Ginger Bug Natural Soda Starter :: day one

Follow our series on how to make a “ginger bug” for making healthy, natural sodas from scratch!

Today we are going to try to make our very own soda starter, known as a “ginger bug”, from scratch! Join in on the fun and let’s see if we can have our own custom flavored sodas in the next week or so.

A few days ago I gave you a list of supplies to get started on the project. Remember that in order to de-chlorinate your water, you will need to leave it out for at least eight-hours (or preferably overnight) in order for all of the chlorine to evaporate.

Lets get started!

Wrestle up your one-quart or two-quart glass jar, dechlorinated water, ginger, and rapadura sugar or sucanat together. If you are unable to find sucanat or rapadura sugar in your area, you can use white sugar with a tablespoon of molasses added in a real pinch. But try your best to find a sugar or sweetener with its minerals still intact.

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This is what rapadura looks like just so you know what you’re looking for if you have never used it before. We use it in all of our baking and cooking now. It makes for the best cookies, sweets, and iced tea since it has a great deep-sweet, brown sugar taste with all of the natural minerals and molasses still within it. Far better than its processed counterpart.

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First, finely chop about two inches of raw ginger root with the peel/skin still on.

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Now throw the chopped ginger into your quart-jar and add two tablespoons of rapadura.

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Add three cups of dechlorinated water and stir.

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Cover your jar with either finely woven cheesecloth or a flour sack towel and secure with a rubber band. Keep your jar in a dark spot that isn’t too warm and isn’t too cool. The goldilocks of spots.

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This is –by far– the ugliest of all of the projects I have attempted so far, but who knows… maybe that’s the key. Check back tomorrow for the next step.

14 thoughts on “Ginger Bug Natural Soda Starter :: day one

  1. When using the molasses/sugar combination, what is the ratio? I was a little confused on this part, since it never outright said any measurements.

    I love the photos and your blog!

    • Thanks for reading! And for joining in on the “experiment”!

      I’m sorry about not giving the amounts, but honestly, I’m not too sure. I would try 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses to start. Every day we are going to “feed” the ginger bug a little sugar so I would feed mostly white sugar with just a little bit of molasses. Lets say a 4:1 ratio of sugar to molasses. Let me know how it works out because I’m very curious how well white sugar will work.

  2. I am new to your great blog and hope to hang out a bit and do some reading. I sure do hope I remember to stop back and get the next step. I am very interested in seeing the end results. I would love to be able to make my own soda.
    Just stopped by from Rural Thursday.

  3. Hi Sarah! Thanks for the great post! This is a project that has been on my to-do list for a while now!!! You have got me motivated to get it started 🙂 I am thinking this would be an awesome treat to enjoy at Christmas time on our happy little homestead!!!!! So fun & festive 🙂 thank you so much for sharing!!!!
    Blessings~Wendy

    • We are always happy to share our experiments! I am hoping to get a batch of berry soda finished by Christmas Eve to share with my family and I hope you have some done by then as well. It isn’t difficult; it just takes patience. Good luck and be sure to let me know how it works for you! Thanks for reading.

      • I hope to start my first batch tomorrow, as I am going to town for supplies 🙂 Would you mind if I shared your recipe and my experiences on my blog, Stand Upon Grace? I will definately let you know how it works out 🙂 Thanks for commenting, stop on by my happy little homestead blog when you have time!
        Happy Fermenting~ Wendy

  4. Has anyone heard or tried using Stevia with this recipe. Since Stevia I believe is a better more nutritious sweetener. Sugar(BAD) but even supposedly better unprocessed sugar cane and it’s variety’s, apparently still has too much unhealthy sucrose in it.

    • You know, I haven’t heard of anyone using stevia instead. But I am interested to know if it works. I don’t know much about stevia (other than it is plant derived), but the ginger bug feeds on “sugars”… what part of sugar specifically I’m not too sure. Try it out and let me know how it works! I’d love to be able to include stevia measurements on the post as well.

    • I know this is an old question on an old thread, but I think I have a really good answer to it that can help people researching this process.

      I’ve come across a lot of blogs on ginger bugs, and this is one o the best, with great details, commentary, and images. Thank you. All these ginger bug recipes are similar, but have a lot of preparation, startup and measurement differences that at first was overwhelming. It makes me think that the details of measurements are not the most important, it is the ingredients and basic concept of fermenting that makes it. Ginger, clean water, and some sort of caloric sweetener -cane sugar based ones I think are the most effective, because this is what the bacteria and yeast thrive on. You just have to realize that the sugar is not for you, it is for them. The molasses in the sugar is partially for you, for flavor, but I think also the nutrients are for you and the bacteria and yeast.

      I thought of using palm sugar, but it would probably yield about the same result with slightly different flavor for more spending, and since I’ve replaced all my other sugar intake with coconut palm sugar and stevia, I need to use the raw sugar I have for something. The micro-biological miracles will consume the sugar and convert it to the fizz and nutrient content you want, preserving the food quality of the ginger (so it is not rotting), and then they’ll help you digest the rest of what you put into your body.

      Considering that, once you get to the soda making part, you should allow your soda to ferment for the longer amount of time (5-10 days), which makes it less sweet, but more acidic and beneficial, and you can add your drops of liquid stevia extract after you’ve refrigerated it for serving. This will maximize the benefits and flavor of your sodas immensely, and you won’t suffer the consequences of sugar sweetened sodas.

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