I have been rather enamored with a series on YouTube called, “It’s Alive”. Some of the episodes deal with a little process called Lacto-fermentation. Basically, the introduction of beneficial bacteria to preserve food. During this process, you may wind up with a product that is heads and tails different than what you started with. Sauerkraut, for example, Cabbage tastes great on its own. Some time hanging out in lactic acid, and hot dogs would never be the same.
I decided that I wanted to try to make my own fermented ginger ale. I’m not prepared to go all out with Kombucha and a SCOBY. It’s just not on my list of things to grow. So, I checked out Wellness Mama, she had a recipe for a ginger bug. Between the internet and YouTube, ginger bugs are easy, hard, temperamental, your best friend ever, and or worse than your mother-in-law. But, being the daring adventurer that I am in the kitchen, I decided to give it a shot.
I did not use organic ingredients, nor did I go out and buy specialized equipment. Most of the hardware could be found at your local Dollar store. I did buy my ginger from a local asian supermarket, wherein Little Awesome will begin working three days a week. Mr. Awesome loves Chinese BBQ.
In a quart mason jar add:
2 Tablespoons ginger (sliced or shredded) see note
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups of water
Cover with a paper towel, or coffee filter (basket style). Leave in a dark, cool place. Heat will kill your yeast. Every day for a week, add a tablespoon of ginger and sugar and stir well. Do not add water. At the end of a week, you should have an active culture with lots of bubbles.
If for any reason your bug smells off, toss it out and start over. However, if you wind up with a loose, white film on top – but your bug still smells fine just skim the naturally occuring yeast off and continue feeding.
*Note: I leave the peel on after a rinse. I also alternate between white and light brown sugar, but white has served me well.
If your water has high levels of chlorine, put it in a container the night before, loosely covered, and the chlorine should evaporate overnight.
Using Your Bug
If you aren’t planning on a large scale brewing of any kind, you can place your bug in the fridge and feed it once a week.
You can also add a few tablespoons to a glass of seltzer water and lemon juice along with a sweetener of choice to create a nice, refreshing drink.
I am currently working in a large scale batch of Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic). If it works, I’ll be super excited. If it fails, my ginger bug is still alive and I’ll drink one glass at a time.
Gut health is important, and we have to invest in ourselves at times.
I am in no way an expert on this, but I do like to get out there and give it my best shot. I hope you find yourself being Awesome in the Kitchen.
If your bug works, share some photos and what exciting things you’ve created with it.