GINGER BUG AND METAL:
You will often hear that you should not use metal utensils while making ginger bug. Although this holds some truth, it has been greatly exaggerated! Ginger bug gets very acidic, if left in contact with metals for long periods of time, in theory it could degrade and rust the metal. That metal would then end up in the ginger bug and eventually in you. However, using a stainless steel strainer/sieve or spoon while making ginger bug will not cause any problems. The contact time between the metal utensils and ginger bug will always be very short. Never leave anything metal in contact with ginger bug for long periods of time.
You need something to keep your ginger bug in. We recommend using something glass. Glass is much easier to clean and keep sterile. Plastic tends to degrade over time and is prone to scratches which can harbour unwanted bacteria. Plastic also carries a risk of chemical contamination from the materials contained inside of it such as BPA. A glass kilner style jam jar is perfect to use.
You will also need a fine strainer (the type used with tea) and a stirring spoon. For a sludge free ginger bug, we recommend that you strain the mixture through a paper filter, the type used for coffee is perfect.
You also need something to cover your jar with. We recommend paper kitchen towels as they are easy to discard and replace. You can also use a muslin cloth or similar if you wish. Rubber bands also come in handy to secure the cover to the jar.
A LARGE PAN (MUST HOLD 4 LITRES):
A large stock pot works well.
A LEMON SQUEEZER:
To get the most juice of out fresh lemons, warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds and kneed them gently on a worktop. Then cut in half and squeeze the juice out.
You also need some bottles to store your ginger bug in. We recommend using plastic bottles. Ginger bug gets very fizzy. Make sure you use BPA free plastic.
It is useful to get a plastic funnel to help pour the liquid into the bottles.
GLASS/PLASTIC MEASURING JUG:
It is also useful to have something to decant your strained mixture into. Glass or plastic measuring jugs are perfect.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED?
You only need 4 ingredients to make ginger bug: ginger, water, fresh lemons and sugar. Dried ginger powder works best.
Boil 300ml of water. Allow it to cool and add to your jar. Add four teaspoons of sugar (20g) and one teaspoon (5g) of ginger powder and stir well. Place your ginger bug into the jar, stir gently and cover the jar. Leave it for 24 hours at room temperature (21 degrees celsius). You should notice the mixture will start to bubble and show signs of life within a few days.
Each day, for the next 7 days, you will need to feed the ginger bug two teaspoons of sugar (10g) and one teaspoon (5g) of ginger powder. Stir the mixture well each time you add the sugar and ginger.
THE FIRST BREW:
You will need:
• 300 Grams of sugar (you may need to increase/ decrease this based on your tastes)
• 3 Litres of boiling water
• Juice of 2 lemons (to lower the ph of the liquid and stop mold growing)
1. Strain the ginger bug liquid into a separate container. Retain the sediment of the ginger bug to make your next batch with.
2. Add 3 litres of water to the large pot and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and stir so that it dissolves.
3. Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons and add to the pan of boiled water.
4. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
5. Add the ginger bug liquid you strained off earlier.
Always make sure the water has cooled. Hot water will kill the ginger bug!
BOTTLING THE GINGER BUG:
It is now time to bottle your brew. If you want to increase the alcohol content, you can also add more sugar at this stage.
Using your plastic funnel, pour the mixture into your bottles, and seal them. Place the bottles at room temperature for 2-4 days. Check the bottles each day. Once they become firm, they are ready.
It is important if using glass bottles to check and burp (release some of the gas build up) daily to minimise the risk of explosions.
The ginger bug is now ready to drink. Place your bottles in the fridge to cool. Be very careful when opening the bottles. Ginger bug produces an extremely fizzy beverage that is prone to exploding out the bottle.
THE NEXT BATCH:
Take the ginger bug sediment that was strained out previously and divide it in half. Take one half and place it back into the original jar you used to ferment the ginger bug in. Add 4 teaspoons of sugar (20g) and one teaspoon of powdered ginger (5g). Boil 300 ml of water and allow it to cool back to room temperature (21 degrees celsius). Once cooled, add it to the jar and stir well. Repeat the process again feeding your ginger bug for 7 days.
WHAT DO I DO WITH THE EXTRA GINGER BUG SEDIMENT?
Traditionally, ginger bug was always split and shared with friends. If you do not wish to do this, you can dry it out by pasting a thin layer onto tin foil of filter paper and leaving it to dry fully (around 4 days). Store the dried ginger bug is a sealed container for up to 6 months.
MY GINGER BUG SHOWS NO SIGNS OF LIFE:
Sometimes it can take a little longer for your ginger bug to start fermenting. Factors such as cooler temperatures can often come into play in this scenario. We advise that you put your ginger bug in the warmest place you can find. Continue to see the daily feeding regime through for the full 7 days and continue this for up to 10 days if required. If at this stage, you still see no sign of life (bubbles), please get in touch with us!
If you have more than one fermenting food culture at home, we recommend that you keep them at least 1 metre apart from each other at all times. This is to stop cross contamination of the different cultures. If you are working with dairy in particular, this is very important. Please contact us is you require further assistance with fermenting more than one culture.