Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recipe: Lacto-fermented Homemade Ginger Ale

The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarrelling about where they are going next. – William Faulkner 

6 x 500 ml, pressurizing already after about 1 hour after being bottled.

Outside overnight, it magically carbonated! I was so happy
I’ve been AWOL for two days again. Sorry. This is NOT a trend – just a blip. I’ve (we’ve) been more than a little busy with the house. Once we’re done things will settle back again – until we sell and move. The there will be another upheaval.

Anyone want to buy a house?
And I must say the old girl cleans up pretty good. Over the last 48 hours we have had two different work crews in – University Painters for painting exterior trim, and our buddy Bill for some odd jobs inside and the bathroom ceiling.

We have also completely transformed a back bedroom with some good old-fashioned elbow grease, replaced about 1/3 of our back deck, rebuilt our back fence… You kind of get my drift. We’ve been… “preoccupied”.

In retrospect it’s funny, all these things that seemed overwhelming when looked at all together really aren’t that bad when tackled one at a time. Why we didn’t do them before is beyond me.

Oh right. I remember why now. Over the past few years we have nearly had non-stop evil happening around and to us. You name it – we had it happen. It’s a long, long list.

It all started the year before this blog when our darling Simon died. Maybe he was a sort of angel-on-earth that was protecting me. If so I would like to ask him to start doing it from doggie heaven. We could use it.

Someone was very busy and
I appreciate it.
We’re so close to getting our 1860 Victorian on the market I can taste it. But back to my lack of posts. I was busy, so what, right?

Well I have also been cooking up today’s post at the same time we’ve been doing everything else. My last post was the cherry soda. That stuff has an exceedingly great amount of carbonization. I’m quite impressed. It’s fun making bubbles.

Today’s post is a bit of a work in progress: ginger ale (or ginger beer if you prefer).

I had lots of ginger mother starter (also known as “ginger bug”) left over from the cherry soda. Every 3-4 L batch of soda only takes 1 cup of starter and I had made 1 L. So I either have to use it or let it go to waste.

I hate the latter. So I’m about 3/4 the way through making ginger ale. This doesn’t taste like ginger ale from the store. It actually tastes “real” if that is a way to describe it. The three simple ingredients really make an interesting brew.

Make sure you get “unprocessed” brown sugar. It needs the molasses flavours to round out the soda flavour.

I placed the “wort” in my 4L jug and then added the mother. because the weather has been so wonderful I’ve been ageing it outside. This morning I had activity. Tons of bubbles on the top – just like the cherry, but it took 2 days. Go figure.

And once again, I wished I had a carboy. I have also decided at this juncture that making my own soda is something I will continue to do occasionally. It's easy and quite a lot of fun.

I think this ginger ale is going to be great. I still have more mother left over. Maybe cola should be next, or homemade D&B…

The photo is brown because we're looking down through
pantyhose. (To keep the critters out.)
Homemade Ginger Ale
Makes 3 L
3 L spring water
1-1/2 cups ginger, grated
3 large limes, sliced
1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups demerara sugar*
3 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup ginger mother (see previous post here)
Individual bottles

Bring all ingredients except for the ginger mother to a simmer in a large pot. Pour into 4 L jug and let cool. This is your wort.

Make sure the wort is cooled to room temperature or at least no warmer than body temperature. Remember, the “mother” is a living organism and heat will kill it.

Then add the mother, cover tightly and let sit for 3-5 days, stirring every day at least once. The brew is ready when you have lots of bubbles on the surface. It may take 1 day, it may take 5.

Bottle and let sit on the counter overnight. If using recyclable PET bottles they should be “hard”. Then place in the refrigerator (or in a cold room) to slow the carbonization. Don’t keep it anywhere really warm or you will regret it...

Consume within one month.

* The lower amount of sugar makes a more tart  brew (from the lime rind). For sweeter, use the 2-1/2 cups of demerara sugar, or perhaps even 3 cups.


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