I like beets so I really hope I like this kvass

I like beets.. no really I do. I like them pickled, mostly.. and sometimes I like them roasted.. but mostly pickled.

I bought a bunch of beets from my last trip to the Co-op and had intended on making an apple and beet salad from “Whole Grains for a New Generation” (which we are reading for the From Scratch Club book club by the way and if you haven’t entered to win a copy of this book go do it NOW because today is the last day to enter! )

Anyway, I ended up not making the salad as I ran out of time, and I didn’t really feel like pickling them as my canning enthusiasm tends to wane in the winter months.

Somewhere it the back of my brain, a little thought bubble popped up and said “what about kvass?”

I really can’t remember where I first saw kvass unless maybe when I was at the Hawthorne Valley Farm for a cheesemaking class. I was (and am still) really into sauerkraut so I was eyeballing all the lacto fermented stuff. Chances are I got an eye on their kvass.

Kvass is essentially fermented beet juice.  Supposedly, it’s a blood tonic and of course any lacto-fermented stuff is good for you.  Most of the recipes I found said to NOT peel the beets. This is because the veggies have a naturally occurring lactobacillus on the outside and that is what causes the fermentation. That’s the reason things get sour, bubbly and yummy.

I couldn’t do it.. I wanted to peel them.. I compromised by not rinsing them after I peeled them, allowing the cross contamination from the knife cutting through the peel to stay with the beet. (yes I washed the dirt off first with cool water). These were organic beets so I probably could have just keep the skin on but.. .. I couldn’t.

Besides, if I didn’t peel them, I wouldn’t have the wonderful opportunity to quote one of my favorite plays.

Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him ~ Lady MacBeth
Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him ~ Lady MacBeth

After peeling the beets and leaving them in big chunks (about 3/4 inches) I popped them in a half gallon wide mouth jar with some peeled sliced ginger.

I kept the ginger pieces pretty big.
I kept the ginger pieces pretty big.

Now, I’m a math geek. Maybe it’s part of my bread baking history but I like to have an idea of what I’m doing. I’m not a fan of the “add 2 tbsp of salt to x amount of water to make a brine”. 2 Tbsp of salt? Canning salt? Kosher salt? Sea salt? They will all measure out different amounts because of their grain size.

Me no likey.

Here is the thing. I want my stuff to come out right the first time. You need a high enough salinity to keep the bad germos from thriving but not so high that the lactobacillus keels over too.

I want numbers, people!

Thank heavens for Google and the awesome people over at Pickl-it who posted this fantastic chart on how to make a 2% salinity brine. (and yes, smarty pants, I could do the math for a 2% brine but I didn’t KNOW I needed a 2% brine until I read the chart, mmmkay?)

So I made my brine and added it to the jar until it was about an inch from the top, gave it a quick stir and slapped on my Pickle-pro

I promptly stuck it up on top of my cabinet, which is the perfect place to stay out of the sun and be relatively undisturbed by temperature changes.

I have to leave post-it notes because I seem to have little sense of time passing
I have to leave post-it notes because I seem to have little sense of time passing

The next day, because I cannot leave things along… ever.. I took it down to give it a peek.

Ermahgerd!  Berbles!
Ermahgerd! Berbles!

So cool! it’s already fermenting! yay!

Here is the jar on day one and day two side by side.
Day One next to Day two

I know the light is different here but take my word for it, it’s darker and bubblier already.

Damn, after all this build up I hope I like it.  I guess I’ll find out in about three weeks.

Hat tip to all the following bloggers who posted their kvass recipes which I totally copied in one way or another