How To Make a Ginger Bug

by Meg Cotner on October 4, 2011

ginger bug

I’ve expanded my fermentation repertoire to ginger beer/ale. I love ginger and have enjoyed ginger ale in the past. I don’t care for most commercial ginger ale because it contains high fructose corn syrup. No doubt there are artisanal ginger ales, though, which probably contain sugar in place of HFCS, which would be better. But I really want to learn to make it and determine the sugar content myself.

I’m using the recipe in Wild Fermentation. The way to start the process of ginger ale is to create a ginger bug. This is pretty easy at first glance – grated ginger root and sugar (2 tsp each) are combined with water (1 cup), stir to dissolve the sugar, cover the jar with layers of cheesecloth (I did five layers), then let it sit for a day or so to ferment. Fermentation is evident by bubbles forming on the top layer of the ginger-sugar-water mix.

So far, I’ve seen lots of bubbles. I’ve been feeding it ginger and sugar every other day or so to keep the fermentation up. This week I’ll take the next step toward making ginger ale – more on that later.

This is actually my second ginger bug – two fruit flies found their way into the first one I made. I had few layers of cheesecloth on top of the jar, but I guess they wiggled their way in. Gross.

Bottom photo is the grated ginger root (I grated it with a microplane) and organic sugar. The top photo has the water added to that. I used just tap water (perhaps not the best choice, but it’s what I had). I’m excited to see if it all works out!

This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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