A ginger bug is a cultured slurry of wild yeast and wild bacteria made from fresh ginger root and sugar. This is a starter culture very similar to the scoby used in making kombucha tea, the “grains” for making homemade kefir and starter sourdough culture for making bread.
The wild yeast and bacteria strains in the ginger bug consume the sugar and then emit carbon dioxide, which creates a bubbly effervescent drink, that is rich in beneficial bacteria and yeast to help balance your delicate tropical rain forest otherwise known as your gut. I truly believe that our gut is actually our primary or primitive brain. The results for balancing the gut microbiome consists of clearer thinking, balanced mood and emotions, optimal functioning digestion, iron clad immune system, clear skin, deeper sleep and more natural energy.
The ginger bug is a base used for traditionally cultured fermented beverages such as Mint Soda, Lemon Ale, Ginger Ale, homemade Root Beer, homemade Soda Pop and other fermented fruity soda's. Homemade sodas using the ginger bug are much more fizzy and effervescent than even double fermented kombucha! Kids and adults love them.
Ingredients and Kitchen Items to Make a Ginger Bug (And Homemade Soda)
- 1-2 fresh ginger roots
- 1/2 cup organic sugar, like this one
- 2 cups filtered water
- Pint or Quart size mason jars, like these
- Flip top bottles, like these
- Peel and chop your ginger root into small pieces
- Add 2 teaspoons of each: chopped ginger, water and organic sugar to mason jar. Do this each day for the next 5-7 days stirring each time.Stir with a non-metal spoon or spatula
- Cover with a cloth or coffee filter using a rubber band
- The culture becomes active when you see bubbles forming on the top. It will naturally have a sugary and yeasty smell to it by day 7-8. If it doesn't you may need to discard and start over
- Keep all cultures on your counter a couple of feet apart to avoid cross culture contamination
How To Use Your Ginger Bug
- Once your ginger bug is active you can add the base to make homemade soda's with the ratio of 1/4 cup of ginger bug starter to 1 quart of diluted juice, root beer, ale's and other soda's. Here is my homemade soda pop recipe.
- Mix the bug and your juice or ale well and transfer to a flip top bottle and allow to ferment on the counter for 3-9 days. The longer it ferments the more sour and less sweet it will be and it will be more beneficial to you.
- Note: let the CO2 escape each day buy flipping open the top and resealing.
How to Continue Feeding Your Ginger Bug
- On the counter method: Add 1 teaspoon of each two times a week: chopped ginger, water and organic sugar to mason jar, stirring each day and keeping a breathable lid on.
- Allowing it to “rest” in the fridge method: Add 1 teaspoon of each one time per week: chopped ginger, water and organic sugar to mason jar, stirring each day and keeping a breathable lid on. To reactive the ginger bug, let it set on the counter and feed daily to revive.
Keep In Mind The Sugar is For Them, Not You
When I'm talking with clients on how to make fermented foods, many gasp at the thought of using white sugar. But keep in mind, this is the calorically dense food to feed the beneficial yeast and bacteria that then creates the rich amounts of vitamins, minerals and beneficial microbes needed to balance your health – therefore, the fermentation process, virtually leaves this fermented beverage free of sugar.
This recipe and all my fermenting recipes are adapted from two of my favorite go-to books: