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How to Make a Ginger Bug

- I love introducing skeptics to the wonderful world of fermented foods with naturally fermented sodas. They are probiotically rich, effervescent, delicious and beautiful to behold. I recently taught a class of skeptical teens how to make fun foods like traditional sodas. We made Real Root Beer Floats and they were blown away by the taste and sweet effervescence. Food should be fun, health promoting and a time slowing joy. That’s what naturally fermented sodas are…joy in a bottle!

So, what makes a naturally fermented soda bubble in the bottle? That would be the starter of your choice. Should you choose whey, water kefir, kombucha, ginger bug or something else, it’s all about creating a tingle on the tongue and a strong biodiverse gut ecology!

Start maturing your own ginger bug today. Post about your experience and any questions in the comments section. We’ll all help each other. Sometimes it takes a cyber village, y’all! Meet me back here next Friday when your ginger bug will be ready to work for you. Then, I’ll teach you how to make a lovely light soda.

 

-

Ginger Bug Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons diced ginger

Ginger Bug Method

  • In a quart size jar combine all ingredients.
  • Place a tight lid on the jar, give it a shake and allow it to sit in a warm or room temperature spot (72-80F).
  • If your home tends to be cool at night, consider getting a seedling mat-. Place the jar on top of the mat and out of direct sun light.
  • Every day for the next week add 2 more teaspoons each of sugar and diced ginger. The liquid will begin to get bubbly towards the end of the week. If you’re using the classic mason jar lid, you will be able to feel the top of the lid for pressure or even a distended lid. Give that baby a little burp. Once bubbly, it’s ready to use.

Active Time: 10 minutes

Yields: 1 quart

Don’t miss the follow-up post to this one: Apple Ginger Soda!

 

- This post was generously contributed by Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. Check back next Friday for more delicious recipes from Monica that will make your mouth water and your tummy purr. If you’re lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, Real Food Devotee can make your life easier by delivering nutrient dense goodies directly to your door.

 

Image credit: Crystl

Disclaimer

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. These small earnings make it possible for me to continue writing this blog for you. That said, I will never endorse any product or service that I cannot fully support.

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Comments

  1. When I was little we would have ginger beer (made with a ginger bug) Ahhh the memories of exploding plastic bottles or the lids exploding off the top of glass bottles :-) I am totally going to make this with my kids this spring. Thanks for the trip down memory lane :-)

  2. alison says:

    Then what doyou do with the bug? So you drink it straight from there?

  3. Monica, do I have to tighten the lid on the jar?

  4. Nichole says:

    Yea, what comes next? For those of us who aren’t familiar with ginger bugs.

  5. Emily says:

    Hi Nicole and Alison – Above the recipe, Monica says “Meet me back here next Friday when your ginger bug will be ready to work for you. Then, I’ll teach you how to make a lovely light soda.” So by the time your ginger bug is ready, the next step will be posted. It will be worth the wait, I promise. ;)

  6. Nichole says:

    Thanks.

  7. I love anything ginger, so I’ll have to try it!

  8. Lori U says:

    Will this be non-alcoholic like Kefir or kombucha? Sounds good and would like to give it a try.

  9. Monica Ford says:

    @Marina Yes indeed. Screw the lid on nice and tight:)

    Yes @LoriU
    Ginger Bug is fantastic “starter” for many delicious sparkling probiotic sodas! Great for the kidos and fun for them too! Everyone loves to hear the bubble sigh when you twist open the lid:)

    See you here next week for a fun soda that will begin with your finished ginger bug:)

  10. Amanda says:

    Just found this through Mommypotamous!

    Question: Can the sugar be replaced with honey? We’re on GAPS and can’t have sugar, but we can have honey!

  11. Tiffany says:

    Hi, I have a question about the water and sugar. Do I use distilled or a certain type of water and what about the sugar. Should it be organic? Thanks, I have never made anything like this before.Will it be a good drink for my 14 month old?

  12. amy says:

    One more question re: sugar. I don’t have any refined sugar can I use sucanat?

  13. lara gunther says:

    Hi There

    Sorry to sound like a novice but once it is made how do I use it

  14. Nicole says:

    Hi, it has been a week and my ginger bug is not bubbly. I am not sure what happened. I gave it the ginger and sugar everyday. =( Do I have to make one from the beginning. Maybe I should just to be safe. I was so excited to try this.

  15. Monica Ford says:

    Hi There
    So happy you’re all on your way to making healthy delicious sodas! yaay!!
    sugar: You can use sucanat, organic sugar, coconut palm sugar or even refined sugar. The bacteria will consume most of the sugar you add to the ginger bug.
    It can be a difficult concept to wrap our heads around but, when making the ginger bug, we are adding ingredients to feed good bacteria and they are creating a liquid for us to consume. It is an amazing symbiotic relationship.

