Orange Ginger Beet Kvass, Revised

Why am I posting this recipe again?  Well because I’m still learning so much about lactofermentation (despite my 10 or so years of experience) and I’ve learned some new things about beet kvass.  Evidently I’ve been doing it all wrong.  Not to say the way I was doing it before was wrong necessarily but I’ve learned a better way.  Lisa from Lisa’s Counter Culture taught me a great way to make beet kvass.  You can read about her method (along with a bunch of other great recipes) in her new book, Lisa’s Counter Culture.

Before using this method, I simply tolerated beet kvass because I knew it was good for me.  Now I crave it!

First off, leave out the whey!   That step alone will take you kvass from yuck to yum.

Secondly, use a 2% brine for the perfect amount of salt.  That’s 19 gms of salt per quart of water.  I’m using weight measurements because salts vary from brand to brand.  A courser grained salt might weigh significantly less than a fine grain salt.  Use a scale to avoid over or under salting.

Lastly, leave it out for a looooong time.  I’m talking 3-6 weeks on the counter.  I do my kvass now by the gallon to get me through the 3 weeks it takes to make.  When you take your first taste, it shouldn’t taste too salty.  If it does, leave it out longer.

Orange Ginger Beet Kvass

  • beets, scrubbed and very roughly chopped, enough to fill your jar about 1/2 full
  • 2″ knob of ginger, sliced thin
  • 2% brine (19 gms of salt per quart of water)
  • 1 organic orange, juiced and zested (for the second ferment)

Place your roughly chopped beets in a 4L Pickl-it jar with the ginger.  Cover with 2% brine to the shoulder of the jar.  Fill your airlock and seal the jar.

Place in a dark location and for extra measure, cover with a towel.  Now forget about it for 3 weeks.

Taste test the kvass.  It shouldn’t taste too salty and should taste pleasant.  If not, leave it out longer.

If you notice a foam or film on the top, you can pop it open quickly and skim that off.  Don’t worry, it’s not mold but it might affect the flavor.  Seal it back up and forget about it again.

After the 3 weeks is up, it’s time for the second ferment.   Add your orange zest and juice and leave for another 2-4 days.

Now you can refrigerate your kvass in a flip top bottle and enjoy.


Lisa’s Counter Culture: Pickles and Other Well Bred Food

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49 comments to Orange Ginger Beet Kvass, Revised

  • Deb

    How does it taste different?

  • I’m going to try this with my huge crop of SIX golden beets. 🙂 I have crystallized and powdered ginger. Can I use one of these instead? What does kvass taste like and is it alcoholic? Thanks!

  • […] uses her bounty of chili peppers in this post, Pepper Mash and Chili Sauce. She also revamped her Orange Ginger Beet Kvass recipe. If you’ve tried making kvass and couldn’t stand it, this method might make you […]

  • Luciana Jasman

    your 2nd fermentation, do you remove the beets and ferment the liquid + orange juice and zest; or
    do you ferment in the same jar with the beets ?


  • Amy

    I know this recipe would be great, had I done it right, a google search pulled up your old post. So I’ve added my beets salt ginger and orange into my pickle it. I scrolled through the recipe to double check the number of days to let it ferment and see your comment telling someone NOT to use the old recipe. Bummer!!! Actually thinking about it, I will strain and rinse my beets and start over. So not all is lost. Guess we are good!

  • […] **Recipe has been updated!  This new version tastes even better Orange Ginger Beet Kvass, Revised** […]

  • Do I have to use a special jar? Can you give directions with out it please?

    • Hi Barb, I do highly recommend people use an anaerobic jar but I realize that is not always possible (Pickl-it has been very slow to ship recently too). The second best option is to use a wire bale jar like a Fido (the lid locks down with a gasket). If you do that, I would suggest opening it just slightly every day to relieve the pressure. If you don’t have a wire bale jar, you can use a mason jar with the lid on as tightly as you can. The end result won’t be as good or as rich in probiotics but I do think it’s better than nothing. Again, relieve the pressure daily if you choose this method.

      • Val

        Hi Melaine, I know this post is from a long time ago. I make kvass a similiar way (mmeaing brine ratio, ferment time, but have not tried the second ferment – which I am going to do in todays batch). I have long used a wide mouth mason jar, I make 1/2 gallon at time. I found a tapered glass ramikin which fits perfectly the in mouth of the jar. It allows the gases to escape because the pressure can push past the ramikin but nothing can fall in. I have made beet kvass successfully this way for many many years. I hope you discovered a method that works for you and that you are enjoying your kvass!

