One of the easiest ways to bring some more life into your diet, and your life, is to start your meal with a fermented beverage. This is great for your immune and digestive systems and a tonic to your taste buds. There are a lot of options available these days. Almost every food store has a range of fermented beverages. Kombucha and kefir are common and easy to find, and they provide a lot of healthy bacteria to support our gut health. These can be a great way to introduce ferments into your life. Start with a small amount – maybe 1-2 ounces before a meal – and then build up to what feels best to you. The only caution I would make about purchasing these beverages is to read the label. Choose brands that have low sugar content. And choose local whenever possible.
You can also make your own fermented beverages easily, and you can do a variety of flavours throughout the year, depending on what is available during the season.
Here I’m sharing a favourite recipe for Beet Kvass. It is a traditional East European beverage made from beets. And tune in next month for some other easy and tasty ways to put more life in your diet!
Ingredients (makes 1 litre):
- 2 medium or 3 small beets
- ¼ cup whey or juice from sauerkraut, or ½ packet fermentation starter, or 2 caps probiotic (like the Mercola Complete Probiotic for the beneficial strains that are good for our guts!)**
- 2 tbsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
- filtered water
- Wash beets and peel if not organic or leave skins on if organic.
- Chop beet into small cubes but don’t grate. 1-inch cubes are good. If they are too small, the fermentation goes to alcohol instead of the lactic fermentation we want.
- Place beets in the bottom of a 1-litre glass jar.
- Add whey/sauerkraut juice and salt. If you don’t want to use whey or sauerkraut juice, you can double the salt instead, though it may take longer to ferment.
- Fill the jar with filtered water.
- Cover with a towel or cheesecloth and leave on the counter at room temperature for 2-4 days to ferment. When it tastes tart, it’s ready to enjoy!
- Strain out the beets and you can roast them and then make a lovely soup.
- Put the kvass (liquid) lid on and store it in the fridge!
- Transfer to refrigerator and consume as desired. I drink 3-4 ounces each morning and night.
** I like using a fermentation starter to start fermentation quickly and to make sure there are beneficial strains in the finished product. You can use wild fermentation without the starter but will need to double the salt. For more info on fermenting and living foods, give me a shout for more info.