The Wonders of Beet Kvass

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yield: 1 quart
adapted from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions

One 4-ounce glass of beet kvass morning and night serves as an excellent blood tonic, digestive regulator, blood alkalizer, liver cleanser and overall healing tonic. In general, it keeps things moving! Remember, this is a detox tool, not a sugary beverage! The taste is acquired, and we find it most palatable when served cold. And if you’re heading to a party tonight, avoid purple hands by wearing rubber gloves when peeling beets!

2 medium or 1 large organic beet
1 quart-sized mason jar *
2 tbsp whey
1 tsp sea salt
filtered water

Peel the beets and chop into 1″ chunks. Place beets in the bottom of the clean mason jar. To the jar, add 1 tsp sea salt and 2 tbsp whey. Fill the jar with water up to 1″ below the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake well. Place the jar at room temperature for 2 days without drinking before transferring to the refrigerator for use. (See Note.) Drain off the liquid, leaving the beets in the bottom of the mason jar, and enjoy as a tonic drink.

When all the liquid has been drunk, the cycle may be repeated one time by adding the same amount of whey and sea salt to the jar that now contains only beets. Re-fill the jar with water up to 1″ below the top of the jar. Leave at room temperature for another two days without drinking before transferring to the refrigerator for use.

When the liquid has been drunk, discard the beets and start fresh.

* This recipe may easily be doubled, and when doubling, we prefer to use two one-quart mason jars (rather than one two-quart jar) in order to allow the jars to be rotated. When one jar is finished, begin the second round of fermentation with that jar while consuming the second jar.

Note –
Although it may be consumed right away, allowing the Beet Kvass to sit untouched in the refrigerator for 1 week or more will deepen the color and flavor, while also thickening the texture.


  • Nicole

    Hello! I’m so glad to have found your blog, it’s just beautiful! I love your photography.

    I was wondering how many times you can use the beets?

    March 14, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Two batches, then I start fresh! Thanks for the kind words! I will pass on the note about photography to my husband.

      March 15, 2011
  • Frances

    Will there be traces of alcohol in it? I’d love to make for my mom but she does not drink. Thanks.

    March 15, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      I do not taste any alcohol in this drink, unlike kombucha and the like. But, I am not the authority on fermented drinks. For someone who is really sensitive, I would confirm this answer with someone else. Possibly Sandor Katz of the book Wild Fermentation? Looks like you can submit a question to him here:

      March 15, 2011
  • Hi Molly,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have tried making Beet Kvass before, but I don’t think it worked. The resulting kvass tasted very salty. Can you describe how it should taste when finished?

    I live in a pretty cold old house, and we’ve had very cool weather of late, so I’m not sure the kvass ever got up to sufficient “room temperature” to ferment properly. Any advice?

    March 17, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      The taste is salty, but I do cut back on the salt just slightly in this recipe. It still ferments, and I haven’t had any problems with spoilage, but it doesn’t leave me feel like I am drinking sea water! As for keeping it at room temperature, if you happen to own a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, you can set the temperature to the lowest setting and set it inside of there. Or, I a friend sets her ferments on top of a lizard heating pad from pet shops! Never done that myself, but very clever… hope that helps!

      March 17, 2011
  • Janis

    Hey Molly,

    Just wondering if this is supposed to taste fizzy or flat? I’ve made this a couple of times and just can’t tell whether it’s fermented or not. I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste. Mine tastes flat and maybe a little too salty for my taste. Think I will reduce the salt next time too.


    Your site is getting beautifuller and beautifuller. Great job!