      • Val

        Hi Melanie! I meant that post a reply to Barbs, post! sorry about that.

        i did have a question for you though, do you think the probiotic content would differ using my method with the ramikin? I am always in a quest to learn more about fermentation, can you explain to me the reason if you use antying but an airlock seal the end result “won’t be as good or as rich in probiotics but … it’s better than nothing”? I am so curious, a bit dismayed as I have used this method for many ferments over the years 🙁

        Thanks! Valerie

    • I am using a Pickle Pro from Homesteader’s Supply. They go right on a regular wide mouth mason jar. I’m making kvass in it right now (thanks to this blog!) and I have used it successfully for kraut and pickles and fermented carrots.

  • Lisa

    Is it OK to add the orange juice and zest to the first batch? Also, I added ground cloves to mine and it helped the flavor, is there any problem with adding the cloves while fermenting, would you recommend whole or ground?

    • I would hold off adding the orange juice but the zest would be fine to add. The juice would add more sugar which can make the ferment turn to alcohol. Also, with as long as kvass takes, the juice would lose all it’s sweetness. I believe cloves would be fine to add to the first ferment too. I would do whole cloves since ground tends to float and can harbor mold.

      • Lisa

        Thanks so much for your quick reply! Two more quick questions – the juice won’t turn the second ferment to alcohol because it ferments more quickly? would it taste the same if I add the OJ right before drinking?

  • Can’t wait to try this. Do you re-use those beets for a second batch or need to save any of the liquid? How long do you recommend it stay in cold storage or is it ready to drink right away? Thanks

    • Since I do a longer ferment, the beets are pretty spent by the end of the 3 weeks. I just eat them. Yum!
      You can drink it right away. It will last quite a few months in cold storage too, though I wouldn’t keep it too long. Once the food source is removed, the LAB’s will begin to die. Best to drink it up while it’s nice and rich.

  • Lenore

    I’m confused. I have Lisa’s book and it says leave it out for 7-9 days; not 3-6 weeks. I forgot about some and left it out for 10 days and it has brownish bubbles on top. I found your site (glad I did) because I was googling to see if that was OK–the brown color.

    • Hi Lenore,

      I don’t have the book in front of me right now but I do believe she recommends leaving it out longer if the beet kvass still tastes salty. I find 3 weeks is a minimum for me to get a good tasting kvass.
      The brown bubbles are ok. If you want you can scoop them off and keep going, that’s fine to do. It is fine to drink early if you would like. I just like the taste when it’s gone longer.

    • Sarah

      You might also make sure you’re using some sort of glass weight to keep the beets pushed under the brine. I forgot to use a weight with my first batch of Kvass, and I got brown bubbles, a brown scum line at the top as well as brown scum on the exposed beets. With my second attempt, I made sure to use a weight, and I had zero brown this time. I also filled the brine just a little higher in my anaerobic jar.

  • Kimberly

    How can you tell the difference between just the brownish bubbles and mold? I think mine may have gotten moldy, it’s been fermenting in a aerobic jar for 8 days now. I skimmed off the nasty looking stuff, but I’m not sure what it was! It was whitish and some was greyish and looked like mold! Yikes! Any suggestions?

    • Smell is a good indicator. Mold smells moldy 🙂 Did you mean anaerobic jar or is your jar not covered? Kahm yeast is something that seems to really like to grow on kvass too. It is completely harmless but can affect the taste. Kahm will look like a whitish film on top. If you google “images of kahm yeast” you can compare it to those pictures.

  • Kimberly

    I did mean aerobic jar, not aerobic. I made my own Pickle-it type jars and I’ve done other ferments in them and they’ve worked awesome with no issues. I think beets smell so earthy I have a hard time distinguishing it from mold! I skimmed off the the nasty looking stuff and it didn’t grow back after 2 weeks. The rest of it did look like kahm yeast. I’m going to take my chances I think. Thanks for the post and help!

  • Hi Melanie! This looks delicious. Is it okay to store ferments in mason jars, or are the flip-top bottles necessary? I have a pickl-it jar for fermenting because I read it’s important to keep it anaerobic, but I’m not sure how vital it is that the storage container is anaerobic as well. Thanks!

    • I think the storage period is probably the most important time to keep it sealed tightly. At least during active fermentation, the air pressure inside is higher than outside so oxygen is naturally pushed out. I do keep my kvass in either flip top bottles or Fido jars. If you don’t have them yet, be sure to put the lid on as tight as you can.

      • Shoot, I wish I didn’t have all these mason jars! I don’t know what to use them for now, since I originally bought them for ferments. Thanks for the information (:

  • Tracy

    Do you peel your beets? Thank you.

