Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Part 2...Making Healthy soda : Ginger beer

Hopefully by now you have been feeding up your ginger beer plant for about 2 weeks with some fresh ginger and sugar everyday. If you missed a day, never mind, just pick up from where you left off.

Your plant should look a little something like this:
Can you see the bubbles?? That's what'll make your drinks fizz!

Each time you add a little more ginger and sugar you should start to get a bit of a reaction, if your 'plant is not bubbling or fizzing about when you stir the sugar in, your plant is not ready. Or possibly you may need to start again, it may be that something was not sterile...

This is the sort of reaction you are looking for- Check out that bubbling action. I love it!

I have been making smaller batches, of about 1.5L- 2L. This gives the family more variety, so we are not stuck all drinking ginger beer for a month and nothing else (most of the recipes i found a couple of years ago made 4-6L batches)! It also allows me to tweak a recipe to their tastes, and try new flavours.

This is the ginger beer recipe that our family likes the best (according to dadda, it's still not as good as bundy ginger beer, so if anyone has a recipe for that, we'd be so grateful:).

Large saucepan
Wooden spoon
Cheese cloth or muslin
Cup measure
enough sterilised bottles to take 2.5L of fluid either swing top or twist top.

4C filtered water
1 Thumb Root ginger chopped 
1 C Brown sugar
1 Vanilla bean
2 Cinnamon sticks broken
1 Nutmeg cracked
6 Cloves
I like to use whole spices as they are easier to sieve out, and do not leave gungia in the actual beer as it brews, but this is just a personal preference.

In your large saucepan place all your ingredients*. 
Bring the water to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Turn off the heat and bring the liquid to room temperature. This may take a few hours, or if you like do it overnight, just keep it covered. This is an important step, if you add the ginger beer plant to the ginger beer mixture while it is too hot, there will be no fizz, you will have killed off all the lacto- bacilli that create the fizz. Fail (dunnit). Then you will never want to do this again. So chill.

Remove the spices with the sieve.

Take your ginger beer plant (the one you have been feeding for the past 2 weeks), use the cheesecloth or muslin the strain 1 cup of liquid from your plant. Retain the ginger pieces in the ginger beer plant and start feeding from week 2 (when you add the cup of water back in, remember?).

Stir in the liquid from the 'plant' into your ginger beer mixture.

Decant into your sterilised bottles using the funnel (take it slowly as this can be a bit messy). 
Make sure to leave about 30mm -40mm breathing space above the liquid (we don't want any explosions!).

This is an example of how much breathing space I leave for my brew.
Then pop the lids on (not super tight), and leave to brew for 4-7 days in a cool dark place (I use my laundry because it's outside, and although I haven't had a top pop off yet, I don't really want to deal with that sort of mess in my kitchen.

Write your date of brew on your bottle, to be sure. Or use cute labels.

Start checking for fizz after 4 days, as it depends on the room temperature. A warmer room will brew faster.

Yay!! Ginger beer! Enjoy!

Oh, and just so you know this is the method I use for all my healthy soda. Just using different flavours.

I'l share The creaming soda recipe next, it is a fave at our place. And just in case you are not really liking ginger beer... the creaming soda is a sweet mild soda. I think you'll enjoy it too!

*You can make a bouquet garni with the herbs to make it easier to take them out when we are finished.

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