space at the top. Close the lid. Write the date on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the outside of the jar.

Let it sit for a few days to 1 week if your room is warm, or for 2 or 3 weeks if it’s cooler. The kvass will progress well if you keep the lid closed. Gently agitate once a day to ensure that mold does not form. You know it’s on its way when it starts getting foamy. Once you open the lid, though, it’s best to strain the kvass and refrigerate it because if you close it again and leave it at room temperature, molds can take hold.

When you’re ready to put it into the fridge, pour it through a strainer to separate the beets (and other optional ingredients) from the liquid. The kvass is the liquid. Keep it covered in the refrigerator and drink it cold if you like.

Keep the beet chunks in the refrigerator, too. They can be chopped up and thrown in salads or soups, blended and added to salad dressing, or put through a juicer. Or you can blend the beet chunks with some of the kvass as the base for a fermented beet gazpacho or borscht!

Variation: Substitute 6 carrots for the beets. (Ginger goes well in carrot kvass; rosemary may overwhelm it.) Carrot kvass is a good option for people who don’t like beets, and it’s a good way to start developing a taste for fermented tonics.




- 1 fl oz raw apple cider vinegar

- 1 fl oz unsulphured molasses

- 8 fl oz filtered water

- approx 1/2 tsp grated ginger

- a few ice cubes (optional)



- 1 pint wide-mouth mason jar, with lid

Combine all ingredients in the jar, close lid, and shake until well-mixed.

Variation: Use only enough water as is necessary to mix as above. Then top off with sparkling water.




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