    • I’ve done it both ways with no problem. Since I haven’t noticed a difference in taste, I just scrub them well and leave the peel on.

      • Tracy

        Thank you, Melanie. I’ve learned so much from your site – the latest being all of the details as to what happens when sauerkraut is allowed to sit. Nature has its own wisdom and I didn’t realize that I was rushing it. I’m looking for the full-fledged expression of whatever it is that I’m doing.

        Your link to the Pickl it website finally helped me to use that kind of jar. I HAD an air lock jar that arrived without enough instructions for me – I gave the jar away! Oh well, live and learn. Thank you for sharing your learnings! Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Cygnia

    I am making my first wild fermentation batch per your instructions – this really looks like a winner of a recipe and I truly appreciate the longer fermentation time. 2 days with whey? Seems like a joke. Does it matter nutritionally whether its made with golden beets or the deep red beets? The former may have a much better flavor profile, but I don’t want to lose the benefits of the deep pigment.

  • Jess

    When you say to use a 2% brine for the perfect amount of salt. That’s 19 gms of salt per quart of water. – does that mean the literal amount of water you’ll be adding to the jar once the beets are already inside OR is it 2% of a pint, or quart, one whatever size jar you are using? Thanks so much.

  • Lisa

    Hi, in reply to just eating the beets after the kvass is done. We’ve sucked down this kvass recipe 😉 ! My kids love it! They eat a few beets with it hear and there but now the kvass is gone and jar full of beets. Should I add some 2% brine to keep them while we work thru eating them or should I consume them all right away? I love your recipes and I love these jars! They have made all the difference with my ferments! Thank you!

  • Kathie

    All other recipes for kvass I’ve read use cabbage as a base ingredient, too. I’m relatively new to fermenting and was just curious about the difference.

  • Dick

    Hi Melanie

    First time for making Kvass. At one week I skimmed the foam. It’s now three weeks time to taste test. Noticed an oily type film on top and one fingernail size piece of grayish black mold. I’m sure my airlock was working ok as I checked it every few days. It smells great. I have candida and was wondering if this small amount of film and what looked like mold is enough to toss and start over. Would appreciate your input.

    Thanks Dick

  • […] ik echter dat de wei die voor het recept gebruikt werd wel eens de oorzaak zou kunnen zijn. Ik vond op internet een recept zonder wei en maak nu voortaan mijn kvas op die manier en vind ‘m […]

  • It’s best to use organic beets and not peal them. That’s where a lot of the nutrients are. Also, don’t scrub the beets, just gently wash the dirt off. When wild fermenting, you want the good bacteria that is on the food left on to start the fermentation process. There is I need for a second ferment unless you want fiz. Lastly, I save up my vegetable scraps and make a kvass out of them. Sort. Of a V8 kvass 😉

  • Bobby d

    these aren’t traditional kvasses using the rye bread then?

  • […] cup hot water1 generous scoop butter1 generous scoop coconut oil2-3 Tbsp beet kvass (try this recipe)1 scoop vitamin C powder (I used Camu Camu berry but Acerola or Amalki powder will work)squeeze of […]

  • Bregt

    Hello Melanie , why did you change the recipe(so we don’t make the same mistakes) ? I’ve seen other tutorials which said to leave it for 2-3 days … what difference makes 3 days or 3 weeks for the end product ?

  • matt

    I can only afford mason jars right now. Should, I be opening the kids everyday? And still give it 3 week’s to ferment ? I read something about it on the blog. Please help, also I switched from pickling salt to Himalaya salt. Is that ok?

  • So I have a 2 gallon fermenting crock with a water seal and spigot made specially for kvass because I’m so in love. The problem is: all the conflicting info about fermentation and salt ratio. Even you have now gone from 3 weeks to 3 days. I think I may understand why, but want to run this by you. The vast majority of info says for a true ferment, container must be airtight. Right? And if using a starter culture, ( I use ‘gutshot’ a probiotic beet culture, or juice from ginger beet kraut), then you can back off the salt AND less time to complete the ferment. Sometimes it says you need enough salt to inhibit bad bacteria, but not so much as to inhibit good. A few times I’ve read adding ginger can help you to back off the salt as well. So if I want to do a batch in my 2 gallon crock, using starter culture and ginger, what amount of salt do I need and where do you come up with this number? Also, how long do I ferment? Is there a reason the oranges get added later? Does the fruit change the quality of your bacteria if added right out the gate? Someone should wright a book on this;)


  • Mary

    Hi Melanie, I make sauerkraut in a Harsch crock. Can I also use this crock successfully for the kvass or do I need a different anaerobic container?

    Thanks, Mary

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