  16. Monica Ford says:

    @Amanda
    Honey: I do not recommend using honey as it has many anti-bacterial properties. I would say it might be an interesting experiment though. Let us know if you try it and how it turns out. Also, once you enter the GAPS phase that allows dairy, you can make whey sodas. Whey would be your starter in place of the ginger bug.

  17. Monica Ford says:

    @Tiffany
    I always like to use filtered water as a personal preference and it is likely that filtered water might yield a higher rate of consistent fermenting success because tap water usually contains chlorine which will kill off or inhibit some bacteria.

  18. Monica Ford says:

    @lara
    Once your ginger bug is ready, we’ll be making lovely probiotic rich soda. It’s delicious! Check holistickid.com later today for that recipe. Yaaaay!
    Let us know if you try it:)

  19. Monica Ford says:

    @lara
    Once your ginger bug is ready, we’ll be making lovely probiotic rich soda. It’s delicious! Check holistickid.com later today for that recipe. Yaaaay!
    Let us know if you try it:)

  20. [...] == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}Did you read last week’s recipe post here at Holistic Kid ? Are receiving Holistic Kid posts in your inbox? If not, you’re missing out on some major [...]

  21. Emily says:

    Hey Monica – How long will the ginger bug keep? Do you just keep feeding it or stick it in the fridge if you don’t use it all or what?

  22. Monica Ford says:

    @Nicole
    I wish I was there to smell your ginger bug and give you an on-site diagnosis. This nose knows a lot about ferments:)
    Begin a new and let me give you a few pointers that are not a must by any means but may serve to up your odds at this stage. Later, you will not be so strict and it will become second nature as all things practiced and understood do:)
    Ginger: pick organic, dry ginger (meaning the skin of the fresh ginger is not wet or darkened by wetness)
    Sugar: use organic sugar
    Water: use filtered
    Jar: should be clean but not with anti-bacterial soap. tight closing lid.
    Feeding your Ginger Bug: try to feed your ginger bug at approx the same time each day. Screw the lid back on tightly before putting it back to ferment.
    Fermenting: Ferment your ginger bug in an area where you are not fermenting other things. Ferment in an area that remains warm during the day and night (72-80F). If you do not have a spot like this in your home, consider buying a seedling. You can find them in most hardware stores or on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6t6d9nc

    don’t worry. You will master this. I promise! xo

  23. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much. I am going to start making a new one. I am going to change things up like putting the ginger and sugar in the same time everyday and I am going to store it out of the kitchen. I have been busy sprouting and making fermented vegetables. I think I may have not added enough sugar and ginger everyday. ;) I will be back next week with the new results. I will not give up.

  24. Monica Ford says:

    @Nicole awesome! Let us know how it goes! XO

  25. Emily says:

    Does it really need to be away from other ferments even though the lid’s on tight? I have my ginger bug sitting next to kombucha brews on a seedling mat…

  26. Monica Ford says:

    @Emily When you don’t plan on using your ginger bug for a while, put it to sleep by putting it in the frige. It will basically stay “good” or usable forever. When you see that your jar has tons of ginger in it, Scoop some of the old ginger out and either put it in a new jar along with some of the liquid to begin a second ginger bug if you have the need or toss the old ginger pieces into the compost pile:)

  27. Monica Ford says:

    @Emily No, your ginger bug does not HAVE to ferment away from other ferment projects but, when someone is experiencing a little difficulty with any ferment, this is one of the ways to insure a more consistently successful ferment until we get our natural ginger bug fermented rhythm down. xo

  28. Kris says:

    Every recipe for ginger bug has you cover with cheese cloth or towel. curious why this is different?

    Also , I peeled my ginger because thats what I always do but saw other recipes call for the peel . maybe reason why nicole in above post couldn’t get bubbles. Mine still worked.just a guess. Thanks for your recipe.

  29. Monica Ford says:

    Hi @Kris
    Coving your ginger bug with a tight lid avails you the opportunity to feel the pressure on the lid from the CO2 created by the lactobacilli. In teaching classes and in my own fermentation, I also find this to be the most consistent method.

    While most of the lactobacilli reside in the peel of the ginger, it is not the only place they are found so, peeling does not make fermentation impossible just lessens the likelihood of consistent success.

    There are so many different methods for fermentation and many work. We find our own rhythms and with experience feel out the little tricks that work for our specific environment. I’m so happy to see people sharing their experiences!! Thank you! xo

  30. Kris says:

    Thanks monica. I really like this method for covering because it takes out the guess work for us newbies.

  31. Kris says:

    The only containers I have on hand are quart size mason jars. Would you still use those to make soda with? Thanks.

