© 2012 Green Kitchen Stories Fruit_kvass_1

Fermented Fruit Kvass

You are looking at a close-up photo of a 1-day old kvass. I’m guessing that 99% of you are thinking: “Errh, KVASS … what!? Is that another new and complicated health trend?!?” Well, it is not complicated, not new and not a trend – yet anyway. But it is very healthy. If you have tried or heard of the fermented tea, kombucha, this is kind of similar, although a hundred times easier to make.

Kvass is a russian fermented beverage traditionally made with beets, whey and rye bread. This simplified fruit version is whey- and grain free, and still packed with nutritious probiotic enzymes and amazing natural bubbles. Personally I think fruit Kvass tastes somewhat like a healthy version of apple cider, but maybe I’m the only one making that connection? It has a fruity flavor with a slight hint of vinegar, honey and fizzy bubbles that teases your tongue. It is a good alternative to a soft drink, an evening cocktail or a healthy morning shot. You can vary the flavors and fruit as you like, but to help you out we have compiled a list of suggestions after the recipe.

It is a very easy recipe with few ingredients and short preparation time (yes, 48 hours is actually short, for being a fermented beverage). So this is perfect if you want to try fermenting for the first time. As with kombucha, this is something that not everyone will love immediately. I did, but David had to try it a few times to get used to it. Now we both enjoy it (although me still more than him)

I have learned this fermented beverage technique from the inspiring author and whole food pioneer Rebecca Wood. She has written a handful of books about healthy food and grains. I have just ordered: ‘The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia’. Can’t wait until it arrives!

If you like this recipe you probably also love kombucha, which we have a recipe for in our upcoming cookbook.

Fermented Fruit Kvass (Fermenting technique from Rebecca Wood)
1 large glass jar

Make sure to always use organic ripe fruit when fermenting.

1/4 of a large glass jar of mixed organic ripe fruit (we used fresh peaches and blackberries)
1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled
pure water to almost fill the jar (you get best result with filtered or mineral water)

Place fruit, honey and ginger in the jar. Add water to fill up the jar, except the top inch. You’ll need that extra space to allow pressure to build. Tightly close the jar. Place in room temperature for 2-3 days, give it a shake twice a day to prevent bacteria from forming on the surface. After 24 hours you can see fermentation bubbles. Taste your brew every day to see when it is ready, it depends on the room temperature and sugar content. It should taste sweet and tangy and the fruit look ‘cooked’. Strain the brew and drink as it is or store in the fridge for up to a week.

If you have any problems with the fermenting process, you could add whey or yeast as a starter, it could depend on the water or the honey you use. I use (scandinavian) tap water or filtered tap water.

The natural alcohol level in homemade Kvass is very very low, about 0.05%-1.0%, which means that children can drink it too.

Other Kvass Combinations
cherry, raspberry, cardamom
apple, raisins, cinnamon
lemon, dried apricots, ginger
mango, chai spices
beet, apple, lemon balm
nectarine, camomile
blackberry, peaces, vanilla bean
dried prunes, lemon, ginger

Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Ps. We were so amazed by your fantastic love and wedding stories on our previous post. Thank you so much for sharing! If you haven’t read them. Check out last weeks post and scroll down to the comment section.

Share

64 Comments

  1. emily
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 01:08 | #

    I have never heard of this before. But given my recent obsession with kombucha, it sounds like something I have to try. I love how simple it seems! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 01:24 | #

    Would it be possible to swap out the honey with agave for a vegan kvass? This sounds so cool I’d hate to miss out!

    • Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 10:00 | #

      Hi Marisa.
      Good question! I think it would work fine, but maybe you’ll need a starter (like yeast or grain), but give it a try and let me know how it turns out!
      Luise :-)

