The health benefits and culinary usages of ginger are not unknown to us. Since time immemorial, it has been touted as one of the most beneficial cooking ingredients in India. Ginger's active constituent 'gingerol' has analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial effects, as stated in the book 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing House. From promoting good digestion to fighting cold and flu, there are several health benefits of ginger. We all are aware of using ginger to make 'kadak chai', but do you know about its usage in preparing home-made sodas? Yes, you can make home-made sodas, ginger ale and tonics with 'ginger bug'! For the unversed, unlike the commercially produced ginger ale that use carbonated water, traditional ginger ale is a fizzy drink that is prepared from a microbial starter, which is called 'ginger bug'.
'Ginger bug' is basically a mixture of ginger, sugar and water, which is fermented to culture good and beneficial bacteria. This is later used to add probiotics, flavour (of ginger) and fizz to these home-made sodas. Once the 'bug' is cultured, it can be stored and used to make sodas anytime you want.
On that note, 'ginger bug' doesn't taste good by itself but is important to make the base for the delicious home-made sodas and ginger ale.
Here's The Recipe For Making 'Ginger Bug' At Home:
Glass jar- one (500 ml)
Ginger- half cup (peeled and chopped)
Filtered water- 250 ml
Sugar- half cup
Cheese cloth (to cover the jar)
Extra ginger (grated) and sugar for maintenance
Before we start with the process, make sure the ginger is peeled and finely chopped (not grated) and the water is filtered.
For the process of filtration, you can boil the water well and strain it through a clean cloth. Filtered water is important as chlorine in water affect the culture process.
Put the sugar, ginger and water in the jar and cover it with the cheesecloth and rubber-band.
Place the jar in a warm spot (not directly under sun like we do for pickle).
Now, every day (for next one week) add one teaspoon of grated ginger and half teaspoon sugar and stir well. On that note, this regular feeding is important to keep the bug alive.
Eventually, you can see bubbles while stirring, and that's when you understand that the culture of ginger bug has started.
Once the bubbles start forming on top of the mixture, it is ready to be used.
You can use it to make ginger ale or any home-made sodas.
To keep the bug alive, make sure keep on feeding it in room temperature.
Try making it at home and enjoy home-made drinks this summer!
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.