Cucumber Fennel Kvass Recipe

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Although fermented vegetable drinks may not be the preferred option for ladies who lunch, I believe this is an option that could tempt even the most elegant and choosy of the spa-going set. The fennel dominates and is rounded out by the fresh cucumber notes. This is one I have no problem serving at a summer tea party.

Yield: 3 quarts (3 L)


  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 fennel bulb, with fronds
  • Peel of 1/2 an orange, no pith
  • 3 quarts (3 L) filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt (optional)


  1. Cut the cucumber into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices. Chop the fennel bulb into large chunks and separate each frond from the bulb. When peeling the orange, cut strips that are as long as possible; avoid pith as it will impart an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. Place the cucumber, fennel, and orange peel in a 1-gallon (4 L) jar and pour the filtered water in until the jar is full to 2 inches (5 cm) below the rim or fill all the way to the rim and place in a bowl for the duration of the fermentation period. Cover your jar, making sure it can vent CO2, and leave to ferment at room temperature for 5 to 10 days.
  2. Once it tastes sufficiently flavorful and acidic, strain the liquid into a clean jar and chill before drinking.

Also from Ferment Your Vegetables:

Fermented vegetables are a great, healthy addition to anyone’s diet. Abundant in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and more, research continues to reveal the many ways that these foods positively contribute to our well-being. From kimchi and sauerkraut to pickles and kvass, fermented foods have been part of the human diet for millennia — and are rightfully reclaiming their place at our daily table. The idea of fermenting vegetables at home can be intimidating for those who have never tried it before. The truth is, it’s quite easy once you learn just a few basic concepts. In Ferment Your Vegetables, author Amanda Feifer, fermentation expert and founder of, serves as your guide, showing you, step by step, how you can create traditional, delicious fermented food at home, using only simple ingredients and a little time. No fancy starters or elaborate equipment required. Ferment Your Vegetables will make beginners wonder why they didn’t start sooner, and give veteran fermenters loads of new ideas and techniques to try at home. All aboard the probiotic train!

Reprinted with permission from Ferment Your Vegetables: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Making Your Own Pickles, Kimchi, Kraut and More by Amanda Feifer and published by Quarto, 2015.

Inspiration for edible alchemy.