Sunday, May 25, 2014

DIY -- beets fermented and beet kvass

Ukrainians swear by the health benefits of beet kvass, a fermented beet juice.
Actually the history of beets is that in Roman times, the thin yellow roots were used for a medicinal tonic.
Beet kvass continues this tradition.
Ukrainian Jews call the fermented beets and juice "russell" and I just finished my first batch.
As you  can see from this site, almost everybody got mold on theirs while it fermented.

So did I.  You just skim it off.  I went the extra step of boiling the beet juice before pouring it into the jars and putting lids on.

Notice that the recipe at the site uses whey.  This is not kosher to use with meat to make russel fleisch, a Jewish recipe.  My recipe uses just beets and water, and ferments for 3 weeks not one.

If you "don't like beets" you probably won't like russel or kvass or pickled beets, another great recipe.  But I didn't like beets either until we grew them for ourselves and I got to eat them within 24 hours of picking, before all the sugar turned into starch.
Remember, it was beet sugar that made millions for Lazar Brodsky and Yona Zaitsev.  Sholem Aleichem writes about Brodsky who built what is now the Kiev, Ukraine, Chabad (Chassidic) building.  Yona Zaitsev founded the brick factory where Mendel Beilis worked.

So if you have a small garden, try growing beets in it.  Eat the thinnings in salads or soup, and then try cooking the beets fresh out of the ground after scrubbing and peeling.  You might find out that the beets "you don't like" add a robust, earthy flavor to soup and stew.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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