    • Jeremy
      Posted 22 Mar ’13 at 22:12 | #

      Agave contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup (from 70-90%); the marketing of agave has declared it to be natural and “healthy”. They have ridden the coattails of the glycemic index without revealing the truth about what high levels of fructose does to the liver and body in relation to LDL’s.
      Fructose is processed by your liver into triglycerides or stored as fat. Not only is it taxing your liver, but it actually sends your liver into hyperdrive synthesizing fat… Increases up to 75%!
      This adipose fat is designed as stored energy and changes the blood glucose balance which contributes to insulin sensitivity. There is also a rise in dense LDL particles and oxidized LDL (low-density lipoprotein)…
      Think of it like sand in the ocean…. The finer particles (LDL) settle underneath the coarser sand (HDL) above…. The larger particulate is in motion at the top while the finer, forms a sticky muck underneath…. This is how cholesterol essentially works where it forms plaque on our arteries.
      In short, fructose impairs glucose-induced hepatic triglyceride synthesis; agave in fact, might be the worst offenders and extremely unhealthy.
      A better option which only contains 6% glucose/fructose and also extremely low on the glycemic index would be coconut palm sugar. The only unfortunate aspect of this sugar is that it is harvested from the flowering portion of the palm; if you are familiar, this is what becomes the coconut. Sustainable yes, but it robs from the coconut/coconut oil industry.
      You decide, but stay far away from agave for your own health.

      Honey is also a fantastic product, I can’t imagine how small scale farming of honey is detrimental too the bees or our bodies. I once ate honey comb from a hive placed in the middle of a Pikake field in Kauai, it was pure armotic bliss…. To support a symbiotic relationship in such an artful manner seems nothing short of highly sensible.

    • Lucy
      Posted 9 Dec ’13 at 10:05 | #

      Rebecca Wood doesn’t recommend Agave, I can’t quite remember why, but I’m pretty sure it’s because it doesn’t work, or doesn’t have the fermentation health benefits.

    • Tabitha
      Posted 15 May ’14 at 17:56 | #

      I didn’t have unpasteurized honey so I used 1 tsp if kefir whey and vegan sugar. You could try a ginger bug since you are vegan. It should work with a little tinkering.

  3. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 01:27 | #

    I’m a big fan of kombucha but I’ve never heard of kvass. This looks so easy to make! I made my first batch of sauerkraut this summer so I’m feeling a bit less intimidated with the fermenting process-plus all that good bacteria is great for us! Will definitely give this a try. I have tons of peaches so I’d like to use them in this. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 02:22 | #

    I’m certainly not thinking that! I was born in Russia and am quite familiar with this tasty beverage. I love the idea of making it without the whey and grain. I wonder, though, is it ok to drink it when you’re pregnant?

    • Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 09:46 | #

      Hi Kasey!
      The alcohol content in fermented beverages (Kombucha & Kvass) is generally very very low. But since you can’t control it, when making it at home, I would recommend you to get natural probiotic from fermented dairy (kefir, yogurt, lacto-fermented veggies and fruit, etc.) and food (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled veggies, chutneys, tempeh, miso, sourdough bread, etc.) instead. You can even take probiotic supplement (I did that when I was pregnant with Elsa).
      All the best
      Luise

  5. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 03:45 | #

    Interesting. My parent make a fermented drink that is very similar which is supposed to be good for the health (and tastes quite pleasant too). I tried it once myself, but have now mostly forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 04:46 | #

    So beautiful! Love kvass, being where I am from. Your take on it is great, I really want to give it a try. Also just got my hands on a kombucha culture, so I’m on a total fermented drink kick right now :)

  7. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 08:22 | #

    Thanks for this amazing recipe, can’t wait to try it !

  8. Elin S
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 08:35 | #

    Kombucha and I didn´t work out, but kvass sounds and looks exciting! :)

  9. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 08:53 | #

    Thank you so much for such an easy recipe! I have been thinking about making kvass for months but all the recipes I found discouraged me a little. But today I am definitely going to try it. Just a couple of questions: can I vary the fruit combinations or is there any specific reason for those you have listed? What capacity should have the jar with this amounts of ingredients?

    • Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 09:53 | #

      Hi Chiara!
      You can vary the combination of fruit, veggies and spices to the endless. I use a 32 oz glass jar (makes about 6 cups kvass), but you can use any size, just adjust the amount of honey.
      Happy fermenting
      Luise

  10. Sini
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 11:39 | #

    This sounds wonderful. I’ve never heard about kvass before so I’m really excited to try it! Maybe this is like sweet mead or sima as we call it here in Finland but with a fruity note.

    • Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 14:09 | #

      Hi Sini!
      Yes it is a little similar, except Kvass only ferment one time and Sima ferment twice.
      /Luise

  11. julie olsen
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 13:41 | #

    I wasn’t aware that you can make kvass with fruit. I’ve been drinking raw beet kvass which has much more than just a hint of a vinegar taste. however, it aides in liver function and digestion. Does the fruit kvass have these benefits as well?

