Home-made Healthy Ginger Beer

Ginger beer isn't a new beverage, but recently has become a very popular drink.  The problem is that the store-bought version is loaded with a ridiculous amount of sugar.  With this homemade recipe, you can enjoy a healthy take on this tasty beverage, with a fraction of the sugar.  As an added bonus, since this version is fermented, you are actually helping your digestive health!  

***As a side note: this recipe may seem like a lot of work, if fermenting is a new concept for you, but I assure you that after you get it going, this is a very low-effort recipe!  

NOTE: The fermentation process does not consume 100% of the sugar and this will continue to ferment at room temperature.  Storing a completed batch of ginger beer at room temperature can lead to explosions, especially if stored in a glass container.  It’s best to store this in swing-top bottles, in the fridge, which will slow/stop the fermenting.  This is true of virtually every fermented non-alcoholic fermented beverage.  Following this process above will allow you to ferment safely and easily.

There are two parts to the process – the first small fermentation (starting the ‘bug’) which is similar to a started for sour-dough, and then a secondary fermentation to make the actual ginger beer.

Ginger Beer Ingredients

  1. Filtered Water
  2. Raw Ginger (a large piece about 8 inches long)
  3. 1 1/2 cups of organic sugar (do not use sugar substitutes like stevia!  You actually need real sugar for this recipe!)
  4. 2 organic lemons 

Ginger Beer Instructions

  1. To start the bug, place 1 cup of filtered room-temperature water in a glass jar or bowl (I prefer a one-gallon mason jar).  Using unfiltered tap water will interfere with the fermentation process, due to the chlorine content.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger.  Stir well.
  3. Cover loosely with cheesecloth and rubber band around the edges; I use a double layer.  Do not use lid on top of jar.
  4. Store in a warm, dry place.
  5. Add ginger and sugar (the same amounts) every day, stirring after.  Repeat until your contents become fizzy (you’ll be able to see it and hear it).  This should take a couple of days, depending on the temperature of your home.  The cooler the room, the longer the process will take.
  6. Boil 2 liters of water with six inches of chopped ginger root (for a strong flavor, you can use less if you’d like) and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool completely.  Strain the contents to remove the solids.
  8. Add the juice of two lemons, and this syrup to your ginger bug.
  9. Strain the mixture to remove solids.
  10. Add water to increase the total liquid volume to one gallon.
  11. Bottle in clean bottles – you can get them from brew-your-own beer stores, reusable Grolsch pop-top bottles.  If you are worried about explosions, until you get the hang of brewing this ginger beer, you can use clean plastic bottles with screw-top lids.
  12. The fermentation process should take one week to a few weeks (the warmer things are, the quicker the ginger beer will ferment, as long as the temperature is under 100 degrees farenheit).  The longer the ginger beer ferments, the more the sugar is consumed by the bug, so it will become less and less sweet over time.  You can sample your ginger beer to see if it is at your desired sweetness. ** If you’re worried about carbonation pressure, open your bottle slowly over a sink to release pressure (further fermentation will make sure it stays carbonated).
  13. Once it’s complete, store the ginger beer in refrigerator.  Always open over the sink, so if the carbonation bubbles over, you can avoid a mess.
  14. Enjoy your delicious, healthy beverage!

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