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How To Make A Ginger Bug + Care Instructions & Recipe Suggestions

Ever since learning how to make a ginger bug, I have enjoyed the natural sodas I can use the bug to create even more than water kefir!

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Ginger Bug Starter Guide for Natural Sodas, How-To, Care & Recipe Suggestions

First of all…

What is a Ginger bug?

A ginger bug is a starter culture used to ginger bug sodas–naturally fermented beverages.

Ginger bugs create super fizzy, refreshing sodas such as this pineapple ginger soda. It is also the ultimate choice for anyone struggling with soda addiction. With clean flavors that leave you feeling better than you did before consuming instead of worse, you will be able to say no to soda cravings!

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

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Ginger Bug Starter

Course: Ferment
Keyword: Ginger Bug, Starter Culture
Author: nourishingtime.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 pound fresh ginger (preferably organic, with skin)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (approximately)

Instructions

  • Put a cup of water in your jar, and add 3 tsp grated ginger and 2 tsp
    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.
  • Add 3 tsp ginger and 2 tsp sugar every day, and stir as often as you can.
  • Once your bug starts to fizz, you’re almost there! I suggest closing the jar at this point.
  • Keep repeating Step 2 until it’s really fizzy and hisses at you.

Notes

Sugar: I use brown sugar, but you can also use white. If you choose to use white sugar, I suggest adding a few drops of molasses as well.
Closing jar: Closing the jar during fermentation allows the bubbles to get trapped inside. It can help you determine if your starter is progressing properly.

Now you are ready to start making delicious, naturally fermented sodas that are healthy for you and teeming with probiotics! You can start making your first probiotic soda right away, or close your jar and stick it in the fridge for storage until you’re ready to use it.

How To Use

It is very easy to use your ginger bug to make healthy sodas for you, your family and your friends. Please do share the love & delicious gut bugs! All you have to do is strain out 1/4 cup for every 1-2 quarts of soda you are about to make. My house is kept very warm (78 degrees) and things ferment very quickly, so I use 1/4 cup per quart. If you keep your house 75 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you may need to use more. Experiment and make notes so that you know what works for you!

Mix up the soda you want to make. For example, if you want to make a peppermint lemonade soda, brew the peppermint first. Add the sugar, allow to cool, and then add the lemon juice and the ginger bug. Mix well.

Once your soda concoction is ready, pour into jars. A pitcher with a spout and/or a funnel are very helpful when filling the jars, especially if you don’t have a steady hand.

Swing-top jars are the best jars for making fizzy homemade sodas, but drink jars such as the ones kombucha is sold in at stores will work too. I have used mason jars as well, but sometimes they take longer to get fizzy. The 8.5oz swing-top jars are perfect for individual serving sizes, especially for children.

Caring For Your Ginger Bug

  • Always reserve at least 1/4 cup of your starter and replace as much water as you removed. Also add a tbsp of sugar and ginger. This step is crucial for keeping your ginger bug going. Some people have kept their ginger bugs alive and healthy for years!
  • Leave your bug out for a day so the probiotics propagate well throughout your starter. Then you can resume storing the ginger bug in the fridge.
  • Ideally you will feed it a bit more sugar and ginger every week.
  • Sometimes I 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.

Recipes To Use Your New Starter In!

Pin this post to your fermented drinks board so you don’t lose it, more delicious ginger bug soda recipes are coming very soon!

How To Make A Ginger Bug Pin

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink ginger bug straight?

I would not recommend it at all. The ginger bug is very sugary and a small amount is used to make a much larger amount of actual soda. However, if you want pure ginger goodness you can use it to make ginger beer (click here for the recipe).

What should I do if my ginger bug is not bubbling?

Assess the temperature of your home. If it is warm (greater than 75F, then you should see some form of activity within a week. If your home is on the colder side, leave it close to your stove so that it is warmer. Stirring/shaking more often can sometimes be helpful. You can also try making a turmeric bug using the same instructions, but turmeric tends to be more expensive.

If you have any questions, just let me know. Leave a comment or send an e-mail using the contact form. I’m happy to help you get started because I believe a variety of naturally cultivated probiotic foods & beverages are essential for your health and well being.

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queenie

Wednesday 14th of October 2015

i want to ask the jar, do i need to tighten the jar with lid or just the same as first fermentation of kombucha?

Jo

Wednesday 21st of October 2015

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.

Ms Michelle Grant

Monday 29th of June 2015

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

Jo

Tuesday 7th of July 2015

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.

John MacDowall

Tuesday 22nd of July 2014

Yep! Works better than expected.

Matt Miller

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

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

Thursday 12th of June 2014

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!

groovygrrrl

Friday 28th of February 2014

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!