If you're making ginger beer with me, today you'll need to feed the beast, and you'll feed it every day for about a week, or for as long as it takes to bubble away beautifully. Make sure it's in a warm spot if you're in the middle of winter. The fermentation of ginger beer will depend on how warm it is in your home and the natural yeasts in the air in your kitchen. The yeasts will settle in the mix and start feeding on the sugar, but they like a warm environment. Our temperatures now are around 30C during the day which is ideal for making all sorts of fermented foods, like ginger beer and sour dough. I looked at my ginger mix yesterday afternoon and noticed very tiny bubbles just starting to come to the surface. That means it's started fermenting successfully. It should smell of ginger and if it develops a slightly alcoholic odour, that's fine, it will be well diluted when we mix our beer up.
My ginger beer plant on the bench yesterday with its cousin, sour dough starter.
I just want to make sure that you all used very clean jars. You want to make sure you're cultivating only the beneficial bacteria and yeasts. It's a good idea before you start to wash the jar thoroughly, then scald it with boiling water. I wish I'd thought to tell you that at the start but if you decide to do this again, make sure you start of that way.
Today, add two teaspoons of ginger and two teaspoons of sugar and stir it in. Then cover the jar and leave it on the bench again. You'll have to feed it that way every day now. I usually let mine go on for about a week by which time it's usually developed a good flavour. You'll make up about six litres/quarts of ginger beer with this mix, so look for some plastic bottles to hold the beer when you make it. Plastic bottles are better because ginger beer can explode. Now before you run off to pour your mix down the sink, it's highly unlikely that a bottle will explode, but you need to be aware that glass bottles have built up so much gas pressure, they've exploded and sprayed their contents all over the place. It's not happened to me but I have had ginger beer swoosh out when I opened the bottle. There are ways around those problems that we'll talk about when we bottle our drinks next week.
Now, two questions for you.
1. Hanno and I have been talking about starting an Etsy shop. I frequently have readers emailing asking if they can buy my bar soap and liquid soap but I'm also going to offer knitted cotton dishcloths, gift packs, seeds and maybe some aprons, tote bags, napkins and assorted odds and ends. It will bring in a little bit of extra money and we'd be able to produce all of the goods here at home. Hanno is keen to help with the packaging and posting, but just this week I taught him to make soap and he's happy to help make soap as well. So, my question to those of you with online store, is there any advise you can give me about setting up a store and selling online?
Hanno's first batch of soap, and the result of his efforts below.
2. I'm currently writing the money chapter in my book. I want to write it for all ages, so what would you like to see in that chapter? I'm particularly interested in the ideas of younger single people, young couples, older people living alone and families with a mortgage.
Thanks to everyone who responds. It's times such as now I really rely on my readers to steer me in the right direction.