  32. Monica Ford says:

    Yes, @Kris I love this method too! It also, keeps the competition from other types of bacteria slightly lower:)

    You can certainly us mason jars for your soda making but, take care to check them often by feeling the lid. Is it bowed with pressure? Put ‘er in the fridge ASAP or you’ll have an apple ginger soda mess on your hands.

  33. Delia says:

    Do you feed the bug on the 7th day or do you make the soda?

  34. Monica Ford says:

    @delia You can make the soda at that point….the seventh day. It should be a bit effervescent by then. Enjoy!

  35. Stephanie says:

    I just had to post….I just opened my bug for it’s day three feeding and when I unscrewed the lid it made that poppy fizzy sound you get when you open a soda. I am SO excited. This is my first go round with fermentation and I wasn’t sure it would work. I don’t have the best of luck in the kitchen. But it’s working!! Yeah!!

  36. [...] bread…  (It’s okay, though.  I can stop anytime I want to.)So anyways, when I stumbled across this post a couple of weeks ago I just had to give it a go. It’s another one of those impossible recipes; [...]

  37. Nav Sidhu says:

    Hi Monica,
    I am trying to make ginger bug. It’s the 5th day. I have been putting 2 tsp of s;ger and ginger everyday.But no bubbles.I have used boiled tap water.This is my first time making ginger bug.What could be wrong? Help plz.

  38. Melissa says:

    Can you please do a post on homemade root beer?

  39. Melissa says:

    Thanks so much, Emily. I look forward to it.

    I’m making my ginger bug today. Very exciting!

  40. monica ford says:

    @Stephanie Look at you!!! I’m so proud of you. Way to harness the genius of mother nature in your kitchen. Well done!!!

  41. monica ford says:

    @Sid I know it can be frustrating when something does not work the first time especially when I know you are taking great care, pride and anticipation into the process. I am going to share with you what I shared with Nicole above and soon, I promise to make a video on this process as I think it might help us as visual learners. If you are in LA, contact me about a fermentation and sodas class. Summer is almost here!

    I wish I was there to smell your ginger bug and give you an on-site diagnosis. This nose knows a lot about ferments:)
    Begin a new and let me give you a few pointers that are not a must by any means but may serve to up your odds at this stage. Later, you will not be so strict and it will become second nature as all things practiced and understood do:)
    Ginger: pick organic, dry ginger (meaning the skin of the fresh ginger is not wet or darkened by wetness)
    Sugar: use organic sugar
    Water: use filtered
    Jar: should be clean but not with anti-bacterial soap. tight closing lid.
    Feeding your Ginger Bug: try to feed your ginger bug at approx the same time each day. Screw the lid back on tightly before putting it back to ferment.
    Fermenting: Ferment your ginger bug in an area where you are not fermenting other things. Ferment in an area that remains warm during the day and night (72-80F). If you do not have a spot like this in your home, consider buying a seedling. You can find them in most hardware stores or on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6t6d9nc

    don’t worry. You will master this. I promise! xo

  42. monica ford says:

    Yes, ladies. Root Beer will be comin’ round the mountain soon. xo

  43. Just started my ginger bug today. There are somethings I’m not clear on. Once I start using my ginger bug, how do you maintain it? I saw that once it starts fizzing that I can put it in the fridge but where do we go from there? As I remove liquid do I add water back? Do I need to feed it at any point?

  44. monica ford says:

    Hi @Christine
    Hooray! You’ve begun your ginger bug! Magic time!
    *If you don’t plan on using your ginger bug for a while:
    put it to sleep by putting it in the frige. It will basically stay “good” or usable forever.
    *If you will be using your ginger bug 1-2 times per week:
    keep in on the counter. Feed it every day and when you remove liquid to use as a starter, add water to come to the shoulder of the jar again.
    *When you see that your jar has tons of ginger in it:
    Scoop some of the old ginger out and either put it in a new jar along with some of the liquid to begin a second ginger bug or if you have the need for a second jar of ginger bug, toss the old ginger pieces into the compost pile:)

  45. [...] 1 cup ginger bug from previous Real Food Devotee recipe [...]

  46. Katie says:

    Hello! I came across the root beer recipe on Kelly the Kitchen Kop and I’m so excited to make root beer floats with home made ice cream! …and hoping to break my boyfriend’s soda habit Aaarrrggg

    Question: I started the ginger bug last Friday and it’s doing well… I think it’s almost ready! Now, we have decided to go out of town for the weekend and I don’t want to start the root beer until we get back, so I can keep an eye on it. So, can I stick the ginger bug in the fridge for the weekend and then use it when we get back? Is there anything I’ll have to do to “wake it up”?

