Did you know that you can make homemade fermented soda without any pre-existing culture? Yes! It’s true! Like sourdough bread, 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 a fermented ginger bug drink is:
- ginger root
- and a bit of patience.
Ginger Bug Starter
The ginger bug starter is easy to make in your own home. It’s the simplest way to make a probiotic sparkling beverage. Unlike kombucha, jun and water kefir, all you need to get started is ginger root!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 3 1/4 cups 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: British
- 1 large piece of fresh ginger (enough to add 1 tbsp a day for 5 days)
- 5 tbsp sugar (see notes)
- 3 1/4 cups of water (chlorine free)
- Don’t peel your ginger because the skin helps with fermentation.
- Finely dice (or grate) 1 tbsp of ginger.
- Mix all of the water with 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of diced ginger in a glass quart jar.
- 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 the jar somewhere warm and dark to ferment (a kitchen cupboard is ideal.)
- Every day add 1 tablespoon of diced ginger and 1 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. (See section below for instructions.)
- 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.
- Expect a bit of scum to form on the top. These will be strands of yeast which are eating the sugar and ginger. 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
Keywords: ginger ale, ginger beer, probiotic, turmeric, natural, soda, pop, summer, spring, vegan, gluten free
How to use your ginger bug starter
Once you have a bubbly starter, 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 ginger bug sodas, then keep your starter going by feeding it 1 tbsp of ginger, 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/4 cup of water when ever you use 1/4 cup of the starter to brew soda.
- Use your ginger bug soda starter to make a traditional ginger ale (ginger beer) or cranberry ginger ale.
- Or turn your ginger bug into your favourite soda pop flavour.