Guide to Kvass

 

Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you’ve tried it. Maybe you still can’t figure out what the heck it is.

Kvass is a fermented drink made from beets. It dates back to the medieval ages where it was commonly brewed in Eastern  Europe. Today, kvass is rising in popularity just like all the other fermented foods. You might have seen it pop up at that new all-day cafe in your neighborhood, or as a health tonic at your farmer’s market. Kvass’s bright deep pinkish/red color makes it a hit on Instagram and blogs, but the actual flavor of kvass isn’t always such a hit upon the first taste…

The flavor is often described as “acquired” due to it’s salty, earthy taste that can quickly lean too far into brine-y territory. It’s important to not overuse salt during the fermenting process. If you want to make a delicious brew, be sure to allow your kvass to develop over time. Fermenting in a colder location will slow down the process and help build a mellow flavor. But don’t be fooled: Kvass tastes almost nothing like roasted beets. This may be because the sweet sugars have been fermented out. It’s a drink like no else, and you’ll most likely either dig it, or hate it.

Kvass to the Cure?

Health claims swarm around kvass. Sure, it’s a healthy beverage, but just like everything else, it’s important to remember that food is not a substitution for evidence-based medicine. Kvass is rich in probiotics and is a great source of antioxidants. It’s also low in sugars and has been shown to help support healthy liver function. It’s a great way to add more diversity to your gut biome. Looking to up your antioxidants? Try drinking kvass instead of reaching for vitamins or a sugar-packed juice.

Look for kvass at health food stores, and from local pickle producers. You can also ferment your own at home in less than a week with just beets, water, and salt.

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