What is Kvass
Kvass, a traditional Eastern European and Russian fermented beverage, is taking health blogs and kitchens by storm. A versatile ferment, kvass is easy to make, totally affordable, and yet another superb source of probiotics.
Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage with Eastern European and Russian origins. While it is commonly made from either bread or beetroots, many other variations abound. Fruits and berries are sometimes used instead, as well as herbs and spices for additional flavoring.
Being an ancient home ferment, it is likely that kvass was often made using what ever was in season or in excess.
The Making of Kvass
The basic process consists of soaking dried bread or fresh chopped beets in water. Sugar and salt are sometimes called for, and the additional of a microbial starter in the form of live whey, brine from vegetable ferments or sourdough starter is optional. Once combined the ingredients are allowed to ferment together at room temperature with a cloth covering.
Once ready it can be refrigerated and drunk when desired. Traditionally kvass has also been used to add into soups and stews.
While the first documented recording of the drinking of kvass puts it into the history books at AD996, it is thought to have been brewed and drunk for many years before this. During these times kvass was consumed in high amounts by peasants, low class citizens and monks. One of the reasons for this was due to contaminated water sources.
Kvass’s Role in Disease Prevention
Fermented beverages provided a safer form of hydration than plain water, as water was a top carrier of disease and infection in ancient times. In addition, kvass was often purposefully consumed prior to contact with sick people, as it was thought to be an immune booster and anti viral agent. This belief is supported by modern day findings related to the immune boosting and pathogen fighting properties of fermented foods.
Kvass has remained mainstream in Eastern Europe and other countries where it is traditionally consumed. Sidewalk vendors offer kvass for sale, and commercial brands are also in on the market. It is only recently however that kvass has gone global. It is now well known and popular enough to be considered a rival to kombucha.
Reasons to Make Kvass
Requiring only cheap ingredients and no equipment, kvass is easy to brew at home. Its fermentation time is a short 3-10 days depending on conditions. Kvass does not even require a ferment specific starter culture to get going. If you already have some experience in home fermentation then making kvass is a no brainer. If you have not done any fermentation yet, kvass can be a good place to start.
As far as health benefits are concerned, kvass brings with it all of the probiotic benefits that other fermented beverages do. In addition, if made from beets, kvass can contain liver cleansing properties, and blood boosting power. Beetroots contain a set of substances called belatins. These help the body create new red blood cells. Kvass is also an alkalising substance, which makes it a good addition to one’s daily diet as many of our foods are acid creating.
After remaining fairly non-global, kvass is now crossing borders and cultures to become a familiar element in people’s kitchens. After the dominance of commercially produced drinks like soda, it is a truly great thing that kvass and other fermented items are making such a come back. Our ancestors consumed many different varieties of fermented foods, as this was the main method of food storage and preservation. Through this they were incorporating substantial amounts of probiotics into their digestive systems on a daily basis.
Probiotics are one of the best supports for our digestive systems, as those bacteria are what make our GI tract a functioning and complex system. Have a digestive system that is at optimum health means that chances are the body will be at, or close to, optimum health as well.
Incorporating a source of probiotics into you and your families daily lifestyle is a great way to ensure heightened levels of health. The ease with which one can made kvass, and the non necessity of a starter can make it a perfect staple ferment for your kitchen.