If you’ve delved at all into the world of food fermentation, you’ve probably heard of beet kvass. For those of you who haven’t, it is an excellent liver tonic beverage and supportive of superb health in general. Drinking just a small amount every morning is one of the easiest ways to support your blood, digestion, gallbladder, liver, and more. However…even properly prepared (a lengthy anaerobic fermentation versus a 3-day fermentation in a mason jar as recommended in Nourishing Traditions), it still tastes strongly and unmistakably of beets.
Finding the available “anaerobic” fermenting lids too expensive and in some cases, not as effective as described, I bought a dozen Fido jars several months ago. For $37 dollars, I got a dozen jars for the price of one or two fancy airlock lids and despite using them at length for multiple ferments, have had nary an explosion but fabulous sauerkraut. So, in a fit of unbridled optimism despite having never liked my previous attempts at it, I made a half gallon of beet kvass loosely using this recipe from Divine Health, although I let it ferment for more like three weeks. There are a number of extremely interesting articles on long fermentation to be found at Nourishing Treasures and I highly recommend reading them.
Long story short: I simply cannot stand the taste of beet kvass regardless of how it’s prepared. I managed to choke down about 2 ounces one morning but haven’t brought myself to repeat the experience. Diluting it with juice, using it in a Virgin Mary…nope. Tired of the many bottles taking up space in my fridge, and still wanting to reap its health benefits, I experimented with this in the hopes of actually using some of that gorgeous ruby red liquid. Success! Not only can I enjoy it, but my kids ate it down eagerly. They’ve tried and enjoyed many things that the majority of other kids haven’t, but drinking straight up beet kvass wouldn’t happen in a month of Sundays. I told my seven year old I was experimenting with a secret ingredient, but didn’t tell him what it was until after he’d tried the gelatin and said he really liked it. He could not believe that there was anything beety in it! He pronounced the experiment a 1000% success and asked for a second piece.
Be sure to heat it just enough to melt everything so you don’t kill the healthy bacteria in the kvass and the enzymes in the raw honey. If you accidentally do, it will still be nourishing–at the very least, you’re still getting all the goodness of gelatin–but not probiotic. If desired, you could try substituting a bag of chocolate chips (preferably soy- and GMO-free) for the cocoa powder and honey and whisking until they’re all melted.
Red Velvet (Beet Kvass) Chocolate Gelatin
1 can or 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
5 tablespoons gelatin (preferably grassfed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup raw honey (feel free to use less if you actually enjoy the taste of beet kvass)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups beet kvass (or fill up the empty coconut milk can)
Combine all ingredients except beet kvass in a medium saucepan and whisk over low heat just until blended and gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the beet kvass. Pour into an 8 x 8 or 11 x 7 pan and refrigerate about 1 hour or until set. Cut into squares and enjoy!
I could’ve done a better job of mixing in my cocoa powder–little bubbles are noticeable at the top but didn’t affect the texture at all–but between helping my oldest with his homeschooling software and wrangling the toddler, this was as good as it gets for the moment.