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29 May 2007

Ginger Beer


This is some ginger beer I made last summer.
I also put up some tomato relish on that same day.
In days gone by, before Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Sprite, women used to make their own soft drinks and cordials. We gave away buying soft drinks years ago as it's full of preservatives and who knows what else. We wanted to know what was in the food and drinks we consumed so we rediscovered a few old fashioned favourites.

This is my recipe for ginger beer, which is made in two stages - making a ginger beer plant, then making and bottling the drink.

GINGER BEER PLANT
In a glass jar - a fowlers or canning jar is perfect - place:
1 dessertspoon of raw (or white) sugar. Raw sugar gives it a better colour
1 dessertspoon ground ginger - you can use raw ginger if you have it
A small pinch of dry yeast - the yeast you use for your bread
300mls rainwater, or tap water that has stood for 24 hours
4 sultanas (golden raisins) - for the wild yeast on the skin (optional)

Stir this together and cover it with a cloth or milk jug cover. It needs air but you don't want dust or insects crawling in. Leave it to sit on the kitchen bench. After about 2 or 3 days, depending on the temperatures in your house, it will begin to bubble and ferment. That is good. Fermentation is a healthy process,
Every day for 7 days, feed the plant 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon sugar, and stir.

TO MAKE THE GINGER BEER
After 7 days take a clean piece of loosely woven cotton cloth, or a clean cotton tea towel and place it over a bowl. Pour the ginger plant into the fabric and twist the top of the cloth to make it into a ball. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can in to the bowl.

Dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 20 cups of water. Add juice of 2 lemons and the ginger mix. Stir and bottle in plastic bottles. Place the caps on the bottles but don't screw them on. Leave the ginger beer on the kitchen bench for a couple of days to ferment a little more, then tighten the caps and place the bottles in the fridge. Placing it in the fridge will slow the fermentation process to almost zero.

WARNING
Ginger beer can explode. It's wise to bottle in plastic and not glass until you know what you're doing.
A NON WARNING
Don't be afraid of making this delicious drink. I have been making this for yonks and it's never exploded, although sometimes it does gush out when I open a new bottle. You really can't tell how fizzy it will be because you'll have different wild yeasts in your home at different times of the year. Some will help the fermentation along, some won't.
If you notice the bottles puffing out, slowly release the lid to let the pressure off.
Serve your ginger beer when it's cold. It will be fizzy, gingery and very refreshing.

12 comments:

  1. Found your blog post while googling ginger beer. It's not easy to find in the US. While I lived in Bermuda it was a key ingredient to one of my favorite libations: the "Dark and Stormy." You pour 2 fingers of Goslings Black rum over ice and fill the glass with ginger beer. Yum. Thanks for the recipe. I may get a Dark and Stormy again soon!

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  2. Rhonda- I am attempting to make your ginger beer. Do you use ground ginger? you can email me at rosecountrylife@gmail.com I have never made any kind of soda and we are excited about making it lol.
    Thanks
    AngelaRose

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  3. One other question. Do you wait 2-3 days for fermentation before adding additional sugar and ginger or do I start adding the ginger and sugar after the first day?
    AngelaRose

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  4. Hi Rhonda -- looking at some of your older posts for fun, and hoping you have a recipe for preserving orange peel! Anyway, I came across this ginger beer post -- and it brought back fond memories, of when we used to camp down in Busselton WA for weeks on end in the early 80's--
    one year my mother made this ginger beer while we were camping, with a used jar for the plant and a baby bathtub to mix everything in. I remember she ran out of sugar at one point, so she fed the plant with sultanas, and the ginger beer turned out wonderful. I'm going to have to try it now, since I can't get decent (or decently priced) ginger beer here in America....thanks!!

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  5. wonderful! i have fond childhood memories of sharing a ginger beer with my grandfather and now i can share it with my kids... fresh and sweet without fake or phony anything...and made in my own kitchen! i always find so many good ideas when i come to your blog. thanks so much :)

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  6. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    I saw a "fermentation bucket" and was wondering if it could be used to make ginger beer? The site says it has a tightly fitting lid (and a hole in the top to put a "yeast tube" (sorry, don't know what this is called) in if you want) - I think it's actually for brewing regular beer. It has a spout in the bottom - I thought it would be handy.

    Thanks,
    Rebekka

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  7. Oops. I meant to include a link with a picture in: (not to advertise - I've never used this site and don't know anything about them!) http://www.hjemmeproduktion.dk/shop/massegaeringsspand-med-259p.html

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  8. What are sultanas? Your recipe sounds so good, but I've never heard of sultanas before.

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  9. hello-great recipe! Just wondering-does this make an alcoholic drink? Could kids have it? Ta

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  10. Nikki, I think sultanas are golden raisins, if that helps. I'm giving this recipe a try myself and looked it up online!

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  11. Made the ginger beer last week on the third attempt! It needed a pinch of dried yeast to get it fermenting over here in the Autumnal Uk! I was apprehensive about whether it would work, oh ye of little faith! I love the shhhh sound as I unscrew the bottle, sounds SO professional! Thanks for the recipe, I shall make it again and again!

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  12. I am in the process of making your Ginger beer recipe... we are on day 4 and it has been bubbling for the last day or two... I can't wait to try the finished product!
    My 5 year old son has been having fun "feeding" the ginger beer - he calls it "our secret experiment" :)

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