    April 14, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Janis – I find Beet Kvass to always be flat. Most of the time I make my kvass, I leave it in the fridge for a couple weeks after its 3 or so days of fermenting on the counter. It gives the drink a deep red color and flavor that I like. However, it still is not very fizzy at all, mostly flat. Nothing at all like kombucha. It is a salty drink, but I have already cut back from the NT recipe, so I don’t know how much more you can cut back while still maintaining the integrity of the drink. Let me know what works for you! I’d love to hear… Warmly – Molly

      April 17, 2011
  • Janis

    My kvass was 2 weeks old yesterday. I just tasted it. The flavor has mellowed, the color is a gorgeous red, and it doesn’t taste as salty. I think it takes a little while for this drink to mature. I am liking it and so glad I’ve finally succeeded with help from your recipe. Thanks!

    April 18, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Oh, good Janis! I agree about the mellowing. I need to add that to the recipe. It really does make all the difference. It goes from salt-watery to having its own bold flavor.

      April 22, 2011
  • Sonia

    Hello Molly. What a beautiful site. I’ll try your recipes!
    I just made a batch of beet kvass, and after reading comments online, I left it out longer than the 2 days recommendation, because it’s been chilly in France lately. The chunks of beet have gradually whitened and come up to the surface (it’s been beautiful to watch), and since I’ve also seen pictures online of beet kvass pots with the beets all floating, I figured I had to wait until that point.
    It’s the first time for me, do you think 5 days outside is too long?
    Can’t wait to taste it…

    May 26, 2011
  • Beth

    I tried the NT recipe for beet kvass and it was way too salty for me, which is saying a lot as I love salt. I really want to like this drink so I’m going to try it again using your reduced salt version.

    August 28, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Hope you like it with the reduced salt. I find it a nice balance of salty, but not overly.

      September 14, 2011
  • CateK

    I love to take some freshly squeezed orange juice and add 1/4 cup of Kvass. I’ve also added Kvass to organic apple cider and to smoothies.

    November 22, 2011
  • diane nestor

    Just made my first batch today. I used a 2 and a half quart (which I didn’t realize at the time) I measured in 2 quarts of water. Will that be okay since it doesn’t reach up to the lid?

    I’m thinking maybe there’s too much room and it won’t ferment? Thanks in advance.

    January 24, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Should be just fine Diane. The extra space shouldn’t cause you any problem.

      January 24, 2012
  • Sereena

    I made my first batch of Kvass a few days ago, but for some reason, I have a type of mould growing on the top. I’m not game to drink it to be honest. I have no idea what I’ve done wrong. Any ideas?

    May 3, 2012
    • Jennifer

      That “mold” you saw growing… is it like a whitish film on the surface of the kvass? If so, that is not a problem. And even if you see a little blob of mold forming around the rim of the jar, just wipe it off. As for that whitish film, I just try to skim it off. As far as I know, it’s harmless, and I certainly haven’t gotten sick, nor has my husband, and we’ve been drinking it everyday for weeks now.

      May 25, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      You just went a day or so long. Was it hot in your room? Some people say to scoop it off and drink it. I have done it, but I do prefer not to have the mold develop.

      July 14, 2012
  • Molly thanks so much for this article. Having cut way down on salt(I only use it for fermenting and sausages) on the Paleo Diet I was a bit worried when I popped open my first ever batch of Kvass and it tasted like brine.

    I did a search on this and went to a couple of sites looking to see what this was supposed to taste like and found nothing conclusive until I came across your blog.

    Your article was super informative and answered all my questions, especially after I read the comments. Now I know to let it sit a bit longer which is great news. I was excited about the healthy benefits of Kvass and prepared for the overwhelming beet flavor(not a big fan but health is health right?) but not at all prepared to gag down what to me, tasted like drowning in the ocean.

    Thanks for actively answering comments on your page too.


    May 18, 2012
  • Jennifer

    I had tried beet kvass according to Sally Fallon’s recipe without success. Then I tried making it by adding some homemade kombucha to get it fermenting. What a difference! It began showing bubbles withing 24 hours. I now make it regularly, adding sliced fresh ginger, a coarsely chopped lemon or two , 2 T. coarse sea salt in a one-gallon jar along with a 1/2 cup of the beet kvass from the previous batch to get it going. Wonderful and very easy.

