Class Report

What Does it Take to Ferment Something – Whey, Yes Whey!

At Just Add Microorganisms: Ferment Your Food and Drink, a course offered during the January 2013 Session of Knowledge Commons DC, I walked in with next to no knowledge about fermentation, and well I left with a milk bottle with some beets inside of it and the desire to start fermenting!

Class activity

Adam, the teacher, is an avid enthusiast for all things fermented and taught his class the processes for making both a fermented beet beverage called beet kvass and sauerkraut. Being an individual who appreciates the simple things in life, I found out the four ingredients I needed to make beet kvass and was excited to try it. Many in the class took a sip of the simple, but complex drink and were hooked. And you ask, what is all you need to make it? All you need is: beets, water, salt, and whey. I took my beets home in a container, then strained some yogurt using a cheese cloth, and in 36 hours found myself enjoying my newfound drink and hobby!

The recipe for beet kvass is as follows:

Peeling beets

Place beets, whey and salt in a half gallon glass container (2 quarts). Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.When most of the liquidhas been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature another two days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first.After the second brew, discard the beets and start again.

Erika Rydberg, a D.C. transplant from the northernly lands of Boston, got involved with Knowledge Commons DC after an awesome experience in a Brookline, Mass., community skillshare during her college days. By day she works at a library and by night she can be found performing poetry, listening to music, or cooking copious amounts of vegetarian food.