    Thanks!!
    Katie

  47. Michelle says:

    I just have a question for you and if I am doing this right. I started my ginger bug sunday night, maybe closer to midnight. It is now Tuesday morning and I have so much fizz in my jar that i have to constantly burp it in order to even open it without it exploding the wonderful goodness inside. It smells lovely, but I am only on day 2.5 do I still need to go to day 7? Do i still need to add each day? I have it stored in a dark place in my garage, however here in SC we have been pushing 100 degree weather.

  48. Monica Ford says:

    Hi @Michelle
    You guessed right! Your ginger bug is good to go! The heat helped to speed up the process. Of course, there is a point at which temps can become too hot for your ferment to thrive. It sounds like it is happy and healthy though. At this point, you may use your ginger by to make soda or you may store in the refrigerator until the time when you are ready to make soda. Let us know what you create. Happy fermenting!

  49. Francine says:

    hi Monica,
    I had my first ginger bug drink today. It was a soda made with thimbleberries and was absolutely delicious. I am starting my ginger bug as I write and had read avidly down your column looking for the long awaited recipe but don’t see it. Did you post it elsewhere or where can I find some recipes for berry sodas with ginger bug? thanks Francine

  50. Alex says:

    I used to waist time (almost 2 years) with wild yeast “ginger bug” that lives on the ginger, but then I foound about Ginger Beer Plant.
    “A Ginger Beer Plant is a symbiotic collection of microbes (yeasts and lacto bacteria) that is particularly good at fermenting sugar solutions. It exists as gelatinous lumps that look vaguely like overcooked rice crossed with snot, and they will happily ferment any sugary liquid into a tasty (and fizzy drink).”

    where to find it? Look here:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GingerBeerPlant/

  51. monica ford says:

    Hi There @Tina
    This was my reply to Nicole. Good luck!

    “@Nicole
    I wish I was there to smell your ginger bug and give you an on-site diagnosis. This nose knows a lot about ferments:)
    Begin a new and let me give you a few pointers that are not a must by any means but may serve to up your odds at this stage. Later, you will not be so strict and it will become second nature as all things practiced and understood do:)
    Ginger: pick organic, dry ginger (meaning the skin of the fresh ginger is not wet or darkened by wetness)
    Sugar: use organic sugar
    Water: use filtered
    Jar: should be clean but not with anti-bacterial soap. tight closing lid.
    Feeding your Ginger Bug: try to feed your ginger bug at approx the same time each day. Screw the lid back on tightly before putting it back to ferment.
    Fermenting: Ferment your ginger bug in an area where you are not fermenting other things. Ferment in an area that remains warm during the day and night (72-80F). If you do not have a spot like this in your home, consider buying a seedling. You can find them in most hardware stores or on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6t6d9nc

    don’t worry. You will master this. I promise! xo”

  52. [...] used a ginger bug for the fermentation, a method I am thinking I will use from now on, and fore-go the whey, which [...]

  53. Riniel says:

    Hello.. I’m making a blueberry soda right now, and I’m starting to doubt if I did this right.. I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know for sure if I did it right.

    When I made my ginger bug, after 3 days it was getting bubbly, and had a bubbly foam at the top of the jar.. I was lazy that day, and didn’t want to start making the soda yet, so I fed my bug, and let it sit another day. By the next day, it was day 4, and it was even bubblier than the day before. I took a little spoonful, and tasted it to see what it taste like, and it had a very slight carbonated feeling in my mouth. So, I decided waiting for the entire week would be a waste of time, because I was pretty sure it was ready, so I made my soda with it.

    I made my soda yesterday, and at this moment that I’m writing this my blueberry soda has been sitting out for one day.

    What I want to know is, should I have waited the entire week like I was instructed in my recipe?

    Also, when I made my blueberry soda, I did something different than the recipe said to do.. The recipe said to cook water, sugar, and berries on the stove for 10-15 minutes until it was as fruity as I wanted it. It also said that I could add more blueberries if it didn’t taste fruity enough.. so, I added more blueberries, and here’s what I did different.. I took my handheld immersion blender, and I blended the fruit until it was chunky. I wanted as much fruit flavour to get in as possible, so I figured if I blended it a little it would break open the berries, and add more flavour.. I tasted my base and it did taste more fruity. By blending my berries did I ruin my soda at all? The pulp and everything is fermenting, and the recipe I used says to strain the soda when it’s ready to be bottled, so I figured if I’m going to strain it anyway, it couldn’t hurt to break open those blueberries and let the seeds, and skin contribute their vitamins, and nutrients.

    I get paranoid easily that I’ve mucked up recipes that I use if I change them up a bit. I’m more concerned about the ginger bug than blending my berries a little bit to.break them open. I hope the ginger bug I made was truly ready to be used when I did use it.

