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.

76 Comments

  • Nina
    Oh, I love bread kvas, too bad it's impossible to buy in Sweden. Must try this lovely recipe with fruits!
    • Christina Dashko
      You could look for Ukrainian rye bread kvas recipes. There are lots of them on the internet!
  • Kate
    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?
    • Hi Kate! no, honey won't cause any issues with bacteria, make sure to use unpasteurized honey though. /Luise
  • it would be great if you add a pinterest button to flag your great recipes :)
  • Tatiana
    Can you eat the fruit after the fermentation is done or do you have to strain it out?
      • Dion Widger
        Are there benefits to eating the fruit from a fruit kvass? Also, are the same benefits achieved from the same fruits being made into a kvass, as there would be to juicing?
  • 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?
    • 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
  • Maria
    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!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • julie olsen
    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?
  • Sini
    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.
    • Hi Sini! Yes it is a little similar, except Kvass only ferment one time and Sima ferment twice. /Luise
  • 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?
    • 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
  • Elin S
    Kombucha and I didn´t work out, but kvass sounds and looks exciting! :)
  • Thanks for this amazing recipe, can't wait to try it !
  • 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 :)
  • 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!
  • 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?
    • 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
  • 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 :)
  • 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!
    • 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
      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
      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
      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.
  • emily
    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.

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