I love the name of this ferment!
The name just rolls off the tongue. It’s fun, and it will probably make some of your friends wonder if you’ve been hitting the sauce a little too hard when you start talking about it. But that’s quite alright.
So what is a ginger bug anyway?
Think of it like you would think of your sourdough starter. A ginger bug is a starter ferment, primarily made of ginger and sugar, that can be used as a base for ginger ale, root beer and a whole lot of other gingery things.
What’s the big deal about ginger?
Ginger might very well be one of the coolest super foods we have access to.
It’s a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce swelling and soothe sore muscles. It’s been used for generations as a way to boost immunity, and has proven to be effective against E. coli, RSV and other bacterial infections.
As we head into cold season, having ginger on hand is a good idea for the natural homeopathic enthusiast. A ginger bug can be used to mix up tea to alleviate an upset stomach or to shorten the potency of a virus.
And since ginger is readily available for a reasonable price, there’s no reason not to have it on hand in the kitchen.
Plus, it just tastes good. So don’t forget about it’s culinary benefits either!
How to make a Ginger Bug
- 1 pint jar
- Ginger root, unpeeled
- 2 tbs raw sugar
- Distilled water
Grate 3-4 tablespoons of ginger and put into your jar. Add your 2 tablespoons of raw sugar. Then cover with distilled water.
You’ll want to allow air to circulate for this ferment, so no need to use an air lock. Simply cover the the jar with a paper towel or coffee filter and a rubber band. Make sure it’s snug so no fruit flies can get in.
Everyday you’ll add 2 more tablespoons of raw sugar and ginger to your bug. Then cover with a little more distilled water. After about three days, you should see little bubbles forming. This means your bug is fermenting!
Note: it’s important that your ginger stays below the water, or else your bug can mold due to being exposed to the air. If you see mold forming (and I’ve had this happen) just toss out the bug and start over.
After about a week or so, you should have enough liquid in your bug to start using it for tasty things. Keep feeding your bug daily to experiment with different ginger tonics, sodas and teas.