    May 25, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      WOW! Great idea Jennifer – thanks! I’ve started using a little Kombucha in my soaking water for grains, which I like, but I never thought to do it in kvass!

      July 14, 2012
  • Lynn D

    was just thinking of how to make sauer kraut and
    wondered if could use the beet kvass recipe for it?
    Also can I use the yogurt starter in place of whey since used that up last week with the goat yogurt?
    Lynn D

    June 3, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Not sure what you mean by making sauerkraut with the beet kvass recipe? I bet you could use the yogurt starter, but I’ve never tried it! A Vegetable Starter Culture would work.

      July 14, 2012
  • David Holman

    I’m going to make my first jar of Beet Kvass but I’m concerned about what kind of water to use. Tap water is out because of the fluoride and chlorine (or chloride). But I haven’t found any information on bottled water to assure me they aren’t likewise treated with that stuff. Any suggestions? Do you know of a brand of bottled water that’s nothing more than just pure water? Thank you.

    July 19, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Hmmm… I don’t know very much about bottled water. I use a water filtration system by this company: at my house. We also have a PurHome water filter on our whole house. I have seen bottled water by Mountain Valley Spring Water that comes in Glass Bottles. I usually buy those when out on the road – Hope that helps!

      October 16, 2012
  • Hi there, I used normal water not filtered water ??? is it still okay !?

    Also it tastes fizzy salty tangy, but it has a tiny bit of that taste thas like juice gone bad. like really tangy.

    July 31, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Rhianna – I like to use filtered water b/c the chlorine can supposedly mess with the proliferation of good bacteria. But, it sounds like it worked for you! fizzy salty tangy sounds right. But, if it tastes alcoholic, you may have just left it out a day too long. Tang is good. Alcoholic means too long fermenting. Hope that helps!

      October 16, 2012
  • Jessica

    First time making beet kvass, am I supposed to strain the liquid from the beets before cold storage? I’ve had my jar in the fridge(with beets) for about two weeks and found my kvass to have a slimy/mucous texture. Did something go wrong? I’ve never tried kvass before and am unsure what it should be like.

    November 16, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      Jessica – No… you can keep the beets in the liquid. Not sure about the slime, but my mom recently told me that something similar happened to her. She drank it anyway and seemed to like the bit of thickness. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

      December 22, 2012
    • Judy

      I make the kvass regularly and currently have a jar in my fridge that’s exactly like that: thick. I would liken it to a syrupy balsamic vinegar. It smells and it looks normal. The only thing I did differently was left the beets in the jar while in the fridge after it was done longer than usual but i’ve done that before and this didn’t happen

      February 4, 2014
  • rye

    I have made kvass for years.To get it extra fizzy, just increase the fermentation time. sometimes I leave it out for a week or more. I have had it overflow with fizz when opened. I have also used yogurt for an inoculate when I have not had time to strain whey. Just scoop 1/8 of a cup into a quart will disappear and kvass will be bright red and not cloudy or pink. Using kombucha is a great idea too!

    November 20, 2012
  • James Stokes

    Thanks for the info I like how it is so simply put on how the process of creating Kvass is done. Also compliments on your still image of the Kvass. Very tastefully done!

    November 27, 2012
  • Bruce Winter

    Hi Molly. At last, a solution to my problem. Like Sonia in France, this house in an alpine rainforest in Hawaii is always cool so fermentation is slow or dosen’t happen at all. I’ve never heard of a lizadt heat mat but it sounds like just what I need. The few times the kvass became spritzy it was wonderful but now in winter it never happens. Thanks for the tip!

    December 21, 2012
  • Al Rose

    I do love my kvass and I also like to experiment. NT says to discard the beets after 2 batches of kvass. I have tried for more by letting subsequent batches sit longer.

    first batch: 2 days
    second batch: 3 days
    third batch: 4 days
    fourth batch: 1 week
    fifth batch: 2 weeks

    I also add a little salt and whey with each batch.

