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…this is how to make fermented ginger beer (ginger wine), but before we get to that, you will need to know how to make a “ginger bug” first…
How To Make A “Ginger Bug” To Make Ginger Beer…
This is the ginger beer version of a sourdough starter.
Pour 1 cup tepid, chlorine-free water into a clean bottle or jar and add 1 large pinch active dry yeast (OR 3-4 organic raisins), 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root, and 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or sugar.
Stir well. Cover with something that breathes, like a piece of cloth fastened on with a string or elastic.
Each day for seven days, add 1 teaspoon grated ginger root and 1 teaspoon honey and stir to dissolve. It should froth very slightly on top after a few days.
After seven days, it should be ready to use!
After you have strained the plant to make the ginger beer (see recipe below), divide the residue in half. Use half to make a new bug for yourself, and the rest to make a new bug to gift to your friends, family or neighbours.
When they are all happily growing their own ginger bugs, you can discard the other half to your compost heap or worm farm.
To make a new bug, rinse out your container, add the halved residue to another 1 cup room temperature water, with 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, and stir to dissolve.
Treat this the same as a new bug: add another 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root and 1 teaspoon honey each day for seven days. Now that your bug has grown for a week, you can make your ginger beer and bottle it.
How To Make Fermented Ginger Beer (Ginger Wine)…
This is not supposed to be alcoholic. However, following the rule of “If it smells like alcohol, it is alcohol”, I would consider this a ginger wine. It’s delicious, but consume as you would beer or wine, not soda.
Firstly, strain your ginger bug through a clean cloth into a jar, reserving both the liquid and the strained plant.
If you use grated fresh ginger, you can strain it through a wire mesh strainer, but doing that with powdered ginger will make a gritty beverage.
To 5 litres water in a very large saucepan, add 3 cups honey, sugar or molasses. Heat gently and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Add the juice of 2 lemons, and the finely grated zest of one of the lemons, plus the liquid from the strained ginger beer plant.
As fresh lemons are not always available, substitute 2 teaspoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. I sometimes forget to add it, and the ginger beer tastes just fine.
As I did not have a pot large enough to hold 5 litres water, I made this with one litre water, divided it evenly between three plastic 2-litre bottles and then added room temperature spring water to almost fill them.
Bottle into clean, plastic bottles, capping loosely so that they do not explode.
Leave to sit on your kitchen bench or in your pantry for 5-7 days, to allow them to ferment a little. You will notice little bubbles rising to the top or clinging to the sides of the bottles after a few days.
At this point, transfer to a cool place to slow fermentation. The longer this sits, the more alcoholic it will become.
At a month old, sip it in small amounts ;-0
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