Starting a Ginger Bug

No, I’m not talking about our furry Ginger Bug! I’m talking about using the actual roots.

In keeping with our stocking up on the assumption we’ll have a month or two where we can’t get out to do any sort of shopping, we’ve been thinking not only of essentials, but those little things that improve on quality of life. One thing that we considered is liquid refreshment. Drinking plain water gets boring, fast – and we buy our drinking water. We really should have tested our well water by now, but to get the full testing done is very expensive and time dependent. We’d have to take a sample and drive it to the lab in the city as quickly as possible. Even just getting a sample bottle requires going to another town. One I haven’t been to since I was a kid and went to a cattle auction with my dad. So that will just have to wait again.

Our usual default drink that isn’t plain water is tea, and my older daughter has already taken care of that department. She went through the sale section of David’s Tea and ordered 13 different types of tea! They should arrive in the mail this week.

The other thing we do enjoy is pop (soda). Usually Coke Zero for my husband and I, while our daughters prefer Ginger Ale. I actually don’t like Ginger Ale on it’s own, but love it mixed with fruit juice. There’s something about that carbonation that really hits the spot.

Which is why I’ve decided to start fermenting our own pop. It’s supposed to be all healthy and everything, but really, I just want to make a thirst quenching fizzy drink.

To start the process, we need to make a ginger bug and get the fermentation process going. I meant to start one a few days ago, but got busy with other things, so I finally got it started last night.

The basics of a ginger bug is fresh ginger root, sugar and water.

I looked at a lot of websites and videos, and there is a lot of conflicting information, of course. Some say to leave the skin on the ginger, because that’s where the yeast it, while others say to peel it, and it’ll ferment just fine. Some say to grate the ginger, others say to use a fine shredder, and still others say to just chop it up. Some were very specific about using a wooden spoon to stir the bug, while in some videos, I saw people using metal spoons to stir. Of course, the quantities and ratios of ginger:sugar:water are all different. With all this, everyone seemed to have very successful ginger bugs, so I figured things were pretty flexible! Then there is the container to put it in. As an open ferment, some cover the jar with cloth or a coffee filter, while others keep it in a sealed jar. Which, to me, seems to really increase the risk of an explosion.

So I just sort of took it all in and did my own version.

I decided to chop the ginger into a small dice, going with the sites that said it made it easier to strain the liquid out later. I don’t like floaties, if I can avoid them! I left the skin on, because peeling ginger is a pain in the butt.

As the ginger bug needs to be fed, I chopped extra and put the excess in the fridge.

I decided to use:

3Tbsp ginger
3Tbsp sugar
2 cups water

I put the whole thing in a 750ml jar to have room to add more ginger and sugar, and for stirring. I also used some of our purchased water, rather than our well water. If I were to use our well water, I would have boiled it and let it cool to room temperature, first.

I could have used an elastic to hold the coffee filter on, but I find a canning ring is much handier.

The jar itself is now stored in a cupboard. Not because it needs to be tucked away, but to keep the cats from knocking it off the counter or something!

It not needs daily tending and feeding until it gets fizzy.

Which means it will get stirred every morning, then fed every evening.

While that is fermenting, we need to think about what to make with it! Of course, we can make basic ginger ale, but as I mentioned, I’m not really a fan of plain ginger ale. Apparently, you can use sweet tea as a base, so that’s always an option, though I am leaning more towards things like cranberry juice or pomegranate juice. I don’t normally buy juices; I find them way too sweet. There are many options, though, and I’m looking forward to experimenting!

The Re-Farmer

9 thoughts on “Starting a Ginger Bug

  1. Kombucha! I’m tellin’ ya! I’ve done the Ginger bug too, love it, but kombucha is the BEST!! I flavor it in season, bottle it to make it bubbly, every variety tea and flavoring changes it so much the variety is endless. You simply must get your daughter on it! I promise I’m never so bossy as when it comes to the brilliance of kombucha!

    Liked by 1 person

      • In my case it was the same. It was a friend who was so bossy with me about it she wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Sent me home with a Scoby, and I’ve been addicted ever sense! Now I’m the bossy one! I’m not sure why the store-bought kombucha taste so different. But, when you home-brew it, you choose how much of the fermented flavor you want—you can also make great vinegars from it, and even champagne! I tried making the champagne last year, it took nearly a year to age, but it’s delish!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Ginger Bug, on the Rocks | The Re-Farmer

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