Salty Beet Smoothie(2) Comments / August 28, 2014
A quick peek at my book Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen, in all of its crimson purple glory, reveals me to be beet lover. This deep and immensely photogenic root takes to pickling beautifully, and brewing the salty beverage beet kvass is my favorite way to bring out the essence of the root.
Late summer and fall, when beets are hefty and plentiful and the days are hot but a cool evening breeze gives a subtle foreshadowing of fall, is when I start to make kvass. Kvass’s refreshing yet earthy and grounding nature bridges the seasons, quenching my thirst while quietly paving the ground for the cold weather ahead. Kvass making continues through the winter until the last of the storage beets are used up.
Kvass is a straightforward ferment: Just cut up beets, toss them into a jar, add water, salt, and a starter such as pickle juice (see Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen for a thorough discussion on starters and beet kvass), and you’re on your way. This kvass-based beverage expands the smoothie concept by combining the salty, tangy, and decidedly not sweet flavors of beet fermentation with the standard smoothie yogurt base, providing a double dose of culture and a beverage experience unlike anything you’ll find at the juice joint down the street!
- 2 large beets, scrubbed but not peeled
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) lactofermented pickle juice or other starter culture (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l) filtered water
- For each smoothie :
- 1 cup (120 ml) beet kvass
- 1 cup (120 ml) whole milk plain yogurt
- Quarter and slice the beets 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Toss them into a 2-quart (2-l) glass jar, add the starter, if using, the salt, and water, and cover tightly with a lid.
- Place on a pie plate or rimmed plate to catch any potential leakage or bubbling over when you open the lid, cover with a dish towel, and set aside in a cool spot away from sunlight for 5 to 7 days, until tangy to your liking.
- Cover and refrigerate (when you get to the bottom of the jar, snack on the fortified beets, toss them into salad, or include them in dishes as you like).
- To make individual smoothies, in a jar or glass, combine the 1 cup (120 ml) beet kvass with the 1 cup (120 ml) yogurt and cover and shake or whisk to combine. Serve over ice if you like.