Did you know that you can make homemade fermented soda without any pre-existing culture? Yes! It’s true! Like sourdough, the ginger bug starter is made from a free range culture that probably is already floating around your home. How exiting is that!?
The only thing you need to make this fermented drink is:
- a little fermentation know-how (check out these basic fermentation rules)
- ginger root and sugar
- and a bit of patience.
- Fresh ginger (enough to add 1 tbsp a day for 5 days)
- Sugar (5 tbsp total - see notes)
- 3¼ cups of water (chlorine free)
- Finely dice (or grate) 1 tbsp of unpeeled ginger. (The skin helps with fermentation).
- Put the ginger in a glass quart jar with 1 tbsp of sugar and water.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cover with a cloth (or coffee filter) and secure in place with a rubber band or jar ring.
- Place somewhere warm and dark to ferment.
- Every day add another tablespoon of diced ginger and tablespoon of sugar.
- After 2-3 days it should start to bubble.
- Once it is really bubbly (about 5 days) you are ready to make ginger ale.
-The ginger bug needs to feed on sucrose, so avoid using alternative sweeteners. Coconut sugar is fine, but honey and maple syrup are not. I like to use panela sugar, which is unrefined and makes a deep brown soda. If you use white sugar then you’ll have a more caramel coloured soda.
-You can also feed your ginger bug grated turmeric root. Turmeric has a mild flavour that children enjoy.
-Expect a bit of scum to form on the top. Watch out for mold or a bad smell, which mean it’s gone off.
-Thanks to Nourished Kitchen for the original inspiration for this ginger bug recipe.
How to use your ginger bug starter
Once you have a bubbly brew, you have officially caught the ginger bug! Here’s some basic information to keep your ginger bug starter happy and healthy.
- Store your starter in the fridge until you are ready to make soda.
- To keep it active feed your starter 1 tbsp of ginger and 1 tbsp of sugar every week. It should remain vigorous for at least 1 month.
- If you want to continuously brew your starter, feed it 1 tbsp of ginger, 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/4 cup of water when ever you use 1/4 cup of starter to brew soda.
- Use your ginger bug soda starter to make a traditional ginger ale (ginger beer) or cranberry ginger ale.
- Here’s how to turn your ginger bug into your favourite soda flavour.