How To Make A Ginger Bug

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I first learned how to make a ginger bug from Jane in the Fermenter’s Kitchen Facebook group. Since then I have enjoyed the natural sodas I can use the bug to create even more than water kefir! It creates a super fizzy and refreshing soda and is the ultimate choice for anyone struggling with soda addiction!

The best part is that it is very easy to make. All you need is a jar, ginger, sugar, and a little time (about 5-7 days).

Ginger Bug Starter

1 cup water
FRESH Ginger WITH SKIN (get at least 1/2 lb)

1. Put a cup of water in your jar, and add 3 tsp grated ginger and 2 tsps of sugar and stir, stir, stir! You want to incorporate LOTS of bubbles. If you just slice the ginger finely, it will still be OK.

2. You are going to be adding the 3 tsp ginger and 2 tsp sugar every day, and stirring as often as you remember to incorporate more bubbles.

3. Once your bug starts to fizz, you’re almost there! Keep following Step 2 until it’s really fizzy and hisses at you. Then you can start using it to make sodas right away or close it and stick it in th fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Caring For Your Ginger Bug

  • Always reserve at least 1/4 cup and replace water as much as you removed so you can keep your bug going. Some have had theirs for years!
  • Try and remember to feed it once in a while. I’m bad at this! I sometimes forget to feed mine for weeks and it gets really alcoholic but it still makes great soda. If I want the hint of alcohol gone, I’ll pour out most of the liquid (maybe leaving a tbsp) and all the ginger, add lots of fresh ginger and a couple tablespoons of sugar and let it sit out and get bubbly again. But most of the time I just use as is.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite soda recipes in the weeks to come, so get started on your ginger bug and stay tuned!

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    • Jo says:

      I am pretty sure honey will work, the bacteria in ginger bug love it! (I’ve used it for fruit ferments before). I have read it may get started more slowly, and in my opinion it may turn towards alcohol more quickly.

      I will try and experiment next week, if you try it out before I do let me know how it goes! Also less processed sugar like sucanat/Rapadura is another great option. I use a mix of brown sugar and a touch of blackstrap molasses right now.

  1. Susan says:

    Hi , I was just wondering if anyone ever ended up trying this with honey. We don’t have any sugar in the house and I would hate to buy it for such a small amount.

    • Jo says:

      Either one would work just fine! The important part is stirring vigorously as often as you can :) I personally keep mine closed in a Boss Pickler, it allows some of the gas buildup to get out.

  2. Meg says:

    The actual bug in the ginger bug… It’s probably a mix of bacteria and yeast? I ask bc I have tested for an antibody reaction to both brewer’s and baker’s yeast, so I need to stay away from both for awhile. I love fizzy though, and having to drop kombucha is a bummer for me. I’m wondering about this as an alternative, but figured as in much of fermentation, I’d still be getting the yeast.

    • Jo says:

      It is a mix of bacteria and yeasts. I encourage you to buy a Boss Pickler or similar fermenting vessel and make your ferments in those. It has reduced or eliminated reactions to ferments for many people. It is a more controlled environment, and will help you get the good bacteria you need to clear that issue up. Because Kombucha is aerobic, it will always contain random strains based on where it’s brewed and what’s around. You can read more about the Boss Pickler by clicking here.

      I have also heard of using whey to make sodas, but I have not tried it yet so can’t say how well it works as far as fizz/taste. Hope that helps :)

      • Marlene Taylor says:

        Whey works great! And it usually takes a week to 3 weeks to get to super bubbly (depends on heat). I use the whey leftover from making soft cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella. You just have to be patient if using whey.

  3. Jessica says:

    I have tried making a ginger bug twice now. I was hoping to make the pineapple ginger soda for Christmas. They started to get fizzy about 4-5 days in. It seems after continuing to adding to it for day 5, 6, and 7, it loses it’s fizz. I went ahead and bottled it today and will leave it out for a day or two, but I’m getting bummed because I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong or if it’s normal.

      • Jo says:

        You can definitely try capping it. I do mine in an airlock vessel so much of the air does stay in. And in the fridge I’ve been keeping it with a regular lid so pretty much all the bubbles stay in (but do remember to burp it every now and then!). Also make sure you are stirring vigorously. And if you use white or light brown sugar, you can try adding some molasses. Another thought is whether or not you’re leaving the ginger’s skin on, that helps as well :)

  4. Robbin R says:

    Please help! I have been so excited to use this but my bug is 10 days old and still isn’t fizzy. What do I do? Also, does it make a difference if my bug is covered or should it be uncovered? I had it covered for about 4 or 5 days.

    • Jo says:

      Leave it uncovered at first if you aren’t using a jar that allows air to escape.

      If you aren’t using a dark brown sugar, you can try adding some molasses. That worked for me.

      It may also take a bit more time this time of year because of the cold, you can try storing it on top of the fridge, near the stove, or in some other warm area and see if that helps :)

  5. groovygrrrl says:

    OMG I love The Fermenter’s Kitchen! Great use of social media. They are so helpful and I think Jane is awesome. She’s always helpful and encouraging. :) Thanks for this recipe. I often misplace mine. I can’t wait to try your pineapple soda version! Yay!

  6. Matt Miller says:

    Interesting. I’m beginning the bug tonight! I had some fresh mint on hand…it’s a “chocolate” mint varietal that I’m growing. I decided to pinch it back and had about a heaping tablespoon of stems/leaves. I didn’t bother chopping them…just added them to my jar. Gave it a good shake and loosened the lid. Let’s see how it goes! Have you ever tried bottling and letting it carbonate a couple of days and then pasteurizing it? I ferment cider and brew beer, so I have the stuff to try it. Did a Mexican Tepache recently and that turned out very well.

    • Jo says:

      One of the things I love about these ferments is the live active cultures that provide a cheap probiotic! So, I do not pasteurize :) But I do bottle it up and let it carbonate to make a natural, healthy soda. I haven’t tried tepache…yet!

      • Matt Miller says:

        Cool, Jo! Try the Tepache! You don’t have to add beer and the longer it ferments, the more alcohol is produced. But after around 60 hours, there wouldn’t be much, but the fermentation process should be started well enough to carbonate. To me, it’s too sweet, so I mix with beer, but you could use ginger ale instead.

        One warning about bottling sweet stuff: if you don’t pasteurize, you could get a bottle bomb. Once carbonated to your liking, refrigerate and don’t let it warm up again or the yeast/cultures could revive and cause the same. You may know this…but I don’t want anyone that is new to doing this to get hurt!

  7. Ms Michelle Grant says:

    I would love to try, but I absolutely cannot have ANY alcohol. Is there a wy to really have it alcohol free?

    • Jo says:

      You can test with a hydrometer (click here for more info). If I have it as soon as it’s ready, I don’t taste any alcohol at all. The longer something ferments, the more alcohol is produced. So you may want to make in small quantities that you’d enjoy quickly.

    • Jo says:

      I prefer to tighten it, but it is easier to get it going first before doing so to capture the wild bacteria/yeasts in the air.

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