    I have one more question, and this has nothing to do with my batch of soda I made.. I read online that you can continually feed your ginger bug, and that it can live for years in the refrigerator. However, they never gave instructions on how to feed on a long term basis. So, I’m curious if you can educate me on how I can keep my ginger bug alive, and ready to use at a moments notice if I decide to spontaneously make soda. I have my remaining bug in the refrigerator, but I didn’t replenish what I took out from making my soda yesterday, because I’m not quite sure what to do to replenish it. This is a lot like my sourdough starter I have in my fridge.. So, how often should I feed it when it’s just sitting in the fridge, and what should I feed it, and what should I do to replenish it if I use some for soda spontaneously?

    Sorry for such a looooong post, but I like to be completely informed on this sort of stuff, and I made this soda very spontaneously without doing much research, and I don’t normally just whip something up on the fly, but this blueberry soda sounded so radtastic, I just kind of dove in feet first into making it.. lol.

    Thanks a million!
    Riniel

  54. Riniel says:

    OMG!!!! I asked my mum to feed my ginger bug for me, and she thought I said 2 tablespoons each of sugar, and ginger, even though I said teaspoons at least 4 times over the phone.. I’m very worried that my bug is dying now. It was a little bubbly, but now it’s not, and it turned a darker colour.

    Is my ginger bug going to die? I seriously hope she didn’t make a huge mistake, because making a new batch to make soda for thanksgiving is probably not going to happen. It’s going to take too long. please help ASAP! I need to know if I need to make another ginger bug ASAP! Thanks!

    Ciao!
    Riniel

  55. Monica Ford says:

    Hi @ Riniel I think your ginger bug will probably be fine. Try going a day without feedi g and check the lid for pressure build up. If the lid feels taught, your bug is fine and healthy:)

  56. [...] if you’re really ambitious, you can make a ginger bug and use it to make ginger apple soda (more [...]

  57. [...] == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];} Did you read last week’s recipe post here at Holistic Squid ? Are you receiving Holistic Squid posts in your inbox? If not, you’re missing out on some [...]

  58. Catherine says:

    I made my 1st ginger bug, and boy my kid loved “burping” it :)
    Question: it worked beautifully, nice and fizzy – but it tastes weird… like soapy and not very gingery… I will try again with fresher organic ginger and include the peel (this wasn’t organic so I peeled it) but I don’t get why it tasted vaguely soapy. It’s almost unpleasant, but mixed with a sweeter juice not bad. Ever had a weird taste like that? What SHOULD it taste like? Is it super ginger-y? Can I make it more ginger-y by adding more ginger? Thanks for any suggestions

  59. monica ford says:

    Hi @Catherine
    The short answer is: try it again with organic, dry (not wet when you buy it), unpeeled ginger.

    The long food-nerd (I admit I am) answer is:
    The ginger bug should not taste like soap but should have a very clean mild taste and light crisp feeling that is only vaguely gingery.

    Much is being consumed and changed through the metabolic processes of the friendly bacteria in the ginger bug. You are creating a starter that will impart only subtleties in the way of taste to the sodas you will used it to make. If you use it to make a soda with a gingery flavor, you will add ginger to the soda. That taste will not be derived from the ginger bug.

    You should always use unpeeled, organic ginger. While most of the lactobacilli reside in the peel of the ginger, it is not the only place they are found so, peeling does not make fermentation impossible just lessens the likelihood of consistent success. So, that off taste may be due to competition of other less tasty bacteria/yeasts.

    General Tips and Guidelines:
    Begin a new and let me give you a few pointers that are not a must by any means but may serve to up your odds at this stage. Later, you will not be so strict and it will become second nature as all things practiced and understood do:)
    Ginger: pick organic, dry ginger (meaning the skin of the fresh ginger is not wet or darkened by wetness)
    Sugar: use organic sugar
    Water: use filtered
    Jar: should be clean but not with anti-bacterial soap. tight closing lid.
    Feeding your Ginger Bug: try to feed your ginger bug at approx the same time each day. Screw the lid back on tightly before putting it back to ferment.
    Fermenting: Ferment your ginger bug in an area where you are not fermenting other things. Ferment in an area that remains warm during the day and night (72-80F). If you do not have a spot like this in your home, consider buying a seedling. You can find them in most hardware stores or on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6t6d9nc

    don’t worry. You will master this. I promise! xo

    • Pam O says:

      Monica, that was an awesome response to Catherine’s question. So helpful. I’ve never made a ginger bug… or any bug, for that matter, and request one clarification. We want to avoid white sugar… have to. Can sucunut be used in place of the refined or organic sugar? (Is there even such a thing as organic white sugar?)
      Thanks!

  60. [...] 1 cup ginger bug – learn to make a ginger bug here [...]

