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|Category||Fermented food recipes|
|Time||prep: 20 minutes
ferment: 1-2 days
Ginger beer is a traditional fermented drink that can be made as either a soft drink or an alcoholic drink. Make it in a carboy with more sugar or malt extract, and with longer fermentation time, for alcoholic ginger beer.
- 100-300 grams ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced OR 2 tsp cream of tartar mixed with lemon extract or zest to make a lemon juice substitute.
- 500 grams sugar
- water to 10 litres
- fermentation starter (see note)
- Simmer the ginger, lemon zest and sugar in about 1.5L water for about 10 minutes
- If using yeast as the fermentation starter, rehydrate the yeast in a glass of warm water for 5 minutes
- Add the lemon juice, cream of tartar and water to the fermenter (see note)
- Let the mixture sit in a closed container until it has started bubbling well, which should take 8-12 hours with yeast, or longer with kefir grains
- Bottle into PET bottles or other soft plastic food-safe bottles
- When the bottles are hard (not just firm), put them into the fridge
- Serve cool
Notes, tips, and variations
- Fermentation starter: use kefir grains or tibicos, ginger beer plant, ginger bug, ale yeast or bread yeast
- Lemon juice is to provide acidity (as well as flavor)
- Fermenter: I use an old PET water bottle, but a food-grade bucket will do, or a large stainless-steel pot; don't use copper or aluminium
- The water used should be free of chlorine if possible - e.g. boiled and cooled, or filtered, or bottled spring water. This is because chlorine (or chloramine) will inhibit the fermentation a little. Use what you've got, but best results will be obtained without the chlorine.
- Once the ginger beer is fermenting, as evidenced by lots of tiny bubbles rising to the surface, it can be used as a leavening agent. Simply replace the water and yeast in a bread recipe with ginger beer, and leave to rise as normal.
- If left to ferment longer (about a week) a yeasty colony called a Ginger Beer Plant will develop. Carbonation will also increase, greatly raising the chances for bottle (or other container) exploding, therefore it is advisable to use a carboy or suitable container with an airlock.