Almost everywhere you shop these days, you can find a variety of raw, fermented food and beverages. Cultivating a healthy variety of beneficial gut microbes is now touted to be one of the best ways to prevent, and maybe even cure, a variety of health problems from obesity and diabetes to depression, anxiety and autoimmune conditions. Fermented foods are rich in health-giving bacteria, eager to set up residence in a hospitable colon.
Not everyone can eat a cup of sauerkraut each day however, and the new array of fermented vegetables and drinks at the local health food store can put a real dent in one’s budget. One of the most delicious foods to eat is also one of the easiest to ferment: ginger.
Here’s a simple recipe for the most refreshing ginger ale you’ve ever tasted! If you are nervous to try this on your own, pop over to GingerJuice and join our online women’s forum for a free online demo Thursday, March 24 (replay available for late-comers!).
First make your “Bug:”
1 pint clean water
4 TBS grated fresh organic ginger (peeled first)
4 TBS organic sugar
Shake well to mix and leave at room temperature (70-73 degrees F). Do not put a tight lid on this – simply cover with a loose fitting lid or cloth. Each day “feed” you bug with another tablespoon of ginger and another tablespoon of sugar. Watch for bubbles to start. Once active, you will see fizzy bubbles and the bug will have a pleasant sour, gingery odor.
Now make a big pot of tea:
1 gallon clean water
1/4-1/2 cup of grated ginger
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Simmer gently for 10 minutes in a stainless pot. Allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the juice of 4 lemons or 4 limes, or some of each. Add all but 2 tablespoons of your bug and mix well. Reserve the remaining bug for a new batch. Transfer the contents of the large pot into a gallon jar, preferably with a narrow spout. Cover lightly. Do not put a tight lid on – air bubbles will need to escape.
Wait. The first time you make this it might take a week or longer. Subsequent fermentations of ginger will go more quickly, sometimes as fast as a day or two.
When fermentation appears to be active, taste the brew each day. When the flavor is a tad sweeter than you prefer (the less sweet, the more bacteria you have), you can bottle this in flip-top beer bottles and let sit on the counter for one more day before chilling. This will produce a fizzy drink. If you don’t want to splurge on the fancy bottles, you can keep this in any jar or jug, but bear in mind that canning jars cannot sustain internal pressure caused by fermentation. So if using them, do not keep a tight lid on the product. You will have less fizz, but still plenty of nutritional benefit and deliciousness.