When it was time to feed the ginger bug, I decided it was time to start our first batch of fermented pop (aka: soda).
In looking for recipes and instructions on how to actually use the ginger bug, I found myself with some issues. One was the ratios of ginger bug to liquid, which tended to be for only a quart of liquid. Which seems a ridiculously small amount. Mind you, there’s four of us that will be drinking it, so that might have something to do with my perception. 😉 The most useful I found was to use 1/2 cup of ginger bug to 7 1/2 cups of sweet liquid. Pretty basic.
It was the fermentation container that seemed to be all over the place. Some sights said to ferment the ginger bug in a jar covered with cheese cloth or coffee filter. Others said to put it in a sealed jar and open it up every day, to release gasses. Some said to put it in a container with an airlock. All of these then said to bottle the finished beverage, usually recommending swing top bottles, but sometimes plastic bottles. Then there were those that said to pour the mixed liquid straight into swing top bottles for the fermentation period.
In the end, I decided to use one of my husband’s distilled water containers. We get distilled water for his CPAP humidifier, and I’ve started keeping the empty bottles to use in the garden.
We’re accumulating quite a few of them.
So this gives me a food safe container in a gallon size that has a sealable cap.
We started by measuring out 7 1/2 cups of the Cranberry Raspberry Cocktail I got for the purpose and pouring it into the jug, to judge if we would be doubling the recipe or not. We decided to go ahead and do another 7 1/2 cups, for 15 cups in total.
This is the ingredients list for the Cranberry Raspberry Cocktail. Which also has juices from grapes, pears and apples. The important part is that it has sugar in it, which means I did not have to add any sugar to feed the yeast during fermentation.
Pouring and straining the ginger bug out of the 750ml canning jar we are using would be messy, but we happen to have a ladle small enough to fit into the wide mouth jar, so we used that to ladle the liquid into a measuring cup through a strainer. Very few ginger pieces got caught in the process, so that worked out very well.
I found the amount in the juice bottle odd. 3.78L? A gallon is 4.5L, isn’t it?
Then I remembered; US gallons and Imperial gallons are not that same. LOL That is 1US gallon of juice. The distilled water bottle, however, gets referred to as a “gallon”, but is actually 4L.
Whatever. The end result is, a decent amount of headspace at the top of the water bottle, even after adding a cup of ginger bug liquid.
There was still some juice left behind, so the daughter that was assisting me, chugged it. It may be “cranberry raspberry” cocktail, but she tasted mostly apple!
No matter. It should still make an interesting carbonated drink!
We then replaced the cup of liquid removed from the ginger bug with our drinking water – the stuff we buy, rather than our well water – and fed it with some more ginger and sugar before putting it back in the cupboard, safe from the cats.
Then the fermentation bottle got labeled and dated. I figure we can wait a few days and, if the ginger bug is nice and bubbly after being used, we’ll start another batch.
For now, this bottle will stay out at room temperature. Every day, we’ll give it a squeeze. As long as it has give to it, it’ll stay out, but once it feels hard, that means it’s fermented enough and will be transferred to the fridge, so it doesn’t explode. From what I’ve read, this can take anywhere from 4 to 10 days. The house is fairly cool, so I predict it will be closer to 10 days.
Once in the fridge, it will need to be drunk within a few weeks, or it will lose its carbonation.
If it tastes any good, it’s unlikely to last that long. Not between four people!
I’m looking forward to seeing how this works! If it does work well, we will experiment with other liquids to ferment and keep track of which ones we like. 🙂