  12. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 14:30 | #

    I love this! I’ve thought about making kombucha for a while, but this sounds even better. I’ll get to it while the markets still have fresh peaches. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 15:35 | #

    Sounds yummy! Will try it out. Thanks!

  14. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 16:39 | #

    My first brewing experience was with water kefir, and I’ve since moved on to a continuous brew kombucha system. I love that this uses honey instead of white sugar, and such a small amount of it as well. I’m kind of amazed by the fermentation here without some sort of culture. I’ll have to try it, you’ve piqued my curiosity.

  15. Maria
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 17:02 | #

    I love this! I love all of your recipes always but this is perfect since I can go home right now and start making it. Also, fermenting sounds very mad-diy-scientist and I like it! I have a couple of questions: Is the purpose of the honey to provide sugar for the fermentation? Or is it for flavoring? I would love to try this with molasses if it is at all posible, since as a newly vegetarian trying to go vegan, I’m having trouble keeping my iron levels ok. Also, do you know if the nutrients of yeast are kept throughout the process? Or maybe they even increase? Thank you so much! Your blog is a weekly source of joy and I can’t wait for your book!

  16. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 17:20 | #

    Thank you for another great posting with gorgeous photos! It may be the overly-paranoid American in me, but what ensures you don’t get too much BAD bacteria in that 48-period of fermentation?

    • Posted 7 Sep ’12 at 12:12 | #

      Hi Moira! Haha I like overly-paranoid Americans like you! It is important to use of nontoxic organic ingredients, that helps to ensure the purity quality of the final product. A couple of things you can do:
      Wash your hands
      Start with very clean glass containers
      Rinse the fruit well before use
      Use cold fresh (filtered) water
      Keep the jar in a cool place away from direct light

      Happy fermentation!
      Luise

  17. Tatiana
    Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 21:30 | #

    Can you eat the fruit after the fermentation is done or do you have to strain it out?

  18. Posted 6 Sep ’12 at 22:29 | #

    it would be great if you add a pinterest button to flag your great recipes :)

  19. Kate
    Posted 7 Sep ’12 at 00:12 | #

    I make kombucha all of the time. I don’t use honey because it’s anti- bacterial, so does it cause issues with the bacteria? Just wondering if cane sugar would be better?

    • Posted 7 Sep ’12 at 11:46 | #

      Hi Kate! no, honey won’t cause any issues with bacteria, make sure to use unpasteurized honey though.
      /Luise

  20. Nina
    Posted 7 Sep ’12 at 15:48 | #

    Oh, I love bread kvas, too bad it’s impossible to buy in Sweden. Must try this lovely recipe with fruits!

  21. Posted 7 Sep ’12 at 18:39 | #

    This is just very interesting. I’m a food-technology student and always interested in new ways of cooking or preparing things. This is something I want to try!

  22. Posted 9 Sep ’12 at 11:20 | #

    Hi, I’ve just recently made my first bread ‘kvass’ and I really enjoyed it. will try the fruitty one too :)

  23. Posted 9 Sep ’12 at 18:53 | #

    I first learned about kvass from reading Anna Karenina and when I visited Moscow, I couldn’t wait to try it. While it didn’t quite live up to my imagination, this homemade version sounds more appealing (especially if served chilled). Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Sabine Schumann
    Posted 10 Sep ’12 at 14:53 | #

    What a fantastic idea and such a sinmple, great recipe! My bees make great honey, I’m on my second batch of apple, ginger and lemon kvass already and it’s DELICIOUS – Thank You!!

  25. Posted 10 Sep ’12 at 19:34 | #

    I am lucky in having Swedish neighbours so have had the pleasure of tasting kvass (much better than snaps!), but never thought to make it myself. I dabble in fermentation by making kimchee and sourdough, and kvass certainly doesn’t look any scarier than those, so I might just have to try it. Loads of Victoria plums in my garden right now, so maybe a pairing with cardamom and cinnamon might be a lush autumnal treat. Thanks for this :D

  26. Janna
    Posted 12 Sep ’12 at 00:36 | #

    Do you have any idea how much sugar from the honey is leftover at the end of brewing? I ferment my kombucha 2-3 weeks so that most of the sugar is gone, but in a 48-72 hour ferment, it seems likely that a lot of sugar would be left? We try to avoid sugar completely in our house, but I love fermented foods and really want to try this! Thanks :)

    • Grace
      Posted 30 Sep ’12 at 00:20 | #

      Skip the honey and add whey at 1/2 cup per quart of your vessel.

