How To Make A Ginger Bug [For Naturally Fermented Soda]

Posted November 20, 2017 by Lauren Dibble in Recipes / 3 Comments

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How to make a ginger bug, a naturally probiotic soda drink

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.

How to make a ginger bug, a naturally probiotic soda drink

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!

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

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!

ginger bug ginger ale soda health benefits

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
  • lemonade
  • 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:

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How To Make A Ginger Bug [For Naturally Fermented Soda]
This naturally fermented soda starter is super easy to make and contains all of the probiotic-y goodness you'd expect from lacto-fermentation.
How to make a ginger bug, a naturally probiotic soda drink
Course Drink
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 7 days
Course Drink
Prep Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 7 days
How to make a ginger bug, a naturally probiotic soda drink
To Make The Ginger Bug
  1. Grate the fresh ginger and place in a mason jar.
  2. Add the sugar and water and stir with a non-metallic spoon.
  3. Cover with a cheese cloth, coffee filter, or paper towel.
  4. Let sit on your counter for the next 7 days, adding 1 Tbsp ginger and 1 Tbsp sugar daily.
To Make A Ginger Soda
  1. Mix 1/4 cup ginger bug and 1 quart of fruit juice or tea.
  2. Transfer to a seal-able bottle.
  3. Leave on your counter for 3 days to continue the fermentation.
  4. Transfer to the refrigerator before opening.
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3 responses to “How To Make A Ginger Bug [For Naturally Fermented Soda]

    • Lauren Dibble

      Let me know how it works for you! I’m always eager to improve my recipes or add some more advice for readers! Thanks for stopping by!

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