Making a ginger bug is kind of like making a sourdough starter. It requires feeding daily to get it going. It is the start of many natural, fermented beverages. The mixture of sugar, water, ginger, wild yeasts and bacteria can add a probiotic and fizzy boost to herbal sodas like ginger ale, root beer and fruit sodas. This is probably the easiest of all cultured beverages to get going and maintain.
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 1 tablespoond diced or grated fresh ginger
- Additional sugar and ginger for maintenance
- 1 quart mason jar
- Combine all ingredients in mason jar.
- Place a tight lid on the jar, give a good shake and ferment in a warm place for 24 hours.
- Everyday for the next week, add another 1 tablespoon of sugar and another 1 tablespoon of fresh grated or chopped ginger. By the end of the week, the liquid will begin to bubble, get sour and fizzy. Now it is ready for soda making.
- To keep your ginger bug alive, continue to feed it daily the same proportions of ginger and sugar. Or you may rest it in the fridge which will slow down fermentation and only feed it once a week. To reactivate it, bring it back to room temp and start feeding it daily.
How to Use Your Ginger Bug in Cultured Sodas
Mix ¼ cup of ginger bug starter into 1 quart of sweetened or flavored liquid. Pour into a bottle with a tight seal and allow to ferment for 2-3 days at room temperature. You can also add your ginger bug to fruit juices to make them more of a probiotic drink and to help eat up some of the sugar.
Ginger Mint Lime Lacto-Fermented Soda
This is one of my favorite summer time drinks ever. It is so refreshing and delicious and full of electrolytes. In order to make this soda, you need a ginger bug, whey, or water kefir grains. My favorite method is using a ginger bug. See recipe above.
- ½ cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
- ¾ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ – ¾ cup rapadura sugar or organic cane sugar
- pinch sea salt
- ¼ cup ginger bug, whey or ¼ cup water kefir grains
- About 2 quarts filtered water
- Handful of mint leaves
- Place all ingredients in a 2-quart jug or jar.
- Stir well and try to dissolve sugar while stirring; cover tightly with lid.
- Leave at room temperature for 2-4 days before transferring to the refrigerator. You will know it is done when it is fizzy and little sour. It should not be as sweet as when you first make it as the probiotics in the ginger bug will eat up the sugar. It will make much faster if using water kefir grains. This will keep several weeks well-chilled in the fridge.
- To serve, strain into a glass.
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