Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Healthy Soda Paradox

There is so much going on around the place with this fermented foods Phenomenon. Pheeew! That is a mouthful.

I really hadn't thought much about it until I realised I was already part of it.
Say hello to my little friend

Strange I knew what I was doing was good for digestion, but I thought that it was more about the ginger I was using, not the fermentation. You know... anytime you have an upset tummy someone offers you ginger something or other. I remember this from my second pregnancy, "ginger will help with that", "have you tried those ginger pregnancy lollipops"... I smiled and listened, but, I don't much like ginger.

Dadda however, likes him some Bundy gingerbeer. I enjoy a taste. Brother bear Looooooves it. Bunny likes anything sweet.

We rarely had softdrink/ soda when we were growing up. I don't know who to thank there, frugality, or my hippy mother (you wouldn't know it to look at her- but she is).

We would have water, or milk. On the odd occassion or celebration mum would but these huge tins of golden circle 100% juice, and then to make it really spesh we got to use a soda syphon to fizz it up. Yaaay! Well at least at the time it was fun at the time.
 A couple of years ago we caught a flight to see my Grandparents. I miss them a lot. Especially my Grandma, we get on well.
I love to hear about when she was young and married, what she used to bake (eclairs, vanilla slices, all those things that were delicious and too expensive to enjoy regularly way back when). This last visit she was telling me about the gingerbeer that she used to make for my Grandfather. He loved the stuff. So she shared her secret.
This is just about all you need- Simple, Right?
When we got back I was chatting to a friends father and gingerbeer came up. He told me about how he remembered his mum and sister taking the ginger root out of the garden to make ginger beer and using brown sugar. He couldn't recall the recipe, just shared his precious childhood memories.

Well this had me intrigued. The recipe Grandma gave had used yeast with powdered ginger. The new one seemed more... authentic.

So I googled, as we all do to find out more. All I could find were recipes using yeast and powdered ginger.
I decided to follow their recipes with the ginger root and no yeast.

It works.

I'll share what I do. So you can too.

Tools and equipment:

Glass jar (approx 1L- 1.5L)
grater or sharp knife
cloth to fit over the mouth of your jar
and a rubberband to hold it there
wooden spoon

Ginger root and brown sugar ready to stir in

Ginger root
Brown sugar
Filtered water (I just use cooled boiled water)


  1. Sterilise all equipment. I wash mine and then put through the dishwasher and then sit them in boiling water. I know it seems like overkill, but you do not want one speck of anything left as it will cause bad fermentation instead of fermenting the good lacto bacilli that is found on the ginger root.
  2. Pour 2 cups or 500ml of your filtered or cooled boiled water into sterile glass jar.

Grate or finely chop 1 teaspoon of the ginger root (I grate mine directly into the jar, save dirtying the chopping board).
Plop 1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar (you can use white, I don't think it actually matters what type of sugar, so long as you feed the lacto bacilli sugar).

Stir with your wooden spoon, don't worry if the sugar does not dissolve, just stir to distribute it throughout the water.

Check that Fizz!
Cover the mouth of you jar with the clean cloth (about the thickness of muslin or a handkerchief), pop the elastic band around to keep it in place. If you use the jars lid it will suffocate your 'plant', you just want to keep the bugs and dust out.

Each day at about the same time add another teaspoon of ginger and sugar in the same way for about 7 days. You may notice some bubbles or a little fizz. I do mine before I pack the dishwasher after dinner. It is something that I do everyday, so this is where it fits well into my routine. Just find where it will fit into your daily routine and you wont even notice it.

A couple of seconds a day makes for a pretty easy drink.

After 7 days of adding 1 teaspoon each of ginger and sugar, double your plant by starting at step 2 again. Add the water to the jar again, and this week add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Stirring with your wooden spoon.

Next week I'll share my recipe for ginger beer.

But that's not all this plant can do. We have been enjoying strawberry soda, creaming soda, lemonade, fanta, and this week I'm going to try some passionfruit soda!

So get to making that ginger beer plant, and by the time it's readily fizzing, you'll have a couple of recipes to choose from to make some soda- cheap as.

Oh, you might want to start saving bottles with twist tops on them now, I use Dadda's 340ml JD bottles (that's what is readily available for me to recycle). You could just pick up a couple of swing top water bottles at the cheap shop, I use them too.

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