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What is a Ginger Bug?
A ginger bug is a naturally fermented soda starter made from ginger, sugar and water. That’s it!
This simple, easy recipe will walk you through making a natural carbonated drink full of probiotic-y goodness! In like 5 minutes!
When you make your ginger bug, you’re using ginger and sugar to capture the natural yeast in the air around you and begin the process of fermentation. Fermentation was the original way of preserving foods before electricity or canning.
Health Benefits of a Ginger Bug
If you haven’t jumped on the fermented foods bandwagon yet, you should!
Some of the healthy by-products of lacto-fermentation are B vitamins, antioxidants, and lactobacilli (probiotics). Lacto-fermentation simply means a fermentation caused by lactobacillus, a naturally occurring bacteria. This is also called wild fermentation – where natural yeasts and bacteria contribute to the process of fermentation, not artificially introduced yeast, like a beer.
Fermented foods are alive – teeming with thousands of probiotic cultures, yeasts and good bacteria! They should be an important part of our health regimen, as they feed the good bacteria in our gut and help maintain overall digestive health.
If you want to learn more about lacto-fermented foods, I highly recommend Herbal Academy‘s short course on herbal fermentation! It’s absolutely the best class I’ve found for the beginner ferment-er. They teach you how to brew herbal beer (like my lavender lemon balm ale), water kefir, kombucha, and more. Click the banner below to learn more!
You may worry about all of the sugar in this recipe and think about using brown sugar or molasses instead. But the sugar is for the bug, not you! The sugar is what the yeast feeds on, producing lactic acid and probiotics as a by-product.
I haven’t experimented with other types of sugar, but most other blogs out there say that white sugar works the best.
Do me a favor! Try brown sugar or molasses or honey and let me know if it works or not!
How To Make A Ginger Bug
This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Simply combine freshly grated ginger, sugar and filtered, un-chlorinated water in a mason jar. (I like these wide-mouthed quart-sized mason jars.) Stir and cover!
Daily, you’ll visit your baby bug and add more sugar and more ginger and stir it.
If you notice a little bit of mold growing on the top, simply scoop it out.
After 7 days, you’ll be able to transfer it to the fridge and only add to it once a week to keep it alive. Just like a sourdough starter.
How to Make Soda With a Ginger Bug
When you’re ready to make your naturally fermented soda with your soda starter (aka ginger bug), all you have to do it mix together 1/2 cup ginger bug starter with 1 quart of fruit juice or tea. Then store them in a seal-able bottle (these flip tops are my favorite).
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- cranberry juice
- hibiscus tea
- sweet tea
- blueberry juice
- apple juice
- chai tea
- mint tea
- orange juice!
**just make sure to not use juices or teas that have preservatives in them. It’s best if you can make them yourself at home, or buy them raw!
I’ve made a brief youtube video to walk you through the process if you’re more of a visual learner: