My favorite recipe for health is particularly significant for me at this time of year. I consider it a wonderfully healthful drink any time of the year, but after the sweets of the holidays and hearing about detoxes here and cleanses there, I know my daily drink of beet kvass is just the tonic I need to keep me on the healthy side and to remind me to stay away from those leftover sweet treats and the lingering longing for them...
Beet kvass. A few years ago I'd never even heard of it. Now it's an almost daily part of life. I got the recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, originally heard about it from Sarah's instructional video at The Healthy Home Economist. I peel and then chop one large beet, two medium-sized ones or three small ones into roughly inch-by-inch cubes. I put them in a quart-sized glass jar with 3/4 of a tablespoon of sea salt (this is less than the recipe calls for, but I prefer it a little less salty), 1/8 cup of whey (strained from soured raw milk) and then fill the jar almost to the top with filtered water, leaving an inch or so of space. After letting it sit covered on my counter for a few days (living in the Pacific Northwest makes all of my culturing and fermenting take quite a bit longer) I've got a slightly effervescent beverage I love to drink first thing in the morning. After it's cultured, it should be stored in the refrigerator. The same beets can be used again with more whey, salt and filtered water for a second round.
This time of year, traditionally, was acknowledged as a time of scarcity. Beets are a root vegetable that keep well in root cellars and cool, dry places, and would still be available with proper storage. Drinking beet kvass in winter, and every morning (just a couple ounces), reminds my body that eating used to be season-dependent, whereas now it's become grocery store-dependent. I know, intellectually, that this drink is mildly detoxifying, which is why it's considered a safe daily tonic rather than a drink that's part of a more rigorous cleanse. Throughout the rest of the day, I remember having had my couple of ounces of kvass in the morning, and that's sometimes enough to keep me from reaching for a cookie or a second helping of a meal that tasted good but for which I'm no longer hungry. It's a daily reminder that I started off on a good note and I should really take the time throughout the rest of the day to put that same, positive energy into my body, my being, my day.
Knowing I'm making my own drink out of a seasonally available vegetable helps me feel connected to the land, to the farmers who provide those not-so-sexy root goodies, to my ideals of of eating as locally and as intentionally as I can. My partner does not share these goals and my kids don't really like the drink very much, so it's just a little thing I make for myself, that I do for myself, and I really enjoy the making of it, what it means to me, and really, mostly, the flavor of it. It's such a beautiful color, so deep. Here are a couple of photos in which I try to capture its depth. If only I could share the flavor with you. :)
*********** Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.
- Sarah at Why Food Works shares Guilt Free Ranch Dip. Food is more fun when dunked, and kids eat more veggies with dip - use this high-protein, low-fat, Ranch-flavored spread at picnics, parties, and meals! You can also find Sarah on Facebook.
- Christina at The Hippy Homemaker shares her tasty vegan Black Bean and Barley Salad With a Cilantro Lime Dressing, a low-fat meal that packs a real flavor punch! You can also find Christine on Facebook.
- Bianca at the Pierogie Mama shares a quick and simple recipe for roasting cauliflower. Garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese make anything taste amazing!You can also find Bianca on Facebook.
- Have a blender? Then That Mama Gretchen says it's time to gather your veggies and plan a Mexican fiesta to debut this skinny version of taco soup. You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook.
- Lindy at Poppy Soap Co. shared an incredibly easy Herb Rice recipe that makes a great pantry staple! You can also find Lindy on Facebook.
- Luschka at Diary of a First Child loves foraging for her food, and this Nettle Soup recipe is a great immune boost for the changing season. You can also fine Luschka on Facebook.
- Mari at Honey on the Bum shares her love of beet kvass, a daily drink that holds particular importance in the winter.
- Destany and They Are All of Me shares her recipe for low-fat healthy smoothies that taste just like dessert.
- Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a nut-buttery, chocolatey treat that tastes indulgent while being grain- and sugar-free. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook.
- Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a super easy, fix it and freeze it Curried Lentil Soup In A Jar! You can also find Jennifer on Facebook.
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