Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

How to Make Ginger Ale

Ginger Ale is so refreshing in the sweltering heat of summer!  Ginger ale was never my beverage of choice growing up, but now that we make our own, I am sold on it's tart flavor.  Since we use the actual ginger root in our recipe, every bottle is packed with health boosting properties ginger is known for including: soothing stomach upset, respiratory coughs, fevers, and more.  Knowing ginger is good for my body, I don't feel guilty sitting back and enjoying a bottle of our homemade ginger ale.

To make ginger ale, you first have to ferment the ginger root by making a Ginger Bug.  Unlike  berry and sarsaparilla soda that requires champagne yeast, ginger ale uses the natural yeast created from a ginger bug for its fizzy carbonation.

With a wooden spoon, stir the following ingredients into a pint mason jar:
-2T fresh ginger (Skin and grate - I use a micro-plane grater)
-2T unrefined cane juice sugar
-2T non-chlorinated water

Cover jar with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band.

Every day for at least five days, stir in 2T each of grated ginger, sugar, and water.  It should get bubbly and foamy. On the sixth day use what you need and refrigerate the rest adding 2T each of everything (ginger, sugar and water) once each week.  Cap jar loosely when refrigerated.

Once your ginger bug has fermented for six days, you can make ginger ale.

2-4 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
1 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (~ 4 lemons)
1 tsp. sea salt
16 cups non-chlorinated water
1 cup homemade ginger bug

*makes 8.5 grolsch bottles

In a saucepan, add  6 cups water, minced ginger root, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to smell like ginger.

Remove from heat and add remaining water.  Cool mixture to room temperature.

Add fresh lemon or lime juice and ginger bug.  Stir.

Fill grolsch bottles.

Store bottles in cooler or cover bottles for several days until carbonated, and then transfer to fridge to drastically slow down the carbonation.  The reason we place the bottles in a cooler is to contain any liquid and glass that may explode in case the bottles carbonate too long.  When we first started making soda, we had a bottle explode all over the kitchen and freshly painted ceiling...a very sticky mess to clean up!

Besides water, there are only five ingredients in ginger ale.

Even though we use organic ginger, we grate it before dicing.

If you have a pirate on the premise, they should help juice the lemons to help fight scurvy!

When adding the lemon juice and ginger bug, make sure the water is not too hot (below 100 degrees Fahrenheit), otherwise you will kill the natural yeast in the ginger bug.

Using a fine mesh strainer helps produce a cleaner product. Then cap and vigorously shake the gallon jug for 20 seconds or so.

Use a funnel with a slight indent at the bottom so air can escape when filling the grolsch bottles. 

Almost capping of the bottles. 

To be on the safe side, we recommend storing the bottles in a cooler in case a bottle bursts. Check daily for carbonation.  Small bubbles forming on top of the beverage indicate carbonation is taking place.  If a quick rush of air escapes when you slightly loosen the wire barrel, then it's probably time to place the bottles in the refrigerator maybe slightly before then. We recommend that until you get used to how fast carbonation takes place (which is highly dependent on the ambient air temperature), that you have a test plastic soda bottle as a control bottle just so you know how fast they are carbonating.

Some sources I referenced when perfecting our recipe include: Wellness Mama and Nourished Kitchen.


About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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