  61. monica ford says:

    Hi @Pam O
    Awe! Thank you!
    I’m excited for you to try the ginger bug. Remember that when you feed your ginger bug sugar, you are feeding the lactic acid bacteria. If you taste your ginger bug before you feed it, you will find the taste is not actually sweet because the bacteria are consuming the lions share of the sugar.
    However, I understand if you cannot use it at all. Sucunut should work though the taste of your ginger bug and thus your sodas will be slightly different. A little heavier. More of a mapley tinge rather the the crisp clean taste of the sugar fed ginger bug. Let us know how it turns out! This taste would make a great starter for the Old Fashioned Root Beer Recipe while not as nice for some other soda pairings.

  62. Juliette Alexander says:

    I haven’t started mine yet, I’ve looked through most of the posts and still have a couple of questions. Can I use a Fido jar? And, once the fermenting process starts, can I use stainless steel utensils? Or is it like Kefir and needs plastic? (like when scooping out the extra ginger)

  63. monica ford says:

    @Juliette
    I don’t suggest a Fido Jar or any type of wire closure bottle or jar. They create a great deal of pressure and are more likely to make a great mess when opened.
    Please feel free to use stainless steel utensils. Enjoy!

  64. Helen says:

    Hi I am new to this. I made a ginger bug and by day 7 it was really bubbly. Then I had some crazy family stuff going on and I forgot to feed it for 2 days. Its not bubbling now. Is it dead? Should I make a new one? I added more ginger and sugar to it to see if that will do anything. Please help!

  65. [...] an effort to eat more fermented foods, I started a ginger bug this week. This led me to what is now sitting on my counter – Strawberry [...]

  66. Laurie says:

    Hi,
    Maybe I am missing this in the comments. When my Ginger Bug is ready to use…do I just use it up in different sodas. Then start with creating a new Bug, or do I use it and then keep feeding it.

    I think I am understanding that I start a new Ginger Bug.

  67. [...] “sodas”- fizzy, flavored drinks, made with ginger bugs. I found instructions online here and here and dove into [...]

  68. monica ford says:

    Hi @Laurie

    After using some of the liquid in your ginger bug to make sodas, re-feed, ferment for at least a day and either store in fridge until ready to use or keep feeding and using while feeding/storing on your kitchen counter.
    Bonus Tips:
    When you don’t plan on using your ginger bug for a while, put it to sleep by putting it in the frige. It will basically stay “good” or usable forever.
    When you see that your jar has tons of ginger in it, Scoop some of the old ginger out and either put it in a new jar along with some of the liquid to begin a second ginger bug if you have the need or toss the old ginger pieces into the compost pile:)
    Enjoy!

  69. [...] Another experiment in cultured foods that I am currently working on is a ginger bug. I had seen a couple posts on other blogs for creating a ginger bug to use for making homemade healthy sodas, and thought this could be fun! The recipe I decided to use is from Holistic Squid and her post How to Make a Ginger Bug. [...]

  70. [...] first method I will detail uses something called a “ginger bug”. I first read about it here. Since the recipe requires only fresh ginger, sugar and filtered water, I got mine going that very [...]

  71. Mariam K says:

    Hi there, thanks for the receipe , I started on my ginger bug 3 days ago. I have a question though, I can see a bit of fizz on top, but nothing major. I rinsed my ginger and then diced them. Did I do something wrong by rinsing the dirt off? I am afraid that I might have to start over again ;( Plz advise. TIA

  72. SulaBlue says:

    I started my ginger bug on 5/28 and have fed it at about the same time each day now. I just went to peek in on it – good thing! While I don’t have any fizzing, when I opened the jar ring the lid nearly exploded off the jar. There were just a few bubbles floating on top, but no fizz. Are there any cases where it doesn’t actively fizz, but is still “good”? I’m worried about the pressure building up more and more and breaking the jar as the next few days get on.

  73. Heather says:

    I’ve just gotten into making ginger bugs and have been reading a lot of websites. Apparently there are a lot of methods to the madness! Anyway, I used a method that called for starting with just 2 TBS. each of ginger (this called for peeled) , sucanat and water and feeding it that same amount every day for 5 days. After 5 days I had bubbles. I made up some 2 mason jars of mint herbal tea, added sugar, let it cool and put in my 1/2 cup ginger bug. Then I bottled into jars with flip caps. After 3 days, we eagerly went to try the soda. No fizz! Doesn’t taste like the yummy soda it’s supposed to taste like. What went wrong? Perhaps my ginger bug wasn’t ready? I just started up another jar of bug, using some ginger from my previous batch and added 3 cups of water, 3 tsp. sucanat, 3 tsp. chopped ginger. Any thoughts?

  74. monica ford says:

    Hi @Heather
    don’t peel your ginger for the ginger bug
    how big were the “mason jars” you used for the soda? In other words, how much mint tea?
    How much sugar did you add to the mint tea?
    did you use a lid on the jars or a cloth cover?

