Traditionally lacto-fermented foods should be a part of every diet. They aid digestion and contain tons of vitamins and minerals that are easier for your body to absorb. Fermentation is like having millions of friendly bacteria pre-digest your food for you. Yum right!? The value of lacto-fermentation can not be overstated, it will heal your stomach and through your stomach aid your well-being.
Now there are lots of different ways to get your fix. Nourishing Traditions is our favorite resource for lacto-fermented recipes for dairy, veggies, fruits, salsas, condiments, and tonics. In our tacos post we covered pickled ginger carrots which we like to have on hand because they taste great with everything. Today we’re all about beets. We always seem to be able to find beets at the farmers’ market, no matter the season. They’re inexpensive and taste great roasted or in a braise but even better is what happens after you turn your back and let lacto-fermentation have its way with those beets. You end up with delicious and salty- feel it in the pit of your belly like a shot of scotch – beet kvass.
Beet kvass is a Ukranian tonic made, very simply, by combining chopped beets, sea salt, whey, and water in a jar and leaving it out on the counter to ferment. After a couple of days the kvass will take on the deep color of the beets. According to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions:
“This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”
And we couldn’t agree more. On more than one occasion, Dan has taken a 4 oz. shot of kvass before bed in order to stave off an awful full-body hangover.
Well in the spirit of Friday we’re going to share a little cocktail recipe with you. A cocktail is certainly not a preferable way to maximize the benefits of lacto-fermentation, but here at the General Store we like to get down and sometimes the party don’t stop till 6 in the mornin’ and by then you’ve run out of traditional mixers but lo, you have plenty of kvass laying around. Honestly, if it’s 6am and you’re still partying, things probably started getting creepy hours ago so what the hell?
We fermented two special batches of beet kvass for this recipe using tonic water in place of regular filtered water. We opted for Fentimans Tonic Water because they do not use corn syrup and naturally ferment their sodas and tonics with botanical extracts. We also tried the brand Q Tonic but the flavor and quality of ingredients in Fentimans won out by far. We love Fentimans sodas, particularly their Dandelion & Burdock.
Anyway, if you *really* want to reap the full benefits of beet kvass, don’t make the following:
Foodsmiths’ Gin & Juice
- 2oz. Gin
- 1oz. Saft* or concentrated fruit juice of choice
- 4oz. Beet kvass (made with tonic water)
- Lime wedges
Combine all liquids. Pour over ice. Squeeze in juice from a wedge of lime and garnish with lime.
*Saft is a Germanic word meaning juice. It often refers to a syrupy juice concentrate made from berries and is meant to be diluted. We make ours by juicing fresh berries and/or stone fruit in our Champion. We sometimes cook the fruit in a pot over the stove before juicing to deepen the concentration. We made this drink with blackberry-plum saft, but feel free to experiment with flavors.
This post was contributed to Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Frugally Sustainable, Whole Food Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday and Friday Food Flicks.