    Each batch is only slightly weaker than the preceding one. All my kvass seems to get a little stronger and less salty with more time in the refridgerator. I have had some over 2 months in the refridgerator and still tastes very good. No alcohol nor salty taste. I have no idea how long it will last without going bad but I will find out.

    January 7, 2013
  • anna

    Strange I don’t see this on any websites – you can use a probiotic capsule instead of whey as a starter. I use this for kraut as well. It ferments alot faster when you use a starter, and molding has only happened on one jar of kraut at the top where the cabbage was not submerged in the liquid (I was sloppy).

    The flavor will change depending on the type of bacteria in your probiotic capsule. Just wanted to mention for those who are in a hurry, or can’t find the means to get whey. This is definitely better than fermenting without a starter, or paying out the nose for body ecology or other one time use starters.


    January 25, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      Great suggestion!

      July 4, 2013
  • hotspring

    I’ve recently been trading web design for ferments from an amazing fermenter. He brought me sauerkraut and beet kvass for our first trade. I had never had beet kvass before, but was impressed that he arrived with it on the day my midwife urged me to get more iron in my diet. It is a beautiful red and salty, which I don’t mind. I had just purchased some raw milk from a nearby farm and we were drinking this milk with maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It occured to us to put some of the beet kvass into this mixture. Sounds strange but it was absolutely delicious! Tasted like a strawberry smoothie, believe it or not, and turned a lovely magenta pink. Experimentation is where its at. This has become our new favorite drink in our household.

    February 8, 2013
  • Sandy

    I just made my first batch of beet kvass this afternoon. I have been making sauerkraut and pickled vegetables for a bit. My question is about sealing the covers. NT says cover tightly but I find it doesn’t seem to ferment as well as a loose cover. One batch of pickled beets that was sealed just about burst all over the place.

    March 10, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      I do use a loose cover most of the time. I’m still experimenting with which I like.

      July 4, 2013
  • DanaD

    Regarding your 12/22/12 reply about slimy beets, I made my first batch of beet kvass this May, and it tasted too salty at first, but then after another couple days outside the fridge, it tasted delicious. But once I got toward the bottom of the 2 quart jar, it was really thick and slimy, and I couldn’t stomach it. Any ideas? I think I’ll put those beets in the compost and start with some fresh ones.

    June 1, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      It does get thick, then slimy, and not every batch. Still haven’t figured out the pattern totally. Jump in to comment, if someone has! I find when it gets too slimy, I don’t like it, but a little thickness is still palatable.

      July 4, 2013
  • Elian

    Greetings from France, I was kind of wondering, does organic lactic fermented beet juice (as the one commercialized here in Europe by German companies like Beutelsbacher and Voelkel) have abiut the same health properties as beet kvass? I’m asking you this because sadly enough i never came across beet kvass on our health food store shelves.

    July 5, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      I would think it might. Don’t know unless I saw it/tried it, but it sounds like it!

      July 18, 2013
  • Laurie

    I was wondering if the recipie calls for cooked beets or raw beets.

    July 15, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      Raw, Laurie.

      July 18, 2013
  • Carrie

    Hi my name is Carrie and this is my first time to ever hear of this. Is using this as a detox significantly better for you than apple cider vinegar + cranberry juice +lemon juice concoction? I’m learning :)

    July 15, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      Not better. Just another tool for your toolbox! :)

      July 18, 2013
  • Carolyn Gordon

    I actually ferment beets for the yummy crunchy beets, the kvass is a bonus after eating the beets.actually do about 5 gallons each year

    July 15, 2013
  • Bruce

    I’m wondering if anyone has used a food processor to chop beets for kvaas.

    July 19, 2013
    • I know the recipe in NT says not to use a food processor as the extra beet juice produced will create more of an alcohol-like product rather than just fermenting as it should.

