Kvass Slop: Russian Fermentation Gone Wrong

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a recipe for Fermented Fruit Kvass, courtesy of Green Kitchen Stories. The aesthetically-pleasing post quickly became two things: a challenge and waiting game. 

The recipe seemed too simple to be true. And immediately, a Russian-enthusiast friend predicted it might indeed be. Kvass (you’re on your own for pronunciation on this one…I have yet to channel the Russian accent), is a traditional Russian beverage, generally made with rye or wheat…yet this recipe contained neither. Challenge accepted. 

A few days into the process, I snapped a simple picture with my camera phone, claiming the bubbles at the top ensured fermentation was at work and there would soon be Kvass. But my friend said it looked like compote. My beverage-ignorance (and his misspelling) prompted an embarrassingly uncultured response about poor quality of camera phones and reassurance that the beverage was, indeed, a beverage and had no resemblance to jam (compote). He actually meant kompot, a fruit juice popular in Eastern Europe. And upon his taste test a few days later, he confirmed that the beverage did lean more towards the kompot flavor, as it lacked the sour-yet-alcoholic flavor of kvass. 

To evaluate the challenge, I’d like to revert to the game of billiards. “Slop,” is a term used when you successfully sink a ball into the pocket, yet not the one you intended to. My kvass making proved similar; while I did not successfully produce kvass, at least I was rewarded with the Russian beverage, kompot. 

If you’d like to try making Russian kompot, the recipe lies below. 

Fermented Fruit Kvass (aka Kompot)

Fill a mason jar (invite your inner hipster into your culinary sphere) with ripened organic fruit, sliced. My preferences include peaches and blackberries, with a little hint of fresh mint. Add 1 tablespoon unpasteurized honey, 1 inch fresh ginger (peeled) and fill ‘er up, leaving an inch at the top. The space allows for the most exciting part of the fermentation process: bubbles. 

Next begins the waiting game: the jar sits for two to three days, during which time all you do is shake it twice each day. Taste daily until there’s a “sweet, tangy” flavor. Strain and serve. 

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