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.
Developing a Ginger Bug:
2 Cups non-chlorinated water
2 knobs of a ginger root
½ Cup sugar
1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses
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.