Ginger bug... Ginger plant... Ginger starter! There are a lot of names for this magical jar of microbial goodness (we call it a ginger bug because it's the cutest). It's a cultivated jar of yeast which you can then use to make fizzy drinks, like (of course) ginger beer. In this blog you'll learn how to make a ginger bug to get making your own living fermented drinks!
This is actually one of the only fermented foods or drinks which I know members of my family used to make and take care of regularly. My mum and grandma both remember bowls of bubbling ginger kept in the pantry which would be used to make ginger beer.
You can use this same technique to make bugs from many, many shop-bought or wild ingredients. We've made successful bugs using blends of yeasty ingredients, such as flowers, fruit or ginger, but you could also use unripe pinecones and herbs. A yeasty ingredient is essential since you need a natural source of yeast which you'll then feed to increase the number of yeast. You know that you've got lots of yeast when the mix is bubbly, as yeasts produce carbon dioxide gas as part of their metabolism. One of our current favourite bugs is a Scots pine and lime bug, it smells incredible.
Large glass jar with lid
Fresh ginger, finely chopped x 20g
Sugar (granulated white is ideal) x 20g
Water x 100ml
NOTE: If using a small jar, then reduce ingredients by half.
1. Combine ginger, sugar and water in the jar, replace lid and give it a shake until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Leave bug on your counter top at slightly warmer than room temperature (20-24°C). Swirl or shake gently each day to distribute the yeasts.
3. Add 1tsp of chopped ginger and 1tsp sugar after 48hrs and then twice a week going forward until the bug is bubbly. This should take 3-5 days, but could take longer if working in colder temperatures.
4. When the bug is bubbling you are ready to make a fermented soda or ginger beer! OR just pop your bug in the fridge and feed at least twice a week.
5. Once your bug is well established you can keep it in the fridge and feed once a week.