  27. Liz
    Posted 15 Sep ’12 at 12:54 | #

    Wow Im so excited to make this! I buy a drink called ‘Bio bubble’ from the health food store which sounds like what you describe as Kvass. Its quite expensive so I love the idea of being able to make something similar myself!

  28. vinothini
    Posted 16 Sep ’12 at 03:01 | #

    I just prepared the apple combo!!! Thanks for the recipe

  29. lizzie
    Posted 19 Sep ’12 at 14:30 | #

    I’m thrilled to find your recipe, but am wondering if the kvass is kept out of the refrigerator past the 2-3 days, will it continue to ferment (and hopefully become more bubbly), or must it go into the refrigerator to keep from spoiling. Also reading your recipe compelled me to look at others, and all mention the importance of weighing down the fruit to keep it submerged in the water during fermentation. Do you know what that is about? Thanks!

  30. Rasmus
    Posted 21 Sep ’12 at 14:27 | #

    Dear Gks

    Thank you so much for the inspiration – mange tak (; Right after reading your post I rushed to the local organic store in Copenhagen and bought unheated honey to accompany plums self-picked at Møn. Now it has fermented for 45 hours and it looks ready. However it smells alcoholic, but tastes really great. Is alcoholic smell a sign of over fermentation? Do you know if the production of alcohol can produce the dangerous ethanol?
    Best regards
    Rasmus

    • Posted 25 Sep ’12 at 12:00 | #

      Kære Rasmus,
      Self-picked plums from Møn sounds amazing! Depending on the room temperature it can ferment faster then 48 hours, it is done when it has a subtle taste of vinegar and is bubbly. The raw honey and fruit sugar turns into alcohol, to minimize the alcohol even further reduce the fermentation time. It usually takes corn, grains or yeast to create ethanol, don’t worry, you won’t create any dangerous ethanol from this fermenting Kvass recipe.

      All the best
      Luise

  31. Posted 22 Sep ’12 at 21:02 | #

    I just made the apple/cinnamon kvass. It fermented for 3 days on my countertop and although I did see some very very small bubbles, it had no bubbles when I served it! Is it supposed to have bubbles?

    Here is what I did:
    - Sliced an apple and put in a clean glass jar.
    - Added a stick of cinnamon to the jar.
    - Filled with water until the fruit was covered, leaving about 1 inch of air at the top.
    - Put the lid on top and left on the counter.
    - Shook the jar 3 times per day for 3 days.
    - Tasted on the 3rd day, which tasted like apple juice, so I put in the refrigerator.
    - Poured and drank it 3 days later.

    Mine also only tasted sort of like an apple cider. It didn’t taste… special, I suppose! I expected this to be a very interesting drink, but it just wasn’t. It’s not bad! Just not amazing!

    Did I miss something?

    • Posted 22 Sep ’12 at 22:50 | #

      Hi Jessica. It seems like you missed to add honey, which is essential for getting the fermentation started. If you try that next time you will start seeing some bubbles.
      Good luck!

  32. Irina
    Posted 27 Sep ’12 at 17:29 | #

    This definitely caught my attention! I’m from Ukraine but live in New York. Due to the large immigrant population, some ethnic grocery stores sell 2-liter bottles of kvass, but it is not the same as the stuff sold at street stands that I remember (that tasted more like something between beer and hard cider, and the bottled stuff tastes like… sweet, bready soda). Anyway, I don’t trust the bottled stuff to be close to the real thing, the sweetness is unpleasant, and I am dubious of the probiotics, but my father drinks it all the time, so I am very happy to have found such a simple and healthy alternative!
    Have you ever tried a shot of raspberry liquor in a glass of apple cider? It’s delicious. So I’m going to try to ferment apples and raspberries! Thanks again for the great idea!!

  33. Posted 30 Sep ’12 at 05:34 | #

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’ve had beet kvass before and it was terrible…I think this will be much tastier.
    What happens if you don’t have any unpasteurized honey? Will it not ferment correctly?

    Thanks!

  34. Girl
    Posted 26 Oct ’12 at 21:05 | #

    It’s actually Ukrainian and made from bread

  35. Flora Sandy
    Posted 28 Nov ’12 at 06:50 | #

    I was wondering- what if you use pasteurized honey? will it still be alright?

