Russian Kvass is a unique beverage, which has no analogues in any other country in the world. Kvass is made from germinated and fermented grain cereals (rye, barley, wheat). Unlike beer, which has the same initial ingredients as kvass, the latter is mainly produced by lactic acid fermentation, and the alcohol content in kvass does not exceed 1.2%.
The first mention of kvass in Russian chronicles is dated in the year 996 A.D. For centuries, kvass remained the second most consumed drink in Russia after water. Peasants drank only kvass while working as it didn’t just quench thirst, but also gave energy for further work. In Soviet times, kvass acquired enormous popularity. In summer time, one could always see movable yellow barrels with kvass in the streets of Russian towns and long lines of thirsty citizens. In the post-Soviet era kvass was replaced with imported Western soft drinks, but nowadays, the initial charm of foreign products is gradually subsiding, reviving good old kvass. How could it be otherwise, as there must be special kvass genes in the blood of the Russian people. Just imagine a mug of dark kvass with a white cap of foam and its tart, sweet-sour taste, or the taste of okroshka made with light kvass, and your mouth will water immediately.
Kvass isn’t just a delicious beverage, but it is also good for you. It contains vitamins B, C and essential amino acids; it possesses antimicrobial properties and helps digestion. The addition of herbs and berries gives the kvass different flavors and enriches it with beneficial substances.
The process of making kvass includes several stages. First, the seeds of the cereals are rinsed and left to germinate so the starch they contain splits into simple sugars. Then, the seedlings are ground into a homogeneous mass, mixed with flour, and the resulting dough is baked to form a dark crust, which provides rich color and the distinctive bread flavor of the beverage. Baked dough is cut into small pieces and boiling water is added. When the solution has cooled slightly, yeast and sugar are added for fermentation, which lasts for 1.5-2 days. Once the kvass has been brewed, it is drained, mixed with sugar and allowed to infuse a couple of days to reach its final taste. Sugar is not added to kvass to be used for preparing okroshka.
Okroshka is a traditional Russian dish made from finely chopped meat, vegetables, eggs and greens soaked in kvass and seasoned with sour cream. On a hot summer day, okroshka is an ideal solution for the first course of a meal as it perfectly quenches thirst and is a source of vitamins and antioxidants from the raw vegetables and the kvass.
Russian online supermarket RussianFoodUSA.com offers the best varieties of Russian kvass. You can also prepare kvass at home with the use of leavened bread crumbs and make an okroshka. Re-live the experience of previous generations of Russian people, who gained health and strength from Russian kvass.