Ode to a Curious Mind: Ginger Root as a Houseplant!

Ode to a Curious Mind: Ginger Root as a Houseplant!

 

The greatest gift one can have is a curious mind. The person with a curious mind is never bored and happy to find new adventures and discoveries and even re-discoveries. Industrialization had caused artisans and craftsmen to fall by the wayside but curious minds will never be out of style!

For me a simple thought of “I like bread” can lead me on a remarkable journey! 1. Learn to make bread. 2. What’s in bread? Flour, Water, Oil, Sugar, Salt, Yeast! 3. What kind of bread has simple ingredients? Sourdough! Starter, water, flour, sugar, salt. 4. Can I make my own starter? Yes Flour and water and time. 5. Can I make my own flour?……. and so on and so on….

My Daughter-in-law was here recently and I shared with her the ginger bug recipe from Wellnessmama.com. While she was here she made homemade ginger ale. YUMMY and refreshing!

Ginger ale is just Water, sugar, ginger root, molasses, lemon juice, ginger bug and time. So this started me thinking (can you hear the gears turning). Why can’t I grow my own Ginger root? After all, it’s a rhizome just not a hardy rhizome.

Ginger needs to be above 50 degrees year round and I live in the Upper Midwest so we only have about 3 months a year where it almost never gets below 50 degrees and it takes longer than 3 months for Ginger to mature. So I immediately thought “Why not make it a house plant?” Houseplants help keep the air in your home fresh. Ginger is therapeutic, has medicinal properties, as well as culinary benefits and frankly I LOVE THE SMELL. So it’s a WIN WIN WIN situation. And here the journey begins!

Growing your own ginger root indoors as a consumable houseplant:

Purchase a fresh ginger root from your food co-op for grocery store.

Cut off a Knob of ginger that has buds protruding from it.

Soak the knob of ginger in water for 24 to 48 hours.

Prepare a large pot with drainage rock and potting mix.

Bury the ginger knob just below the surface bud side up, put in a window with diffused light and water.

Don’t overwater, care for it as you would any other houseplant.

A ginger plant can get up to 4 feet tall. When the plant becomes mature, remove it from the pot (Save your dirt just add nutrients and reuse) and propagate a piece of the rhizome to start another plant. Start one every couple of months and you’ll never need to buy ginger again! Just remember that Ginger is slow to mature and the rhizomes you produce in you pot will not be as large as those commercially grown. You will most likely need a large space to keep several plants. See photo progression below.

Ginger root

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

 

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Fragrant, Effervescent and Refreshing Ginger Ale

Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale
Refreshing Healthy Ginger Ale

Summer is now in full swing and the temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s (up here that is a heat-wave my friends). And there is just nothing better than an icy cold delicious glass of homemade Ginger Ale to beat the heat. It really is simple to make homemade soda and truly homemade soda is chocked full of great health benefits, like wonderful probiotics. The best part is that YOU control how much sugar goes into the soda and the artificial colors and preservatives and other bad stuff is non-existent. It’s so easy you won’t believe you are really doing it! Once you taste it you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.

Ginger Bug Starter
Ginger Bug Starter
Bubbly Ginger Bug
Bubbly Ginger Bug

September of 2014 I published a post called Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale! on how to make a ginger bug. Ginger bugs are easy to care for. If you leave it on your counter top just feed it a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of minced ginger root once a day. If you keep it in the fridge just feed it a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of minced ginger once a week, let it bubble back up and then put it back in the fridge for another little nap. Always replace the liquid you use with non- chlorinated water, and if it gets too full of ginger root scoop some out and discard it into your compost. Once you have a ginger bug established you can make all sorts of soda, but Ginger Ale is my personal Favorite, to date.

Ginger Ale

Ingredients

1 to 2 knobs or knuckles or Tablespoons of minced unpeeled ginger root

2 quarts non-chlorinated water

½ to ¾ Cup raw sugar or granulated sugar plus ½ Tablespoon molasses

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ Cup lemon juice

½ Cup Strained Ginger Bug (Don’t forget to add non-chlorinated water back to your ginger bug jar)

In a large pan add the water, sugar, (molasses if used) and ginger root and sea salt, bring it to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cool to room temperature. This is referred to as wort. Once your wort is cooled completely, strain it into a pitcher and add the lemon juice and ginger bug. Mix and pour into bottles with tight fitting caps. I prefer Grolsch-style bottles. Leave the bottles on the counter for 48 to 72 hours then refrigerate and enjoy! Take care not to forget to refrigerate the bottles after 72 hours as they can continue to carbonate until they explode. (VERY MESSY INDEED)

Ginger Ale, Ginger Ale, Where for Art Thou Ginger Ale!

Ever miss the full and robust flavors of things from nature, with no chemicals or other unnatural added flavorings? I do! I miss the frosty fizzy bite of fresh Ginger Ale.  This started my quest to find a way to make Ginger Ale and other fizzy beverages without yeast.  I read about making a Ginger Bug, a ginger, water, sugar and molasses mixture that ferments and becomes the “fizz” in the homemade soda of yesteryear.  My first attempt failed dismally. After more research I discovered that just like any living thing the Ginger Bug needs warmth and food. Our home is a comfortable 68 degrees but this seems to be too cool for the process to work. I found a spot next to my Himalayan Salt Lamp that seemed to be just the right temperature for Mother Nature to do her work.

Craft Tags to label bottle contents from www.sav-on-closeouts.com
Craft Tags to label bottle contents from http://www.sav-on-closeouts.com

Developing a Ginger Bug:

2 Cups non-chlorinated water

2 knobs of a ginger root

½ Cup sugar

1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses

Day 1:

Cut off 2 knobs of ginger from the root (wash but don’t peel) and mince it up. Add water, minced ginger, sugar and molasses to a Quart mason jar. Stir with non-metal spoon until sugar is dissolved. Cover with a plastic lid or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Put in a warm (not hot) location (above 68 degrees)

Day 2 – 7:

Feed your Ginger Bug 1 Tablespoon minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and stir with a plastic spoon once a day for the next 6 days. Around day 4, 5 or 6 you should see bubbles start to form.

Once very active you can store it on the counter with daily feedings of 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon minced  ginger or you can store it in the fridge and take it out once a week and feed it 1 Tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 Tablespoon sugar.

To use your Ginger Bug to make fermented beverages you will use ¼ cup of strained Ginger Bug to 1 Quart of wort.

Be sure to add back enough non chlorinated water to replace he liquid you used. If your Ginger Bug gets too much ginger in it, just scoop some out and discard it.

Stay tuned for recipes on how to use your Ginger Bug to make wonderful carbonated beverages. I recently used it to make carbonated Ginger Oolong Iced Tea. I can’t wait to try out the lemon balm and mint from my herb garden.