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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JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

This wonderfully light, crisp, effervescent beverage has many health benefits, delicious and easy to make. I was recently on a long and strong course of chemotherapy and it did a lot of damage to my immune system and many other areas while it was eradicating any remaining trace cancer cells and I suspended my use of this powerfully beneficial beverage. Now that my treatment has ended I’ve resumed drinking JUN and feel much healthier and more energetic. I suppose it’s because it’s a simple drink made from simple ingredients that’s simply wonderful! Here’s how you can make your own.

Note: Unpasteurized JUN or Kombucha will continue to develop a new baby SCOBY so if you are squeamish about them floating in your brew just pour thru a nylon or high quality stainless steel tea strainer into your glass and put what it catches into your compost.

You can get a JUN SCOBY here or you can get a daughter from a fellow brewer. I use a 1 gallon glass jar as my fermenting vessel and a coffee filter to cover the top securing it with a rubber band or breathable cap.

 

JUN TEA

Ingredients:

3 ½ Quarts of non-chlorinated water

8 organic Green Tea Bags

¾ Cup Raw Honey (I use clover due to tree allergies)

1 JUN SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast)

2 Cups of previously brewed JUN that your SCOBY was stored in

(this is known as a SCOBY Hotel)

Jun Ingredients
Jun Ingredients

Directions:

In a large pan bring to a boil 3 ½ quarts of non-chlorinated water. Add 8 organic green tea bags and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and cool to 117 degrees. Remove tea bags and add ¾ cup of raw honey and stir until completely dissolved. Continue to cool until it’s room temperature then pour it into your fermenting vessel. Add 2 cups of previously fermented JUN from your SCOBY hotel and your SCOBY. Cover with the coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or breathable cap. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6 – 8 days. It will grow a daughter SCOBY on top. (This can be used to brew your next batch of JUN). Remove the mother and daughter SCOBY and 2 cups of brewed JUN and put them back in your SCOBY hotel and refrigerate until your next brew date. You can strain and bottle at this point or add flavorings like fruit or ginger root if you prefer. If you add flavorings put them in with the JUN and cover with coffee filter for a couple of extra days then strain and bottle. If you store the bottles in the fridge right away it will not become effervescent. I leave my bottled brew on the counter for 2 – 3 days before I refrigerate so that it has some carbonation.

Brewing Tea
Brewing Tea
SCOBY Hotel
SCOBY Hotel

 

Fermenting the JUN
Fermenting the JUN

 

Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

 

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

 

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

 

 

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)

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

Holidays – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For most of us the holidays are  the most wonderful time of the year. Warm cheerful faces. Good will toward our fellow man. Family and Friends sharing a meal prepared with love. Children filled with giddy anticipation. These are the things we are thankful for.  But what to do with all those leftovers. Personally, I like to invite the less fortunate to share in our family warmth. Sharing good food and fellowship. There are so many ways to use all those leftovers but sadly the sweet potato seems to be left out of the creative process of making the old into something new and delightful. This started me thinking of ways to truly use up ALL of those leftovers, including the sweet potato.

The following recipe is good for Mini loaves of sweet potato pineapple bread for gift giving or breakfast muffins.

Great For Gifts
Great For Gifts

Sweet Potato Pineapple Muffins

Ingredients:

In large bowl combine

1 cup unfed sourdough starter

1 organic egg (beaten)

1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

½ teaspoon organic ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon organic ginger

¼ teaspoon organic ground cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup grape seed or canola oil

¼ cup kefir or buttermilk

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup stevia

1 cup mashed sweet potato

½ cup crushed pineapple

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup organic unbleached flour

1/3 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour

Mix well. Fill greased muffin tins or mini loaf pans. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar (optional). These are sure to bring smiles! Enjoy!

A tasty way to start your day!
A tasty way to start your day!

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.