Ginger bug is a starter culture made from ginger, originating from the Caribbean. Learn how to make your own with this easy ginger bug recipe!
Ginger bug is a starter culture used to ferment drinks. It is made from fresh ginger root, water and sugar, and it provides enough active microorganisms for our beverage to ferment.
Within a few days, the culture becomes active and ready to ferment drinks such as ginger beer, root beer, herbal tea, and all kinds of other fruits juices or decoctions.
The basic principle is that ginger skin has a large number of bacteria and yeast that are ready to be activated. Mixing the ingredients together allows the water to be oxygenated, activating the micro-organisms and encouraging their multiplication.
Easy Ginger Bug Recipe
- Jar with lid
- Blender or food processor
- 1 piece of ginger (with its skin)
- 125 ml cane sugar (white or brown)
- 500 ml water (non-chlorinated)
- Mix for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Pour into a jar and close the lid.
- Shake the jar vigorously (twice a day or more). Open and close the jar immediately before or after each shake.
- After a few days (2 to 7), you should see bubbles appearing. It's ready to be used!
- Let the pressure escape as needed.
As soon as your ginger bug is fizzy, you can use it to ferment sweet drinks (juices, herbal teas, decoctions, etc.). Filtering before using is optional.
The proportion to use is about 5% of the volume of your recipe (50ml per liter or 1 cup per gallon).
Preserving Your Ginger Bug
Making ginger bug is so quick and easy that it’s almost not worth the trouble of trying to preserve it. However, if you wish to do it anyway, there are 2 options.
You can keep it at room temperature by feeding it once a week with a small amount of ginger, sugar and water.
Alternatively, you can keep it in the fridge and reactivate it as needed by feeding it (see above) and keeping it warm, ideally around 25-30°C.
Ideas for Using Your Ginger Bug
Making Root Beer
Making homemade root beer is really easy! Discover our root beer recipe to make your own fizzy soda at home.
Making Ginger Beer
The yeast in the ginger bug is just waiting to make homemade ginger beer. This fermented drink is alcoholic (3-5%), sparkling, thirst-quenching but, above all, actually easy to make.
Making Sparkling Apple Juice
- Pour 2 tablespoons of your ginger bug into 1 litre of juice.
- Close the juice bottle and store it on your counter at room temperature.
- After 12 to 48 hours, your juice should be fizzy!
- Put in the fridge immediately. If you don’t, it will become more and more fizzy.
Flavouring Your Fermentation
You can use your ginger bug to flavour fermentations such as kombucha and water kefir.
Just remember that you are adding a good quantity of yeast to your fermentation, so you are potentially increasing the production of alcohol and especially CO2 (it will become fizzier, faster!) If you do it, simply put your bottle into the fridge sooner.
Making a Sourdough Starter
You can use your ginger bug to make a sourdough starter for making homemade bread. Simply substitute the amount of water normally used to start a flour leaven with the same amount of ginger bug.
- Buy fermented drink making equipment
- Try our other fermented drink recipes