If you haven’t seen kvass at the grocery store, chances are you soon will. Already being produced in places like Brooklyn and Pennsylvania, kvass is quickly catching kombucha as the newest hot trend. Why? It’s probably due to its probiotic characteristics, which provide phenomenal health benefits!
Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage having a similar taste to beer. Much like kombucha because of its fermentation process and probiotic content, it is commonly made from stale, sourdough rye bread. While it’s considered a non-alcoholic beverage containing around 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent alcohol, the longer it ferments, the more susceptible it is to becoming more alcoholic.
Kvass is very refreshing and can include delicious flavors from fruits (such as raisins and strawberries) and herbs (such as mint). It typically has a tangy, earthy, salty flavor and can be an acquired taste, though many end up craving it due to the nutritional benefits it offers. In addition to its impressive probiotic content, kvass is considered a tonic for digestion and an excellent thirst quencher.
There are a few types of kvass. Kvass is typically made from high-quality sourdough rye bread. However, kvass can be made from benefit-rich beets or various fruits, especially for those concerned about the grains due to diet restrictions.
Kvass offers a wide range of nutrients, including vitamin B12 and the mineralmanganese. Here is the nutritional background based on a 10-ounce serving of kvass made with sourdough. Note that it may vary based on the ingredients, as the beet variety also offers a host of other critical nutrients.
*Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Since kvass is considered one of the great probiotic foods, there are many benefits such as improving intestinal tract health andenhancing the immune system, which makes nutrients more available to the body. This also reduces symptoms of lactose intolerance, decreasing the prevalence of allergies.
Formerly, we had plenty of probiotics in our diet from eating fresh foods from good soil and by fermenting our foods to keep them from spoiling. But the modern ways of agriculture, refrigeration and preparing food have eliminated probiotic foods for too many American. Not enough probiotics can mean digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease, and frequent colds and flus.
While many think that alcohol is the only reason for liver problems, disease-causing inflammation is also caused by poor eating choices. Beets and beet greens are rich in antioxidants containing over 1300 milligrams of potassium per cup, and as such, they help fight free radical damage and improve the health of your body at a cellular level.
Like beetroot juice, beet kvass and beets help naturally cleanse the gallbladder, improve bile flow, remove plenty of toxins and promote regularity!
Beets contain phytonutrients called betalains that are found in the pigment of beets and are what causes your hands to stain. These betalains help create red blood cells, making beet kvass an excellent blood tonic by alkalizing the blood.
Why is this important? When your bloodstream becomes too acidic, it causes inflammation in the body and depletes the body of calcium because it is trying to balance out the pH levels. One of the best things we can do is consume more alkaline-promoting foods such as beets and leafy green vegetables. That is why beet kvass is an excellent choice!
Most significant of all, beet kvass may help as a natural cancer treatment because of the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties available. According to a 2014 report published online at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, beetroot is also being considered as a therapeutic treatment for inflammation, and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Dr. Joseph Mercola shares that, “Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.”
Because beets are high in vitamin C, beet kvass helps boost your immune system and can help stave off the cold virus. It’s unusually high in manganese, a mineral that is needed for the health of your bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas. Beet kvass also contains the B vitamin folate, which may help reduce the risk of birth defects.
Kvass is most popular in the Ukraine and Russia. Originating in Ukraine, it was first mentioned in the “Primary Chronicle,” an ancient history book of Slavic people also known as “The Tale of Bygone Years,” in events described in the year 996 A.D. following the Christianization of the Kievan Rus.
It’s common to see barrels of kvass on the streets of Moscow in Russia because it’s considered a tonic for digestion, containing probiotics, and an excellent thirst quencher. Some suggest that kvass is safer than drinking water!
Russians have been consuming it for more than 1,000 years, as kvass has been enjoyed by czars as well as peasants. The wealthy made various kinds of kvass using rye bread or pears, raisins, cherries, bilberries and lingonberries. Peter the Great even used it to add fragrance to his steam baths by splashing kvass on hot stones.
No traditional Ukranian home was without its bottle of beet kvass, according to Lubow A. Kylvska, author of “Ukranian Dishes,”
“handy and ready when a pleasing, sour flavor had to be added to soups and vinaigrettes.”
Folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver-cleansing properties, and beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe. It has been reported that beet kvass is an excellent therapy forchronic fatigue syndrome, chemical sensitivities, allergies and, because it is an excellent source of probiotics, it can help with digestive problems.
There are a few recipes included below, but be aware that kvass is going to take a little practice. The good news is that kvass is easy to make. The simplest form includes beets, water and salt. The water and salt create a brine so the beets pickle, and eventually the brine becomes kvass with a slight effervescence from the fermentation process.
The first recipe takes a bit more time and uses sourdough. The second is a recipe for beet kvass and takes only a few minutes to prepare. Try both and see which one you like best!
This recipe makes about 2 1/2 quarts. Double for more.
This recipe serves 5–10 people.