Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Add to My MSN

Ginger Beer Recipe Remix

12/24/2013 10:05:00 AM

Tags: ginger beer, ginger bug, office projects

Who knew that making a soda so delicious was so darn easy?! This office experiment is our most rewarding yet. I mean, Marlin is cool with his aquaponic system and all, but I definitely don’t want to drink fish water. (See "Office Trials: Aquaponic System.") Our ginger beer is so refreshing, surprisingly effervescent and just plain awesome! So you’d like to know how to make it yourself, right? Well, I will gladly share the steps and recipe with you.

It all started with a little ginger bug. I wanted to make the ginger beer from scratch which means I had to make the yeast or “live” part of the soda. In researching the ginger bug I came across an article from 1981 by none other than MOTHER EARTH NEWS about how to create your own! Always a trusty source.

The following recipe and instructions were loosely based around the article, but I made a few changes to make it my own. You can do the same!

Start a Ginger Bug

1½ cups filtered water
3 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root
3 teaspoons organic raw sugar
1 wide-mouth quart jar
Cheesecloth or coffee filter
Rubberband

Starting your ginger bug is ridiculously easy. Combine filtered water, finely chopped ginger root and organic sugar together in the quart jar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Place cheesecloth or coffee filter over top of jar and secure with rubber band around mouth of jar. This allows the ginger bug to breathe, but keeps out any unwanted debris or creatures!

Daily, for about 7 to 8 days, add 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root and stir. You’ll want to agitate the ginger bug twice a day by stirring to be sure it stays activated. I made the mistake of letting it sit for a day or two without any stirring and it went dormant. It can easily be brought back to life with the sugar, ginger and a little agitation.

You’ll know your ginger bug is ready to use when it starts to fizz upon adding ingredients and stirring. It should take 7 to 8 days, but depending on temperature and other variables, it may take a bit longer. Because I let it go dormant, it took our ginger bug about two weeks to be ready for the ginger beer process.

How to Make Ginger Beer

Ginger bug
3 lemons
¾ cup organic raw sugar
½ gallon filtered water
 ½ gallon container

After your ginger bug is all fizzed and ready to go, you’ll need a larger container to store your ginger beer in. In my case, there is a brewery located conveniently down the road from the office so I bought a growler to make my ginger beer in. It is a glass container and I wouldn’t use any other material for fear of leaching, but you must be very, very careful with glass. When the pressure of the beer builds up it creates perfect conditions for the glass container to blow up! You must release the pressure daily once the beer has been concocted.

To start, strain the ginger bug through the cheesecloth (I found this worked much better as a strainer than a coffee filter) into the container. Be sure to keep the solid parts of your ginger bug! I’ll let you know what to do with it in the following section. Next, juice the three lemons through the cheesecloth to prevent the seeds from going into the mix. Finally add the sugar and fill the rest of the container with filtered water. Be sure to stop about an inch from the top to allow fermenting to occur. Give it a shake, seal the top down tight and put it on the shelf. This should take about 4 to 7 days to be ready! 

As I said before, if you use a glass container be sure to release the pressure daily by opening the lid. You don’t want your bottle to bust everywhere. That would be one sticky mess! After 4 days here, we opened the bottle and it fizzed violently like a shaken soda bottle. It was obviously ready for consumption! Once you get this type of reaction from your ginger beer you’ll place it in the refrigerator to stop any fermentation. Once it’s cooled, it is ready to drink!

Back to the Bug

1½ cups filtered water
2 teaspoons organic raw sugar
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root

To keep your ginger bug alive be sure to keep the solid portion of your ginger bug after straining. Add filtered water, sugar and ginger root back into your quart jar and repeat the steps for keeping the ginger bug. The cycle will keep going as long as you keep your ginger bug active! 

To conclude, I had a great time with this process. It really is a fun soda to make and so easy. Every step was done at my desk… It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (trust me, I’m no chemist either!). If I can make it so can you and it takes no time at all. Over the course of the past three weeks I’ve grown oddly attached to my little ginger bug, and I’m sure to stir it twice a day to keep it kickin’. We’ll be making another batch of ginger beer after the holidays. It may become an office staple.

Stay tuned to the blog! We’ll be posting about our homemade (or office-made) apple cider vinegar, aquaponic system and we’ll keep you updated on our hydroponic system!

Check out the FAIR website at www.MotherEarthNewsFair.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for fun how-tos and FAIR updates! 



Related Content

DIY Ginger Bug and Lacto-Fermented Soda

Make your own “ginger bug” and natural soda from nothing more than ginger root, sugar, water, and fr...

Maple Field Milk: Oh, That 6 Acres

The fields that were laid out in 1843 for livestock farming are teeming with hay-making grasses.

Reader Poll: Which One Sounds Like The Most Fun?

