Fermented Beet Juice. Recipe from Body Ecology.

Fermented Beet Juice. Recipe from Body Ecology.

Fermented beets are packed with beneficial bacteria that help promote digestion and good gut health. Fermentation also helps reduce levels of antinutrients, such as phytates and oxalates, found in many vegetables. By reducing or eliminating phytates, we can better absorb important minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc.

You can ferment fresh beets, and you can also ferment their juice. Fermented beet juice, commonly known as kvass, is traditionally enjoyed as a non-alcoholic fermented drink in Ukraine and Russia.

If you’re avoiding alcohol, fermented beet juice is a delicious alternative, so serve it in a pretty wine glass. You can also use kvass as a cocktail mixer, and you can cook with it, using it like cooking vinegar, adding it to salad dressings, or mixing it into soups like borscht. (But, cooking with kvass at a higher temperature destroys the wonderful diversity of beneficial microbes, so add it after the soup has cooled.)

And, a straight shot of fermented beet juice is a great daily tonic! Just like beets, beet juice has a delightful, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. When fermented properly, beet juice is also a little salty and sour and packed with probiotic goodness.

Beets are very sweet, so be sure to ferment the juice long enough so that it becomes sour, indicating that the sugar has been mostly consumed by the beneficial microbes. As a brand-new study found, calcium, iron, and zinc can significantly increase — allowing for better bioavailability and higher mineral uptake — with fermentation.

How to make fermented beet juice: It’s easier than you think

Beet kvass is very easy and affordable to make at home and can be ready in just a few days or a week, depending on your preferred sourness. (It’s not ready to drink if it’s still sweet!) The process is very similar to making sauerkraut, kimchi, or traditional dill pickles and uses fermentation by Lactobacillus bacteria.

To make kvass:

1. Clean and trim the beets, keeping the skins on but scrubbing well.

2. Cube the beets to about a half-inch or smaller.

3. Place the beets in quart-size jars and sprinkle with salt (1 to 2 teaspoons per 12 ounces of beets).

4. Add slices of fresh ginger, lemon rind, orange rind, and spices (optional).

5. Combine one packet of our Body Ecology Culture Starter™ with enough water to cover the beets but with about an inch of headspace in the jar.

6. Cover the jar and leave at room temperature but out of direct light.

7. Put a plate or bowl under the jar to catch any brine that bubbles out.

Over the next two to three days, the Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria in the starter and the bacteria naturally present on the beets will work their magic, eating the beet sugars to create a more acidic environment. This allows the beneficial bacteria to rapidly reproduce, leaving you with a delicious, probiotic-rich kvass after a few days to a few weeks.

Open the jar once a day to test the brine and release any gases given off during fermentation. If a skin has formed on the top, skim it off.

Once the beet brine is to your taste, strain and transfer the liquid to a new (sterile) jar and store this in the refrigerator to slow down further fermentation. You can add the beet kvass to a soup or smoothie. Or, throw everything into a blender at this stage and make a big batch of smooth and tasty — but thicker — fermented beet juice.

Pro tips to ferment beets or beet juice with a higher microbial content

Fresh beets bring their own friendly bacteria into the mix, so it’s not always necessary to add a starter culture to your beets.


  • To make sure your beets get a good start with a hardy strain of beneficial bacteria, you can use Body Ecology’s Cultured Vegetable Starter, which contains a very robust bacterium called Lactobacillus plantarum. Plantarum is a superstar among bacteria and encourages a greater variety and number of other microorganisms to grow.
  • It’s best when fermenting at home to use non-iodized salt that is free of anti-caking agents and to use distilled or filtered water, especially if your tap water is chlorinated.