Be a Ginger ninja!
I didn’t think I’d be writing about sugar and probiotics so soon, but here I am in my new yoga studio, feeding my ginger bug. I’m about to make my own ginger ale!
I thought I’d share the recipe with you, and give you the lowdown on why making soft drinks at home is better for you, fun and easy. There are many ways of making probiotic rich fizzy drinks, but today we’re just talking about ginger fizz/ale/beer because there is an abundance of ginger here in Samoa.
My mum used to make ginger ale when I was a kid, I guess that was my first introduction to making home ferments. I would watch amazed how the little bubbles would start in the jar of ginger, sugar and water, knowing that we’d created a food frenzy for what my mum called “the Ginger Bug”
I loved helping her bottle it all up and most of all drinking it.
Kids love soft drink, they love creating things and knowing how things work, that’s why making this at home is so much fun, even if you don’t have children – your inner child will come out to play with this one and it’s healthy.
I’ve already given you the run down on why sugar is so crappy for you, but I haven’t yet told you how good it is for certain bacterias... ie, the Ginger Bug aka Lactobacillius which feed off the sugar and will leave you with the probiotic goodness as their biproduct – mmmm biproduct – remember that gut flora we were talking about a couple weeks back? ...you want to make this for your gut and because it’s awesomely delicious.
So, Ginger – it’s been used as medicine for about 5 thousand years. Originally from Asia but has been cultivated around the world for about 4 thousand years. We can use it to settle upset bellies when feeling motion sickness, morning sickness, colic, diarrhoea, nausea and it even stimulates loss of appetite. I’ve used it in body scrubs and even in my hair, nothing like a warming tingle on the body aye?
Ginger is high in antioxidants and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces muscle pain after working out and is even used as a tea for patients undergoing chemotherapy and people with osteoarthritis. It lowers blood sugars and improves heart disease risk factors, All diabetics take note!. If you’ve ever had indigestion you can sip on the ginger ale or make a ginger tea for remedy. It reduces menstrual pain and is just over all amazing.
“I am a Ginger Ninja, and you can be one too ‘cause loving our bodies is the thing to do!” - ok Captain Planet...
And now, onto our recipe: I’m gonna call this THE GINGER NINJA, because it’s marketable and if I get myself together, I might start bottling it up and selling it one day, in saying that; anyone that wants to use the name and recipe to market here in Samoa before I do, is more than welcome, we need this to replace all the yucky evil soft drinks that are overly drunk here (don’t make me start on sugars again)
THE GINGER NINJA
You’re going to need:
* A big jar
* 2 cups of filtered water
* 3 tablespoons of sugar
* A woven cloth with a rubber band
* 3 tablespoons of chopped or grated ginger
In its simplest form, the recipe is as follows: chuck your grated ginger and sugar into the jar of water, stir it. Let it sit for a day.
Every day for 3 days to 1 week add 2 more tblsp of sugar and grated ginger, stir daily (we’re in the tropics here, so everything seems to ferment faster) – keep an eye on it , you wanna see that baby bubble.
You’ll use 1/2 cup of strained starter to every litre of “juice” that you use. Make sure if you use tea that it has cooled to barely warm, as heat will destroy the good bacterias in your starter.
After you’ve removed your liquid, replace the water in your starter jar and add more sugar and ginger, again let it sit for a few days before starting the bottling process again (gotta keep that baby fed!)
Making your Lacto-Fermented Soda
Pour ½ cup of the ginger bug through a strainer this will make up to a litre of your yumminess.
If you’re making it using tea, add sugar to the boiling tea before letting it go cold. Add you starter into a plastic bottle, put your tea or juice on top, leave a good few inches of breathing space in your plastic bottle and squeeze the bottle so as to dent it, seal it up, we want to now go through a secondary ferment, those bacterias are going to eat the sugars out of the sweetened tea (or juice if you’ve used juice) – we’re going to let this concoction sit, every 24 hours you’re going to need to unscrew your lid to let the bottle burp... after 2 – 3 days the bottle will get full of air (don’t let it explode, burping is necessary ) … you can now place it in the fridge and drink, carbonation is still happening in the fridge (just slower), so drink regularly – you’ll totally want to anyway because it’s uber delicious... play around with the recipe, I’ve made spicy chai ginger ale, hibiscus ginger fizz, and Koko Samoa ginger beer... It’s all fun and healthy. Once you start making these ferments you’ll become familiar with the processes of what to expect.
Alcoholic Version – still with probiotic goodness :)
I’m not sure what the laws are here in regards to home brewing, but I’m pretty sure it’s okay.
Same process as above but with 1 ½ teaspoons of added yeast, 1 tsp of lemon juice and 10 raisins into the starter at the beginning of the process – this just gets things kicking along a little faster with the ferment.
The key with alcoholic ginger beer is the more sugar you add and the longer you leave it the more alcohol you’ll create... Like I said, I made a Koko Samoa version which was almost like a stout beer in its body – totally delicious and full of antioxidants, get tipsy and healthy at the same time – heaven.
Remember, I’ll be holding fermentation workshops from the Yoga Juice studio soon, we’ll be playing around with yummy drinks, pickles and ferments! - I can’t wait to show you some good good foods!
Rachel Laulu is a local yoga teacher who offers fermenting workshops, private meditation and yoga classes to corporate groups, schools, retreats and individuals. If you have any inquiries please feel free to contact Rachel via email at [email protected] or add her on facebook through her Yoga Juice Samoa group page.