      But I’m just on my first batch of beet kvass myself..I just chopped coarsely like NT said. It makes a bit of a mess but not really so bad.

      August 29, 2013
  • I am still waiting for my kvass to taste “fermented.” It just tastes like beet juice with salt. It is not quite 48 hours old so I’m just going to leave it out and check it periodically until I like it. My kombucha is “in the works,” but I didn’t use a mushroom so I hope it turns out. It isn’t showing any signs of fizzing. I bought a starter culture from the health food store, but I think maybe the tea was still too warm when I put the culture in. Perhaps I killed it. ? It is only 4 days old.

    August 18, 2013
  • Katie

    I just tried making my first batch of kvass. I did not have sea salt on hand, but instead used an earth salt (I purchased it in bulk and the label said “true salt”). Its kind of pinkish with some dark specs. Is this ok? Or does it need to be sea salt? The final product has a mild salty flavor, but no sour taste. I don’t have anything else to compare it to really. Thoughts?

    August 23, 2013
  • carol

    does anyone know why my beet kavass is so thick and slimy? it becomes so thick its like mucus. cant even drink it.
    i have been making kavass for a few years now with no problem but the past few months it keeps coming out so thick. i tried different jars and different rooms in my home ( to rule out bacteria or environmental factors) but its just no use. i just started some 1 1/2 days ago and its so thick its like mucus.
    does anyone know what im doing wrong?
    thanks carol

    February 17, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      That happens to me sometimes, too. I haven’t quite sorted out why? I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts, too!

      February 17, 2014
    • Hannah

      I’ve had the same problem. My last batch of kvass was to thick, when I poured it down the drain, it didn’t go. I had to turn on the garbage disposal. No idea why my last few batches have been that way. I’ve made kvass for years without this problem.

      Any ideas?

      March 23, 2015
      • Molly Chester

        I find that it happens occasionally with the use of whey, and I haven’t figured out the when/why, yet. However, there are other techniques with just salt and beets. I do not have that problem with that technique. Give it a google, if it is of interest!

        March 31, 2015
  • Steve K

    Can you leave the beets in the Kvass after it tastes good to you ? And also, if you leave water out overnight in a wide pot, the chlorine will evaporate and water is then fine!

    February 19, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Cool tip about the chlorine! :) And, yes, you can leave the beets in there as long as you want. Sometimes slime is an issue for Kvass, and I don’t totally know the reasons for when it gets slimy, but removing the beets would probably cut down on that possibility, but if you aren’t dealing with that, no biggie!

      February 22, 2014
  • Could I use yogurt starter for Beet Kvass??? So far, I’ve made 2 batches..on the second, I forgot to add salt! but it’s delicious…I strain whole milk plain yogurt for my whey..(I make the yogurt in my dehydrator).I also like the comment about using a probiotic capsule….since I have these in the fridge, I might try that recipe too!..

    May 12, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      I have never tried a yogurt culture… so I’m not sure! Salt is pretty important, so I am surprised it didn’t mold. But, I like your experimental spirit! You can make Beet Kvass without any culture at all, just salt. It simply takes longer to culture (a couple weeks). But, I really like it that way, too!

      May 23, 2014
  • […] The above paragraph was taken from here. […]

    May 12, 2014
  • Pamela

    Can I use any kind of beet to make Kvass? I got a Russian variety last week at the Farmers Market and was told it was a varigated white and red inside and sweeter?

    Thank you!

    July 10, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Yes, it should work.

      July 14, 2014

    hi I had a kidney out with cancer and would like to try this beet drink because of my blood pressure but im not supposed to have salt thankyou

    July 19, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Carol, Unfortunately, I have never made kvass without a good quality sea salt, so I am not sure of an alternative.

      July 21, 2014
  • jennifer heinz

    What do u mean when u say drain off the liquid? Thanks

    July 22, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      There will be chopped beets in the bottom of the jar that you will not want to pour into your glass.

