Fizzy Lifting: Ginger bug + Ginger Beer.

Chrissy and I have been fermenting again – this time building a very active ginger bug, and which has resulted in the fizziest, most wonderfully warm and spicy ginger been I’ve ever had.

There’s not a lot to say here – making a ginger bug is deliciously simple and they seem wonderfully resilient:

  1. Grate 2 inches of ginger.
  2. Muddle with half a cup of sugar in a clean 1L wide mouth mason jar.
  3. Cover with 2 cups of water and stir.
  4. Use a breathable natural fabric and the sealing ring for the jar to make a ginger sheik (see the featured image).
  5. Feed every day with a tbsp of Sugar, grated ginger, and water.

In a couple of days the ginger pulp will start to float to the jar top as pockets of C02 released by the natural yeast lift it up. If this hasn’t happened by the third of fourth day, I’d start looking at adding some supplementary yeast, but in my admittedly limited experience there was an awful lot of yeasty action.

After you’ve grown yourself a healthy ginger bug by adding ginger, and sugar, and water every day it’s time to make the soda base – newsflash: it involves more grated ginger and sugar…

  1. Grate 2-3 inches of ginger.
  2. Boil in a large pot with several litres of water for 10 minutes.
  3. Add some sugar until the mixture is nearly soda sweet and cool until room temperature – too hot and you’ll kill the bug you’ve been carefully nurturing.
  4. Pour in your ginger bug and stir well.
  5. Strain into swingtop or other sealable bottles so that you can contain the trap the C02 that your ginger bug will be making.
  6. I like to strain one into a sealing plastic bottle as well so that I can squeeze the sides of the bottle and see how fizzy things are getting from the firmness of the bottle.
  7. In about three to five days you’ll need to put an end to the fermentation and avoid exploding bottles and a sugary mess.

This really is a wonderfully simple and amazingly flavourful drink, and I can wholly recommend making it yourself – especially if you’d like to make a simple foray into fermentation! If you find yourself bitten by the fermentation bug, you can learn a great deal more in Sandor Katz’s Art of Fermentation.

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