Ginger Bug Recipe
We all love a fizzy drink but we all know it's not good for us. What happens though when you make those fizzy drinks ourselves, and I'm not talking 1990's soda stream style! There's a natural process we can go through to create our very own carbonated drinks, fermentation. Now, if you leave these long enough, you will create alcoholic versions of these but our recipes only call for a week or less in the bottle which will create a little alcohol (<0.5%) but will be perfectly fine for the kids to drink, if you really want to share!
The Ginger Bug is Born!
The first process you must go through is fermenting your ginger bug and growing the natural yeasts and bacteria that will create your ginger beer for years to come if you treat it right!
For this you will need a jar (jam jar or a bit bigger) a cloth to cover and some string to tie. I like to start mine off with a thumb sized piece of ginger too but a couple of tablespoons of ground ginger will work fine. You'll also need a couple of tablespoons of sugar and the juice of a lemon. I use natural brown caster sugar but any will do. Just remember, the less refined the longer the process will take but the more flavour your finished product will have.
So, roughly chop your ginger (or add 2 x tablespoons of ground ginger) and put in the bottom of your jar. Add 2 x tablespoons of sugar, the juice of 1 lemon and then fill the jar to around 2/3rd's full with tap water. I have never had any problem with tap water but if you have trouble getting your ginger bug going this could be the source of the problem. Try boiling the water first and leaving it overnight in the fridge in a jar to let any chlorine escape. If that still doesn't work buy yourself a bottle of distilled water to get this process going, but I should think you wouldn't have to go down this route, fingers crossed!
Anyway, once you've got all the bits and bobs in the jar, cover with the cloth, tie and sit on the side at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
On subsequent days add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir. If the jar starts to get a bit full, before you add fresh ingredients or stir, simply pour off a bit of the liquid until you're back down to about 2/3rds full again. After a week or so you should start to see bubbles rising to the surface and there may be a white growth in or on the top of the liquid within the jar. It will also start to smell sweet and alcoholic, this is a sign the ginger bug is ready to use!
Once the ginger bug is bubbling you can remove the cloth put the screw lid back on and put it in the fridge. You just need to feed it a couple of tablespoons of sugar every week to keep it alive. And remember to release the lid to let some gas off too, you don't want it exploding in your fridge!!
This can be used to make a simple ginger beer or why not get a bit extravagant and try an apple and ginger beer, mmmmm, it's delicious! This process is not just restricted to ginger. You can do the exact same process with turmeric and create a turmeric bug which can be used to make different delicious drinks like our lime turmericade. :)