The Natural Buzz / Lacto-Fermentation
Our recipe is from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. I really like this little book which is full of great information on fermenting for the beginner. And since I’m a beginner, and you might be a beginner, it’s perfect!
I recommend using glass jars simply because metal and plastic can the process of fermentation can leach things out of your container. Glass or ceramic are best. A jug like this…and I’ll be picking up a few cases of these next week from our honey jar people so you can get one from me next week if you need one. They’ll be about $4.25 each and will have a lid. You can also get one from the grocery store that is filled with apple juice and just reuse it!
On to the recipe!!
3 cups honey
3qts water (remember to use de-chlorinated and you can see how to do that here)
1 cup Ginger Bug (learn to make one here)
1 gallon jar or ceramic crock
1 gallon glass jug or carboy
Balloon (not Mylar lol) or airlock
Bottles or jars that can be sealed
A funnel for bottling
I’ll go on through the whole process of how to make it soon but since not everyone has picked up their honey we have a little time and I'm getting ready for the show this weekend. In the meantime, get your equipment together and start your Ginger Bugs!
As a little girl I remember my great grandmother giving us Ginger Soda to calm our tummies when we were sick. Even now, when my little one gets sick I always think of Ginger Ale as the go to for a stomach ache. However, the Ginger Ale that is in the store has precious little ginger in it, not to mention all GMO’s and preservatives. Here are the ingredients to a very popular store bought ginger ale.
GINGER ALE SODA
INGREDIENTS: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and 2% or Less of each of the Following, Concentrated Juices (Pineapple, Orange, Passionfruit, Apple), Purees (Apricot, Papaya, Guava), Citric Acid, Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavor, Pectin, Acacia Gum, Gum Ghatti, Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Red 40, Blue 1, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives) and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
I don’t think this is the same thing my great grandmother gave us! Since I’ve gone on the “if my Great Grandmommy wouldn’t recognize it as food I’m not eating it” kick, soda (which I’d already sworn off) is going to make a comeback in our household. Lacto-fermented soda, that is!
Lacto-fermentation is a nifty way to convert sugars to carbon gas and lactic acid, which is amazing for digestion and many other health issues. It’s full of probiotics so you won’t feel bad letting your children indulge in a sweet treat! When Grandmommy gave us the Ginger Soda this is what she gave us.
Here is the basic recipe. (You can tweak this to make any kind of soda you like. Ginger, grape, apple, blackberry, let your imagination run wild!!!)
First make your Ginger Bug (click here for instructions in case you’ve not made yours yet)
Chop up your fruit (about a cup for fruit or ½ cup for ginger) and cover it with 2qts of water. Boil. Add 1.5c Raw or Wet Honey. You can also use sugar if you like. Stir until honey or sugar is dissolved.
Allow to cool. When it’s cool (remember too hot kills your Ginger Bug) strain into a 1 gallon glass jar. Add about a cup of your Ginger Bug and de-chlorinated water (instructions on how to de-chlorinate your water). Fill to about and inch below the shoulder of the jar.
Cover with a cloth to keep dust and insects out but allowing it to breathe. Stir twice daily for 3 days and on the 3rd day you should be able to hear it bubble when you stir. When it bubbles a lot during stirring and you can hear it bubble even before you stir it’s ready to bottle!
You can use spring loaded glass bottles or just plain mason jars, as long as they make a good seal. Bottle them up and let the carbonation build. Leave them at room temp for about 24 hours before you refrigerate. They’re ready to drink once they’re chilled! Just make sure that you don’t forget about them because carbonation continues to build slowly in the refrigerator. And use caution when you open them. Think Champagne Bottle! Enjoy!!!!
Are you looking to maintain a healthier gut? Many people take a pro-biotic in the form of a pill or by eating yogurt but there is a delicious way to incorporate lacto-fermentation into your diet by making a fizzy, fruity natural soda or even a honey wine. This starter is rich in Lactobacillus (necessary to a healthy gut and tied to a healthy immune system) but you can also use whey if you choose.
Making your Starter (Ginger Bug) This will be what begins the fermentation process and you can use it as a starter for many other things as well.
Start with a piece of organic ginger root, unpeeled and raw, organic sugar. That’s it.
The more raw the sugar the better because it contains trace minerals which will help your bug to bubble! And be sure to use organic ginger because conventional ginger is irradiated, which kills lactobacillus.
Mince or grate your ginger and place it in a clean jar with about a TBSP of the sugar. Then add a 2 cups of non-chlorinated water (chlorine will inhibit fermentation) and stir. (You can de-chlorinate the water by either boiling and then allowing to cool or by leaving it to sit out overnight so the chlorine can dissipate.)
Cover with a thin cloth and place a rubber band around it so it can still breathe but keep out fruit flies and dust.
Stir it twice a day and feed it a tsp each of sugar and ginger. After a couple of days you should hear it start to bubble when you stir it. When you start to hear it bubble BEFORE you stir it then you know it’s ready! This will take longer in a cold room so keep it somewhere cozy but not in direct sunlight because heat will destroy it as well.
When adding this to the recipe be sure the liquid has cooled completely (slightly warm is okay) because heat will destroy the enzymes.
I’ll post the recipes for the wine and soda later today.