It's simple to make, and requires only two ingredients: Fresh, organic fresh ginger with the peel intact, and sugar (see note below). To begin, mince or grate about an inch of ginger and add it to a tablespoon of sugar in a quart jar. Stir together with 2 cups of dechlorinated water (read here about how to dechlorinate your own water). Chlorine can inhibit the kind of growth we're aiming for, and it's easy to remove if you plan ahead.
A note on sugar: The natural fermentation that occurs in the formation of the ginger bug will be more successful if it's fed the trace minerals, particularly iron, that naturally occur in unprocessed sugars like sucanat and rapidura. There are lots of variations on these "evaporated cane juice" type sweeteners. If you are using plain white sugar, you should add a dollop of blackstrap molasses once in a while to beef up the nutrients in order to help the bug grow.
Cover your jar with a cloth and rubber band, so it can breathe but stays free of dust and fruit flies. Give the starter a stir twice a day, and once a day add a teaspoon each of sugar and minced or grated ginger. In a couple days it will start bubbling when you stir it, but it's really ready when you can hear it bubbling before you stir it. It takes about 3 days to mature, or longer in a cold room.
I use about a cup of starter liquid for each gallon-size batch of soda I make, or 1/4 cup of starter per quart for smaller batches. Just pour your ginger bug through a strainer into a measuring cup and it's ready to use. Heat will destroy the enzymes, so make sure whatever you're adding it to has cooled to just warm.
|From Left: Honey Wine, Kombucha, and Rootbeer. The wine & rootbeer were both started using a ginger bug.|
My friend tried making this from frozen ginger and got no action, so the natural enzymes present in fresh ginger might be deactivated by freezing. Also, I've read that the enzymes are in the skin, so I would avoid using peeled ginger, and always buy organic if you can find it.
Shared at Real Food, Friday 5, Flash, Meatless Meal, Super Sunday, Pity Party, Pretty & Delicious, Divine, Tuesday's Table, TGIF, Weekly Creative, Country Homemaker, Pennywise, Greens, Weekend Retreat, Fabulously Frugal, Tuned In, Full Plate, Terrific, Project Inspired, Mostly Homemade, Try A New Recipe, You're Gonna Love It, LHITS, Fluster, Eco Kids, Simple Meals, Fun Party, Small Footprint, What I Am Eating, Wildcraft, Seasonal Celebration, Pin Me, Pintastic, Mangia, One Creative Weekend, Kids In The Kitchen, Mix It Up, Thriving, Clever Chicks, Showcase, Raw Foods, Riverton, Waste Not, Natural Living, Allergy Friendly Friday, Meatless, Weekend Wander, Adorned, Heart & Home, Gluten Free Monday, Your Great Idea, Thrifty, Extravaganza, Backyard Farming, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Wonderful Food, Time Out, Hearth & Soul, Confessional, Show & Tell, Gluten Free Friday, Anti-Procrastination, Strut Your Stuff, Freaky Friday, Healthy 2Day, The Morris Tribe, Rural, Teach Me, Living Green, Traditional, Foodie, Green Resource, Frugal Food, Tasteful, Allergy Free Wednesday, Simple Lives, Totally Tasty, Homestead Barn Hop, Sweets For A Saturday, Fit & Fabulous, What's Cooking, Simple Lives, Frugal Days, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent, Carnival Of Home Preserving, Melt In Your Mouth, Seasonal Inspiration, and Wellness Weekend.