This type of beverage is definitely not mainstream or regular, but who wants to be
regular? It’s really quite delicious and good for your digestive tract.
Liquid forms of vegetable ferments, such as beet, lettuce, and cabbage are fermented infusions of vegetables in water that is lightly salted. The modern version is fruit infused water. The difference is the latter is drunk immediately, and the former is left at room temperature for several days before moving to the fridge.
You can use any type of lettuce or delicate green to make this nourishing kvass (tonic). Add any seasoning you wish, from garlic to fresh herbs or spices to jazz it up.
A few notes:
- Use a stockpot with a lid…it’s a lot easier than using a bowl as suggested in the recipe.
- Your fermentation vessel is any jar you cleaned really well with soap and water…don’t forget the lid.
- Once you cut and salt the lettuce, mash the lettuce well with a potato masher to break it down even more.
- According to the recipe, you should have a lot of fluid from the lettuce you just beat up, but you need to add more brine so it’s at least 2 inches above the lettuce. The recipe brine was much too salty for me, so I used 1-quart water to 1.5 tablespoons salt (sea salt or kosher salt; no table salt).
- Follow the recipe. After a few days, transfer the lettuce to your fermentation vessel, and pour the lettuce kvass into other clean jars. Add your favorite fresh herbs.
Here’s how my lettuce tonic turned out:
Following the recipe, I used organic romaine lettuce from the farmer’s market and had 2
batches of lettuce tonic. If you find the lettuce juice/brine too salty, just add water. The first was plain with no added seasoning. It tasted like, well, lettuce or grass. In the second quart-sized jar, I added a generous amount of fresh dill flower from the garden, 4 tablespoons of sauerkraut brine and put in the fridge for a day to infuse. Adding the dill made all the difference in the world, and it was delicious…crisp, refreshing, slightly salty with a bit of tang. I now get cravings for lettuce kvass (tonic) and drink it with my 22 medications instead of plain filtered water. Drinking the tonic makes me feel good and I know it’s helping restore the good bacteria in my digestive tract that’s been destroyed from chemotherapy, antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and all the other meds I take.
What to do with your lettuce pickles?
Put them on burgers, add to salads, soups, and chutneys. Experiment!