  75. Heather says:

    Thanks for your help! My mason jars were quart size and I put 1/4 cup in each. I added roughly 1/2 cup organic sugar to each jar. Then I transfered the mixture to flip top bottles made for brewing and let them sit for 3 days. No fizz :-(

  76. monica ford says:

    Hi @Heather
    So, you fermented (for how long?) them in quart jars and then decanted them into bottles and fermented for 3 days?

  77. Heather says:

    I didn’t ferment them in the jars. I only mixed them and then transferred directly to the bottles, where they fermented for 3 days. I just opened up another bottle this morning to try. I noticed some bubbles on this one. And I got fizz!! It was delicious! The other ones, however, don’t have any bubbles. I guess perhaps I just need to keep experimenting and maybe let the bottles sit for 4-5 days?

    This is my first try and I know it takes time to master the art. I started making sourdough bread in January and it’s just this month that I feel like I finally am getting the kind of bread that I had hoped for. It takes awhile.

  78. monica ford says:

    Got it @Heather
    It’s funny to ferret these things out long distance. Thanks for hanging in there.
    I think waht you need is a heating mat and it will all come together for you.
    http://tinyurl.com/lkp9hu6

  79. Ali says:

    Ugh I went camping, came home and totally forgot about the bug for like 4 days, should I throw it out an start over?? I was on day 5!
    Also, how hot is too hot when it comes to temp?

  80. monica ford says:

    Thank you for your question, @Ali
    I would say 85F is coming up on hot for a ginger bug
    I would go ahead and try feeding your giner bug and see if it revives:) It might!

  81. Wendi says:

    Okay, call me a moron, but before I start making my ginger bug, I’d like to see the instructions on how to make the soda with the ginger bug and I can’t find that post anywhere! What am I doing wrong?

  82. Wendi says:

    Would somebody PLEASE help me find the post with instructions on how to make the soda from this ginger bug? I can’t find it anywhere! Thank you!

  83. Monica ford says:

    Hi @Wendi
    Check out the recipes link on this site and then click on this link for more of my yummy probiotic soda recipes:)
    Here’s a nice one to get you started
    http://holisticsquid.com/cultured-strawberry-soda/

    • Wendi says:

      Thank you Monica! I checked out the link you provided and I see that the Cultured Strawberry Soda calls for 1 cup of ginger bug, so that’s one way I could use it, but I thought the ginger bug would make Ginger Ale and I didn’t see a recipe for that. Was I mistaken in thinking that it would make ginger ale?

  84. Mel says:

    I just made my ginger bug and went a little too long with it, I think. It looks beautiful and sparkly, but I think I let it turn alcoholic. :( It’s only a tiny bit alcoholic tasting, but I am wondering if I can save it by pouring some off and resuming with the daily feedings? Or do I need to start over?

    Thank you for your awesome posts! I’m going to order the supplies for root beer next!

  85. monica ford says:

    @Mel
    awesome! I’m glad you’re making it! If I were you, I’d resume the daily feedings. I think it will likely be fine! Whenever you will not be able to feed your ginger bug and/or will not be using it just pop her in the fridge. She’ll go to sleep till you’re ready:)

  86. Kara says:

    Trying my first Ginger Bug with your recipe. First couple of days got the fizz and was very excited. On Day Five and for the last two days…no fizz. Oh-oh.

    Been keeping it in a cupboard with a thermometer. Registers a pretty consistent 77-78F.

    Should I just keep going? Want to make a soda this weekend, but without a fizz, I’m assuming I can’t do so.

    Hoping I didn’t kill it!

    Love your blog!

  87. To keep the BUG alive I know I add in some sugar/ginger each week but what about adding additional water? I use mine regularly but the liquid part dwindles…Thank you!

  88. monica ford says:

    Hi @Kara
    Thanks for your question.
    I think that since you have had bubbles, you’re ginger bug is fine. You might try screwing the lid on a bit tighter. Go ahead and make your soda. I think there’s a good chance it’s gonna work. Either way let us know and if there’s an issue, I’ll help you ferret it out:)

    • Kara says:

      Monica…

      Thanks for your response. It was great feedback. I went a day without feeding to see if there was too much sugar for it to process + I moved it to a warmer cabinet above the fridge and on Day 8, I have tiny bubbles. Hooray!

      Was relieved to have not had to start it all over again. Here’s what I found this AM after foregoing one day of feeding:
      - tiny bubbles
      - much of the ginger had risen to the top (before most of it was hanging out at the bottom)
      - it looked a little cloudier and less brown

      When I went to go do my mid-day stir, I could hear the bubbles! I’m on to making white peach verbena soda now. Thanks so much for your support! It really helped!

