Beets! Either you love ’em or hate ’em! Me, I think they are too valuable to ignore and they are our favorite go-to for severe poison ivy cases which we get because we love the outdoors and are seriously allergic to the weed.
Old World folk medicine values beets and beet kvass for their liver cleansing and immune boosting properties – beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe and making it is easy as anything!
Packed With Nutrients
The lowly red beet is absolutely loaded with nutrients. It is an excellent blood and liver cleanser, it alkalizes the blood, and aids the digestive tract with regularity. If you tend to be constipated, a 1/2 – 3/4 c. of cooked beets work gently and thoroughly!
Beet Kvass Seriously Works For Poison Ivy
We hate poison ivy and all get it very badly!
Late one summer, I’d just made a batch of beet kvass not knowing I would have a medical need for it almost immediately.
Our young boys were out on a hike in the woods with an ax and a machete. They found a huge old tree that was easy to climb way up into. Both boys chopped with their ax on a big vine “about as big around as my thigh, Mom”. They should have known better but thought it was wild grape vine.
Well, you know what happened, right?! The next day large fluid-filled tracks of blisters began to raise all over their bodies, especially hands, arms and faces. In their hair and in their ears! Knowing beets were a great blood cleanser and detoxifier (poison ivy is a poison!), they drank 2 cups each immediately and for several days until gone.
Amazingly, it dried up oozing, cracking, itchy poison ivy on our boy’s faces, ears, between fingers, and elsewhere sufficiently enough to compete in a big piano recital 4 days after drinking it. We couldn’t believe how fast it worked on their severe cases!
We have since found that just plain juice from salted cooked beets will do the same thing!
Just keep drinking several cups a day (in divided doses), and it will quickly halt the itch and seeping of poison ivy. It has kept it from spreading systemically, too, in our numerous experiences.
More Health Benefits of Beets & Beet Kvass:
1. Beets are God’s natural Viagra.
Seriously. One of the first known uses of beets was by the ancient Romans, who used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. And that’s not just urban legend – science backs it up. Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
2. Beets are particularly beneficial to women who are pregnant:
the vitamin B and iron are very beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body. They are particularly rich in Potassium, Magnesium, fiber, Phosphorus, Iron; Vitamins A, B & C; Beta-carotene, and Folate.
3. Natural healers
Beets heal acne, boils, and abscesses. Beets are also anti-cancer fighters, boost the immune system and so much more!
4. Increases athletic speed, stamina and power
One Dutch study found that athletes who drank beetroot juice used 19 percent less oxygen and performed for 17 percent longer. (source)
5. Beets Improves patients’ ability to exercise
Researchers found that, after drinking beetroot juice, participants experienced a 38 percent increase in blood flow to their skeletal muscles while exercising. Significantly, blood flow increased most to the fast-twitch muscles that are used for explosive running.
Beets With Love From Tolstoy’s Russia
The Weston A. Price Foundation states:
“It is recognized that kvass is safer to drink than water. Tolstoy describes how Russian soldiers took a ladle full of beet kvass before venturing from their barracks onto the Moscow streets during a cholera epidemic. Because kvass protects against infectious disease, there is no worry about sharing the glass.”
“But kvass was enjoyed by czars as well as by peasant. In wealthy households, various kinds of kvass were made either with rye bread or with currants, raspberries, lemons, apples, pears, cherries, bilberries and lingonberries. Peter the Great enjoyed splashing kvass on red-hot stones in the steam bath, to enhance the steam with the fragrance of fresh bread.”
“Kvass can also be made from beets.”
“The result is not so much epicurean as medicinal, although beet kvass is often added to borscht. No traditional Ukranian home was without its bottle of beet kvass.”
The secret is in the fermentation. Raw foodists understand the power of the fermentation of raw veggies.
The definition of fermentation is “to break down into simpler components”. Fermentation makes the foods easier to digest and the nutrients easier to absorb. Much of the work of digestion is done for you. Since there is no heat used, fermentation retains enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients that are usually destroyed by processing.
Making Beet Kvass
Kvass is quite simple to make, and with the beets from your garden or from the grocery, you will have a excellent immune-booster and blood cleanser.
Ingredients [makes 2 quarts]:
You will need a clean 2-quart glass container with lid or cap. Add:
- 2 large or 3 medium raw organic beets, tops removed, peeled
- 1/4 cup juice from your favorite fermented sauerkraut or kimchi recipe, Bubbies juice, or similar fermented vegetable (or you can use 1/4 cup liquid whey)
- 1 TBSP (that is 3 tsp.) unrefined sea salt and filtered water, mixed together.
- Use this salt water mixture to fill the 2-quart glass container to 2″ from top
Beet Kvass Directions:
1 ) Chop beets coarsely. Coarseness is important…too small, and it ferments too fast. It will turn to vinegar instead of lactic acid.
2.) Mix water and sea salt (to dissolve salt) and pour over the beets in the container.
3.) Add fermented sauerkraut or kimchi juice or whey (1/4 cup) to container. Cap it.
4.) Leave on the counter (out of the fridge) for 2 days, and gently shake several times.
5.) Refrigerate the kvass (with beets) and drink 3-4 oz./morning and night. For more tips, read the full photo recipe above.
6.) To make a second brew: Beet Kvass recipe from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, pg.610.
Place the beets, whey and salt in a glass 2 quart container. Fill rest of the way with filtered water. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator.
When most of the beet kvass has been drunk, you can make a second ferment by filling up the container (leaving the remaining beets) and keep at room temp for another 2 days. The second brew will be weaker than the first but is still effective at helping cleaning the blood.
Bottoms Up with Beet Kvass!
Best chilled, this is a refreshing cold drink anytime of the year. And do we think it’s tasty? Absolutely!
Sometimes I might add a squeeze of lemon or lime for extra detox, but I always know I can think more clearly and my systems just feel renewed!
Become your own preparedness specialist. Make kvass with your younger children for a simple, inexpensive medicinal tonic anytime of the year. This is one of the easiest no-side-effect health remedies to teach to your children, starting them off on a habit of healthy raw eating! It is also a neat science lesson.
When our children were small, I fell in love with the simple, old-timey recipes in the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon, including this one.
Blush Tip – My Nana Used Beets
I am reminded of a nostalgic story my Nana told me about the Great Depression in the 1930s: when there was no money to buy lipstick or rouge, she would touch a slice of red beet onto her lips and cheeks.