Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ginger Beer

About three weeks ago I wrote about my attempt at making ginger beer. A non-alcoholic drink naturally carbonated by using yeast. For some time I thought it would fail, the fermentation was not really working. I was going to throw it out but low and behold when I opened the bottle it fizzed. It is delicious, fuzzy and very easy to make. I only wish I had made during summer rather than now when a cold drink is not really needed.

In a glass jar - I used a mason jar add:
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons of dry ground ginger - you can use raw ginger if you have it
A small pinch of dry yeast - the yeast you use for your bread
2 cups of tap water that has stood for 24 hours
4 sultanas (golden raisins) - for the wild yeast on the skin (optional) I did not do this

Stir this together and cover it with a cloth. It needs air but you don't want dust or insects crawling in. Leave it to sit on the kitchen bench. After about 2 or 3 days, depending on the temperatures in your house, it will begin to bubble and ferment. That is good. Fermentation is a healthy process,
Every day for 7 days, feed the plant 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon sugar, and stir.

After 7 days take a clean piece of loosely woven cotton cloth, or a clean cotton tea towel and place it over a bowl. Pour the ginger plant into the fabric and twist the top of the cloth to make it into a ball. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can in to the bowl.
Dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 20 cups of water. Add juice of 2 lemons and the ginger mix. Stir and bottle in plastic bottles. Place the caps on the bottles but don't screw them on. Leave the ginger beer on the kitchen bench for a couple of days to ferment a little more, then tighten the caps and place the bottles in the fridge. Placing it in the fridge will slow the fermentation process to almost zero.

Lessons learned:

I don't often drink juice or pop and this was too sweet for my taste but really delicious. Next time I will make it with half the sugar.

I will also use smaller bottles, going through a 2 litre bottle takes a bit too long even though the ginger beer stays fuzzy for many days.


Powell River Books said...

Glad it was such a success. Sometimes when I try a complicated "experiment" it doesn't turn out so well. I do like gingerale. It sounds somewhat similar. Is the dry ground ginger the same as you buy for baking in the spice aisle? The thing I don't have is refrigerator space to store more than a few small bottles. Can you save the ginger beer plant and mix it with the water and sugar a little at a time? But I guess putting it outdoors this time of the year would do the same thing as putting it in a refrigerator.

I made some canned spiced apples a while back. I tried cutting the recipe for the syrup but I ended up with way too much. It was really tasty so I didn't want to throw it out, especially with all that sugar in it. I got some club soda and mixed a bit of the spiced syrup in. It made a great tasting fall drink. Now that the "extra" is almost gone I'm thinking about making some more to keep in the fridge to enjoy a bit longer.


Anonymous said...

Ginger Beer Plant (GBP) is a symbiotic culture of several microorganisms; it cannot be made. The recipe above is for a simple yeast starter, which should not be confused with the GBP. The beverage created with the yeast starter lacks many of the subtle flavors, aromas, and all the probiotic benefits of GBP.

The best commercial source of GBP in the US is Cultures for Health -