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This last six months or so, I’ve been kind of fascinated and obsessed with fermented things. It started with sourdough many years ago. It moved firmly into kefir  & sauerkraut  this fall and now into mildly alcoholic brews, namely ginger ale.

Justin & I gave up commercial soda in August, but occasionally we crave a sweet fizziness, and what perfect time to enjoy something healthy, fizzy and sweet than in the wintertime when all one can do is stare out the window, dreaming of summer.

My friend MaryEllen (to whom I still owe some promised kefir grains, and will hopefully send very soon) shared a ginger bug recipe with me a few months back, and this is my second attempt. My first try molded, so I had to throw it out.

The recipe is pretty simple: 1:1:1 minced ginger, sugar & filtered water. I used 2 Tbs each day for 5 days (missed one day, see more on that in a moment).  After this gets good and bubbly, then I’ll make the ginger ale.

ginger_bug2

What I’ve learned so far:

  • Feed the bug fresh ginger more often if it is warm. If you miss a day when it’s cold, it’s really no big deal.
  • Stir the bug frequently, like, maybe every time you see it. Keep it where you see it. Because my house is on the cooler side than most people I know (55-60F), I keep mine on top of the stove to take in a little ambient heat during cooking.
  • Use cheesecloth to cover the jar, not a lid.
  • If you keep it in your cold gas oven, don’t forget it’s there. Also, be sure to remove the pie plate of water that you used to help your sourdough gain its crispy crust a few days back, because that dark, warm, humid environment is perfect for mold, and not so perfect for ginger bug.

ginger_bug3

They’re hard to see here, but if you click on the image to expand it, you can see the tiny bubbles, or “bacteria farts” that indicate the bug is becoming active. This photo was taken just after I fed it, so the activity is a little short compared to when it was hungry.

I’ll update as I can (I hope!) with new info, assuming I do not kill this one too.

Happy New Year-ing!