  89. monica ford says:

    Hi @Tara Carpenter
    Thanks for your question!
    Yes! When you use some liquid from your ginger bug, you will feed and refill your ginger bug jar with water to the shoulder of the jar.
    Also, when your jar is out on your counter and not sleeping in your fridge (when you don’t plan on using it for a while), you should be feeding it every day.

  90. Kara says:

    Hi Monica…

    Another question. I started a second bug when I thought my first one went dead. This one smells yeasty, almost a little bit sour like yogurt, but not a bad sour.

    Is that okay?

    Thanks again, Kara

  91. marla latinakova says:

    Once the bug has been refrigerated, and then removed to make soda, does it need “refreshing” or is it good to go straight out of the fridge? Thanks

  92. monica ford says:

    Hi @Kara

    I would describe the smell of a healthy ginger bug as – clean. lightly ginger-ish with a slight tang.
    If you have bubbles and feel the pressure on the lid of your bug, I would give it a whirl in a soda. It’s likely that it will work just fine.

  93. monica ford says:

    Hi @ Marla
    It’s best to feed your ginger bug once after removing from its place of hibernation in your fridge. So remove from fride, feed, allow to ferment to the following day and make your soda:)

  94. jill says:

    Hi,
    I have started a ginger bug drink and keep my sugars very restricted. Can you please tell me the sugar content once the ginger bug is complete?
    Thank you,
    Jill

  95. andy l says:

    Hi there. I made a large batch of ginger bug. Like 10 cups and just used proper proportions. Started with 1 and 1/2 cup sugar but only adding 1/4 cup a day with the same in new ginger. This is day 4 and we are bubbling nicely and foamy :) my question is…..how do I know when its ready? How fizzy should it be. When I move it and put my ear near I hear the fizz. But when I taste it its only lightly carbonated. Not flat. But not quite like comparable to soda yet. So how fizzy should the final product be?

  96. monica ford says:

    Hi Darlin.
    when it’s fizzing, it’s ready. use to your heart’s content!

  97. […] 1 cup ginger bug from previous Real Food Devotee recipe […]

  98. Rebekah says:

    At what point should I be removing ginger pieces from the ginger bug? I’m on day 4, and it’s been bubbling nicely for 2 days now. At first it smelled just gingery, but it’s starting to smell a bit unpleasant… acrid, I guess. I’ve been using brown sugar. I used to do water kefir, and when I used rapadura in the water kefir it would get this really unpleasant, strong bitter/sour scent to it, but when I switched to white sugar that went away, should I try switching over to white sugar with this to see if the scent goes away? Also, when re-using brine to make pickles I was always told to strain out all the seasoning and onions and other stuff or they go bad and turn the whole culture off, which I guess is why I’m worried about the ginger in this. I know it’s a different culture, but I feel like it should be being removed at some point??

    Any assistance you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  99. monica ford says:

    Hi @Rebekah
    you may leave the original chopped ginger in your ginger bug until it begins to fill the jar too much. Then, you may remove some to the compost heap and continue using and adding/feeding as your needs dictate:)

    Also, you should use organic sugar not brown sugar for best results.

  100. Kate says:

    My ginger bug started fizzing when I fed it tonight and it’s only the second day. Should I keep feeding it for the full week or move it to the fridge?

  101. Dani says:

    I made a bug 2 days ago. I did it in a regular quart mason jar… which gave me 2c Ginger Bug so far… & covered it with a coffee filter & elastic. Was I supposed to cover it with it’s real cover? It is fizzing a little on it’s own. How much should it fizz before it’s ready? Also, when it is done, I would like to double the recie, how do I do that? Just add water and sugar & ginger & continue like I did before? Thanks in advance :)

  102. monica ford says:

    Hi @Kate
    Go ahead and feed your bug for at least 5 days even if it’s already fizzing a bit. You’re making it nice and strong this way:)

  103. monica ford says:

    Hi @Dani
    Go ahead and feed your bug for at least 5 days even if it’s already fizzing a bit. You’re making it nice and strong this way:)

    You should affix the jar’s two piece metal lid tightly. Not a coffee filter for this ferment.

    It should be ready for use in 5-7 days from beginning it.

    To double, add your quart to a half gallon jar or add half the contents of your quart jar to another quart jar and add 1 feeding each of ginger, sugar and water to the shoulder of the jar. Place on the heating mat or in a warm place and ferment.

    *Please in fridge to put to sleep for a while

  104. Dani says:

    Thank you for getting back to me. I just started my 3rd one, but the first two I only fermented for 3 days. I’ll let this one sit for 5, then I’m going to stop for a whie & try WK. Do I just add sugar, water & ginger then pop it in the frige with a lid on? How long will it keep that way? Love your blog, btw :)

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