Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

...but if you try, sometimes you get what you need. In all of my posts that use songs or song references as titles, I don't think that I have ever used a Rolling Stones song. It seemed about time and You Can't Always Get What You Want seemed the perfect one for this post. When I got the whey from Deerfield Farm last Wednesday, I was all excited to try my hand at making beet kvass. When I went to the grocery store on Thursday, I was fully intending to buy some beets for the same purpose. No luck - I couldn't get what I wanted. But I tried again today, and I got what I needed! So today, I started the kvass-making process.

Sally Fallon provides a recipe for beet kvass in her book, Nourishing Traditions. It is as follows:
  • 3 medium or 2 large beets, peeled and chopped up coarsely (I cubed them)
  • 1/4 cup whey
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • Filtered water
Add all of the ingredients to a 2 quart container (I used two 1 quart mason jars). Add filtered water to fill the container, stir well, and cover securely. Leave the container(s) at room temperature for two days before transferring to the refrigerator.
That's it!

I gathered all of the ingredients and got ready to put it all together. For a little variety, I added a couple of baby carrots and a celery stalk to the recipe. As I don't have a larger jar to use (other than a plastic container that I don't want to use as the beet juice might permanently stain it), I am using two of my 1-quart mason jars. The 1/2 gallon container to the right of center of the picture is the whey.

I cubed the beets, carrots, and celery (though the celery obviously didn't result in cube shaped pieces!). It is not recommended to shred them as that would produce too much juice and the fermentation would happen too fast. This would result in more alcohol and less lactic acid. It is the lactic acid that we are after, here.

I divided the vegetables equally into my two mason jars to which I had already added 1/8 cup of whey (half of the called for quantity in each jar) and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. From feedback that I have read, following the recipe as written results in a too-salty drink. Rather than using the full tablespoon of salt, I used only the two teaspoons. I am hoping that adding the carrots and celery might produce a somewhat sweeter tasting kvass.

Finally, I added the filtered water to the jars and screwed on the lids. The jars are currently sitting on the kitchen counter (right next to my most recent batch of kefir!) where they will remain for the next 48 hours.

According to Sally Fallon, after most of the liquid has been consumed, I can simply top off the jars with more filtered water to make a second, slightly weaker batch. So, at a cost of $2.49 for the beets I will have about a gallon of kvass when all is done. This is considerably more affordable than buying bottled beet kvass at retail!

While I was in the 'creating' mode, I decided to be experimental with my smoothie for dinner. I used my standard 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (Trader Joe's Very Cherry Berry Blend) as a starter. To this, I added whey, kefir, some milk and raw honey, and a couple of prunes. For the experiment, I added a celery stalk! I wasn't sure if my blender would do a decent job of turning celery into a puree, but it worked. I was really surprised at how good it tasted. The celery was evident but not overpowering. Adding it is going to be a regular thing.

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