Recipe: Nicola Galloway’s Beetroot & Blackcurrant Kvass Tonic

This easy-to-make fermented beverage is a great digestive aid and source of vitamin C.

Recipe: Nicola Galloway

This is a simple fermented tonic that doesn’t require a SCOBY. Instead, it uses cultured whey strained from natural yoghurt (see note below). Tart-tasting, it is full of naturally occurring probiotics. A small, 50-100ml glass provides a digestive boost and is a good way to start the day.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Fermentation time: 2 to 4 days


1 large beetroot, greens removed and peeled
1 litre cold water (filtered)
2 tablespoons cultured whey*
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup frozen blackcurrants


Chop the beetroot into 2cm chunks. Place in a 1½ litre glass jar, and add water, whey, salt and blackcurrants. Stir with a wooden spoon until the salt dissolves.
Cover with a cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.

Leave to ferment at room temperature for 2 days in summer and up to 4 days in winter. The kvass is ready when it has small bubbles visible around the surface and has a pleasant sweet-sour taste and smell. Strain into a clean jug, cover and store in the fridge. Consume within 1 week.
A second batch can be made with the same beetroot and berries. Simply top up with 1 litre of cold filtered water and leave on the bench for another 2 to 4 days.

Makes 1 litre

*Cultured whey is the opaque liquid that strains off natural, unsweetened yoghurt (cow, goat, sheep or coconut). To strain whey, line a sieve with a cheesecloth set over a bowl. Scoop in 1 to 2 cups yoghurt and gather the edges of the cheesecloth to cover. Leave for 2 to 3 hours for the whey to strain into the bowl while the yoghurt thickens. Keep cultured whey in a glass jar in the fridge and use within 4 weeks.

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