Readers vote on whether they think making beer, mustard or pickles sounds like the most fun, plus wh...

Downy Mildew Variety Trials at Twin Oaks Seed Farm

We are trialing 135 varieties of cucumber, winter squash and muskmelon - with a focus on Downy Milde...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

dreamon
1/30/2014 10:31:56 AM
you do not need to release pressure once in the fridge. The tea strainer didn't do a good enough job with the yeast sediment. Cheesecloth in the strainer worked much better but still isn't quite good enough.

dreamon
1/30/2014 10:27:35 AM
I have tried this a few different times now. The first time I made it exactly as written. I got a nice strong ginger beer, close to a Jamaican ginger beer...so pretty strong on the ginger flavor. That means I liked it and my husband did not.The next time I did a couple things. First I cut the ginger in half, which got a flavor closer to a commercial ginger ale, so hubby liked that one better.Also instead of adding ginger and sugar a little at a time every day I dumped all 8 days worth of ginger in at once and added the sugar a little at a time. it worked fine. This last and third time I dumped all 8 days worth of ginger and sugar in at a time and just waited. That also worked fine. So....the story here is that the care and feeding of the ginger bug need not be nearly the daily care made out to be here. I did use the ferment from the first batch to keep it going. my only remaining problem is that being a one ferment process (even trying to pour off carefully to keep the sediment in the bottom) once I got to the bottling stage I get a lot of yeast ferment that ends up in the bottom of the bottles at the end. this next batch I am going to try racking it off like a wine or cider with a second "sitting" to try and get the cloudy yeast to settle out of it.

texaswalker007
1/9/2014 11:36:02 AM
Do you have to keep releasing the pressure after you put them in the fridge? I can see this as something I would forget to do.

Linda
1/6/2014 3:54:42 PM
I forgot to add that I also strain (with a small tea strainer) the mixture before bottling :)

Linda
1/6/2014 3:51:59 PM
GINGER BEER RECIPE: (no Bug(plant) required, tastes the same.) This quantity will yield about 6 x 750ml bottles. 1 teaspoon dried yeast granules (ACTIVE plain dried yeast-not breadmaker sort of yeast) 2 teaspoon sugar 1/2 cup warm (tap) water 2 cups sugar 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice & the grated Zest 1 teaspoon tartaric acid Some grated fresh ginger (optional) 2 litres of hot water (not boiling) 2 litres of cold water Stir first three ingredients in glass and leave to stand in warm place Measure and mix the remaining sugar, ginger, lemon juice/zest and tartaric acid in a clean bucket/container. Pour over the hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cold water to cool down the mixture. Leave until lukewarm, then add and stir in the yeast mixture. Place lid or cover over bucket/container and leave for 24-36 hours. Then pour into plastic bottles, like you might make home Brew in. The advantage of plastic re-usable bottles is you have no worry about them exploding. Allow 2-3 inch head space at the top of the bottle to allow for easier opening (gasses). Leave in a dark cupboard for 3-5 days before drinking. I normally double this recipe & wait just over a week to drink it.

Bryan Peretto
1/6/2014 9:21:45 AM
Louis is absolutely correct- white sugar will most definitely ferment and turn into alcohol. Yeast are a finicky thing- if you put straight white sugar in water and simply add yeast- it *may* not ferment or ferment completely because yeast also need other nutrients/elements to function at their best. They also prefer other types of sugar (say, maltose) to plain sugar (sucrose). But given the right environment, it'll certainly turn to alcohol. (- Brewer with 14 yrs experience)

NB12345
1/6/2014 9:02:51 AM
If you are worried about the glass, many brew shops have high quality plastic bottles that can handle the pressure. They can e reused as well, I use them for cider.

NB12345
1/6/2014 9:01:03 AM
It is considered a very low alcoholic drink, safe for children to drink. There are many drinks on the market (energy drinks etc) that have a small amount of alcohol in them, though they are sold in convenience stores without issue.

Louis
12/29/2013 3:41:08 PM
Jennifer, your friend is misleading you. Any sugar, white, raw, brown, powdered, will convert to alcohol.

jennifer
12/28/2013 11:35:35 PM
I just read your ginger beer recipe and want to say that using raw sugar will make the beer alcoholic. From past experience I used raw sugar and wondered why I felt tipsy while drinking our first batch with the family. When I related my experience with a work colleague, who I found out makes his own home brew. He informed me that by using raw sugar, this makes the home made ginger beer, lemonade etc. alcoholic. He said, only use white sugar when making ginger beer for the family. Hope this info helps

lperkins
12/24/2013 10:30:33 AM
I had a sample of Ashley's Ginger Beer and it was delicious! This process looks to be very easy, and I will be trying my own version soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe!







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.