      July 24, 2014
  • Althea

    I just made grape kvass using

    1 quart concord grapes (mash them a bit)
    1 1/2 t Celtic Sea salt
    1/4 cup whey (drained off yogurt)
    2 quart distilled water

    Ferment 2 days at room temperature. It is pleasantly tart and salty. Yummy and so easy! My friend Lois shared it from a book called “Wholesome Home Cooking; Preparing Nutrient-Dense Foods.” It is a recipe book put together by the Amish women of Lancaster County.

    October 4, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks for sharing! Sounds divine.

      December 11, 2014
  • MIchelle Gatto

    Hi Molly,
    This might be a dumb question…
    I dont do dairy, how does the whey breakdown…? Can dairy sensitive folks drink Kvass…? ALso, what are the best known benifits of Kvass, in your opinion…
    MANY Thanks!

    November 16, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      You can make kvass with sea salt only; it will just take a lot longer to ferment. I have actually switched to the salt only approach myself, because I like the flavor. As for Kvass benefits, it gives me a little jolt of energy in the AM, which I like! I don’t have a salt only recipe on the blog, just give it a google, as I am sure one is out there!

      December 11, 2014
  • Sherry

    After I make a batch of beet kvass, how long can I store the beets and some of the beet kvass for my 2nd batch? And should I store it in the refrigerator?

    November 30, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      I’m not sure if I completely understand the question. As long as the beets are covered in kvass, they will last several months in the fridge. When making a second batch, leave it sit out on the counter for a couple days to ferment, but otherwise, in both instances, you would store it in the fridge.

      December 11, 2014
  • Ummbinat

    I have made sea salt only beet kvass by using Holistic Squid’s recipe. Two jars and they came out differently. This is just some information for the previous comments/questions. For Both jars I used organic beets cut about the same size. I think I may have not used enough salt in the one that produced lots of foamy white stuff which became slimy. It also had an alcohol flavour to it which didn’t occur with the other jar which I believe had more salt added originally.

    December 31, 2014
  • a

    I make sauerkraut with no starter, as cabbage is covered in lactobacillus naturally. A shot of sauerkraut juice always makes a good starter for any lacto veg ferment as yogurt and whey use a different strain of lacto bacteria and this may be the cause of the slime problem.
    hommebrew stores sell heating pads which will work fine.
    lactobacillus fermentation doesn’t produce alcohol, only yeast (cerevisiae) will do that. Rye bread kvass is a mildly alcoholic yeast fermentation.
    You only need to start your beet kvass one time then backslop some of the liquid into each new batch. You can use it for ginger ale too. Normally beet kvass is fermented for seven to ten days before refrigerator and should be effervescent.

    July 27, 2015
  • Carol

    I have my first batch of kvass in the refrigerator. I made mine in a 2qt jar with a brine made of 19 grams of Himalayan pink salt per quart of filtered water. I use a Berky to filter the water. We are on a well in Alaska so don’t have to worry about chlorine. I left my jar in a cupboard for about 6 weeks with a lid on it. I added thin slices of ginger at the start of the ferment. After the 6 weeks I added the juice of an orange and put it back in the cupboard. I was supposed to put it in the refrigerator after 24 hours but forgot about it for a week. Last night I strained the kvass into bottles. Now I will start a new batch with the same beets. The kvass tastes fine to me, although I’ve never had it before so I can’t compare. I didn’t get any foam, fizz, mold, yeast or scary looking thing. No slime.
    Maybe a few bubbles. The cupboard is in our walk-in pantry which may be a little cooler than the rest of the house, but I bee kombucha in the pantry with no problem. I don’t know if a second batch will work but I’ll give it a try. Then I’m going to eat the beets if they don’t go bad on me!

    August 16, 2015
    • Molly Chester

      I am impressed! Sounds amazing!

      October 7, 2015

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