February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
The ginger bug seemed to work! In two jars I had the juice and pulp of two lemons, 2tsp grated old ginger root, 4tsp raw sugar and 2 cups cooled boiled water. Then I added 8 organic sultanas to one jar. The one with sultanas took off in 3 days, the other took 6. They both looked and smelt pleasant, with the solids floating on top amongst white foamy goo (note to self: need to invest in a new digital camera). I used the solids and half of the liquids from each to experiment with nutrients and feeding but no crystals magically formed. I used the other half of the liquid from each as the culture for a ginger beer:
1 grated young ginger rhizome
1tbsp allspice (whole)
3tbsp dried chrysanthemum flowers
1 vanilla bean pod
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/8tsp tartaric acid
Boiled for 15 minutes in a liter of water, cooled and strained into two 1.25L PET bottles. Added the cup of culture to each, topped up with water and airlocked. The sultana one took off quickly again. After the carbonation started to slow down I had a taste. Real tangy! I was really excited about the chrysanthemum but mostly it tasted like ginger and tang. I found a couple websites that suggested that maltase (the enzyme that breaks down maltose) is inactive in acidic environments, which this brew certainly is. So I added 1/3 cup of rice malt syrup to each to see how it would ferment, but it didn’t seem to have a problem. In fact, after sealing, refridgerating, opening, drinking some and putting it back in the fridge, it continued to carbonate! The brew wasn’t bad, but I figured it’s time to get some ginger beer plant.
After much research, I’ve decided ginger beer plant is the same thing as water kefir, tibicos, California bees, etc. Some good resources for this culture are Dom’s site, this FAQ, here and here. I bought some water kefir from someone in Geelong on Ebay, and am experimenting with it now!