This would have to be the easiest probiotic drink I know of, or certainly the most easily accessible. It’s a lacto-fermented drink, which is believed to be cleansing for the blood. It’s delicious served ice-cold from the refrigerator. The chunks of beetroot (beet) you have strained from the fermentation are also delicious served in salads, both grated and sliced. — Mike McEnearney, author of Real Food by Mike
Medicinal Benefit: Gut
Beetroot (beet) is a great liver cleanser. It thins bile, which can ease the movement of gallstones out of the liver. Fermentation increases the already significant health benefits of beetroot by creating a greater bio-availability of easily absorbed nutrients. This recipe boosts the healthy bacteria in the gut, some benefits of which are:
— Strengthening the immune system and helping manage eczema
— Preventing and treating urinary tract infections
— Improving digestive function
— Helping inflammatory bowel conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
- 2 Pounds 12 ounces beetroot (beets)
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
Wash the beetroot and remove the dirt but don’t peel them, as we want to embrace the friendly bacteria here. Roughly dice the beetroot into 3-centimeter (1 1/4-inch) chunks or slices, being sure not to grate them or cut them too small, as the beetroot will ferment too fast and become alcoholic instead of lactic, which will spoil your drink.
Place the beetroot and salt in a 20-cup glass jar and shake. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours to draw the juices from the beetroot, which will dissolve the salt. Add 14 cups water and shake the jar around really well to help dissolve the last of the salt. Make sure the lid is tight and keep in a place at a stable room temperature, agitating daily. Ferment for 1–2 weeks.
Give the jar a shake. If you notice bubbles rising gently up the glass, it’s probably ready. If there are no bubbles, it will need longer to ferment. Once bubbles are apparent, open the lid and you will hear a hiss from the escaping carbon dioxide and it will also start to fizz. Strain the kvass through a fine-mesh sieve into bottles and chill. It’s best drunk ice-cold in a small glass. But remember that it’s a probiotic, and too much may give you the runs!
Recipes excerpted with permission from Real Food by Mike by Mike McEnearney (Hardie Grant Books, August 2017)