is one of favorite refreshing Russian beverages. In all probability, the Slavs
knew about Kvas long before the foundation of the Kiev Rus.
The word Kvas is Russian by origin and means " sour beverage". It was so popular
that in the "Encyclopedia of food" it was written: After water, the most widespread
beverage was Kvas … we even think that people drink it more often than water…"
At the same time the love to kvas overstepped the limits of classes: the poor
people drank it with a great pleasure and the nobility preferred kvas to foreign
Kvas was very cheap and this, partly, explains its popularity. Kvas served as
stock for many dishes: turya, balanda, okroshka…
Excellent gustatory qualities of kvas surprised foreign tourists. They couldn't
believe that this delicious beverage, considering much better than sherbet was
given to servants as well.
Together with sauerkraut, kvas was the only medicine that saved people from scurvy
during a long winter without green, as real Russian kvas was made from malt that
is notable for rich content of vitamins B. In folk medicine kvas was used for
curing cold, dropsy, fever, intestines diseases. In Russian hospitals kvas was
a necessary daily beverage for every patient. To increase nutritious value of
kvas, it was made from two kinds of malt and without sugar; sometimes people added
some honey to "ennoble" the beverage. Usually people drank fleshly made kvas,
but some lazy women managed to make kvas once a year and as required they poured
in new water. At the end this beverage had nothing with real kvas and was like
There are so many recipes of kvas, but, in general, they had the same ingredients,
just in different proportions: malt, rye or wheat flour, boiling water. This dense
mass was blended until it had a sweet taste. Then this mass was put in a well-heated
oven for a day and night. After that the mass was dissolved in water and left
in a room for 2-3 hours, then bottled. That is the base of kvas making, but kvases
differ by different kinds of flour, cold or hot water; some people liked to add
sugar, raisins, honey, mint or molasses.
Kvas making demanded much experience, skills and special equipment - large false-bottomed
Unfortunately, rich collection of kvas recipes is almost completely lost. But
thanks to new technologies, now we have a chance to taste this delicious beverage
- there is a real possibility to make kvas at home.
By Olga Timokhina