Ginger bug 🐞

I recently started a new ginger bug! It’s not really an insect 🐞, but rather a wild starter that’s made from water, sugar and fresh grated #ginger. Natural airborne yeasts and bacteria collect in the mixture over the next week and voilà!

After about a week of feeding, you’ll have a  powerful microbe-rich starter that’ll be used to make wild fermented #probiotic sodas.

People have remarked that ginger bugs can be fickle. Sometimes, the bug never gets going and develops mold (throw it out!) Also that the carbonation times vary wildly. I have had that experience, too. With my first bug, it never bubbled wildly. And, it took about 3 weeks for the soda I made with it to get fizzy. That means it’s still a young bug, but with proper care and time, it will develop a healthy yeast colony eventually. Stick with it and you’ll start to understand the rhythm of the bug. Such is the way with wild fermentations (e.g. no starter) like this.

Ginger bug & Ginger Soda
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 qt
 
Ingredients
  • fresh ginger
  • raw organic cane sugar
  • filtered water
Equipment
  • Kitchen scale
Instructions
Start 'er Up- Day 1
  1. Grate 20g (2 Tbsp./30 ml) of ginger and add to a pint- or quart-sized jar.
  2. Add 12g (1 Tbsp./15ml) sugar and 30g (2 Tbsp./30ml) water to jar. Stir together.
Keep 'er Goin'- Day 2
  1. Add 20g (2 Tbsp./30 ml) grated ginger to jar.
  2. Add 12g (1 Tbsp./15ml) sugar and 30g (2 Tbsp./30ml) water to jar. Stir together.
Yer Doin' Grate!- Day 3
  1. Add 20g (2 Tbsp./30 ml) grated ginger to jar.
  2. Add 12g (1 Tbsp./15ml) sugar and 30g (2 Tbsp./30ml) water to jar. Stir together.
Almost there now- Day 4
  1. Add 20g (2 Tbsp./30 ml) grated ginger to jar.
  2. Add 12g (1 Tbsp./15ml) sugar and 30g (2 Tbsp./30ml) water to jar. Stir together.
Should be nice n' bubbly- Day 5
  1. Add 30g (3 Tbsp./45 ml) grated ginger to jar.
  2. Add 18g (1½ Tbsp./25ml) sugar and 45g (3 Tbsp./45ml) water to jar. Stir together.
  3. If not bubbly and active, keep feeding it daily a few more days.
Make Soda: For 1-quart/liter:
  1. Dissolve 2 Tbsp (25g) sugar into 2 cups (16 fl. oz./450 ml) boiling water.
  2. Let cool, or add 16 oz./450 g ice or 16 oz./450 ml cold water to bring mixture temperature down to body temperature or below (98F/37C).
  3. Add cooled mixture and ¼ cup/60 ml of ginger bug to a sealable bottle/container.
  4. Seal lid tightly.
  5. Ferment 2 to 14 days (depends on season) at room temperature, checking on carbonation level daily by "burping" the jar.
  6. Move to refrigerator when it's got the right level of carbonation and sweetness for your taste.
Feed the Bug
  1. To replenish what you take for soda and to keep the culture going, you'll need to replenish the bug.
  2. Grate 20g (2 Tbsp./30 ml) of ginger and add to a pint- or quart-sized jar.
  3. Add 12g (1 Tbsp./15ml) sugar and 30g (2 Tbsp./30ml) water to jar. Stir together.

To give you and your bug a rest, store it in the refrigerator (with the lid on tightly) for up to a few weeks. To re-start, remove it from the fridge, feed it, and let it sit at least a day to regain its activity, before using it to make more soda.

Recipe references:

Bug (Nourished Kitchen)
Soda (Cultured Food Life)

What’s been your experience with ginger bugs? Please share in a comment!

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