    • Posted 28 Nov ’12 at 12:14 | #

      Hi Flora,
      you get the best result when using pure water and unpasteurized honey when fermenting. If using tap water or pasteurized honey you need to add a starter, such as yeast or whey.
      Good luck
      /Luise

  36. Shalene
    Posted 27 Jan ’13 at 20:52 | #

    I’ve made sourdough and my own yogurt, and I’ve loved the results with both. Now I want to try this. Sounds delicious! Just so I understand how this process works though, where is the bacteria coming from that’s necessary for the fermentation process? The absence of a starter has me a bit confused, and because the kvass is closed off to air, it’s not pulling bacteria from the environment. Is it simply a chemical reaction between the sugars in the fruit and the honey? Tanks again for a lovely post! Your site is always inspiring!

    • Posted 27 Jan ’13 at 21:34 | #

      Hi Shalene!
      The unpasteurized honey will kickstart the process.

      Good luck with the recipe
      /Luise

  37. Posted 2 May ’13 at 23:56 | #

    That sounds less like kvass and more like mead.

    • jb
      Posted 19 Oct ’13 at 17:49 | #

      Mead should be ~25% honey though

  38. Michyusa
    Posted 11 Jun ’13 at 05:14 | #

    Hi! Thanks for this post…have you ever tried using coconut water instead of filtered water? I’m wondering if it would still work.

  39. Pat Boley
    Posted 11 Jun ’13 at 23:35 | #

    Thanks, just tried mine and you are right about the play in the mouth. Wow it was amazing. Can’t wait o try some other flavor combinations.

  40. Jane
    Posted 11 Sep ’13 at 09:54 | #

    Sounds yum, can’t wait to make it.
    I have 3 questions tho….
    1.I would have thought you wouldn’t need to add a sugar, ie honey, because the fruit has plenty of it’s own sugar to feed the bacteria.
    2.You recommend storing for up to one week. I thought ferments last months in the fridge?
    3. You recommend adding yeast. Yeast is a fungus and would actually harm the ferment I would have thought. The rye bread used by others would be sourdough (no yeast) and that’s what acts as the sugar.

  41. Jacque
    Posted 27 Sep ’13 at 22:40 | #

    Can I use frozen fruit or berries to get variety? This sounds wonderful, I’ve already started apple and blueberry and can’t wait to try it. Fruit and berries are very seasonal here and except for a couple of months a year often come from South and Central American countries and are certainly not organic. In the summer I freeze as much as I can. It would be great if I could use my frozen harvest. Jacque

  42. Ugo G.
    Posted 30 Sep ’13 at 10:25 | #

    Tried this a couple time so far.
    Tasty, tangy, and lovely.

    I prefer this drink fermented for 4-5 days (room temp around 22°C)

    But i wonder what to do with the fruits. Straight out i dont find them tasty of appealing. ANy cues ?

  43. jb
    Posted 19 Oct ’13 at 17:48 | #

    Nice, but I’ve always heard to add a cup of whey to it to make a nice probiotic drink that ferments nicely.

  44. Posted 31 Jul ’14 at 18:17 | #

    Great DIY recipe for fermented fruit kvass. Fruit kvass is one of my favorite drinks since it is packed with nutrients, probiotics and has no added sugar. In a pinch, I love the 100% organic raw beet kvass from EATProbiotics as well. Theirs is packed with probiotics and nutrients and great as a quick shot in the morning!

  45. Didi
    Posted 28 Aug ’14 at 21:10 | #

    I made this with apples, lime and cardamom. Unfortunately I didn’t peel the lime, I will do that next time, cause it turned out a little bitter. I didn’t think the fermenting process was working, until I wanted to throw it away after a couple of days and it turned out that it dit work! I’m so happy! It’s a super exiting thing to do.
    I’m drinking some with coconutwater now, it makes the flavour a little less in your face.
    I really don’t like to drink lemonade, but I like to drink other things than water in the summer. This is perfect!

  46. Amanda
    Posted 30 Aug ’14 at 11:08 | #

    Hello, Great recipe. Thank you for sharing. Could you use a body ecoclgy starter culture in this?
    Thanks heaps
    Amanda

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Twitter
gkstories on Twitter
9,277 people follow gkstories