Ginger beer is a classic flavor of homemade soda. It can be made lightly gingered, like most commercial ginger ale, or as spicy as you can take it, using lots of ginger. A ginger bug is a simple ginger beer starter (it can also be used as a starter for other beverages) made from ginger, sugar, and water. Ginger beer can also be made with many different types of starters.
Ginger beer and ginger bug recipe
1. A ginger bug could not be easier to start: Grate a bit of ginger (with skin) into a small jar, add some water and sugar, and stir.
One word that repeatedly comes to the fore in my exploration and thinking about fermentation is culture. Fermentation relates to culture in many different ways, corresponding with the many layers of meaning embedded in this important word, from its literal and specific meanings in the context of microbiology to its broadest connotations. We call the starters that we add to milk to make yogurt, or to initiate any fermentation, cultures. Simultaneously, culture constitutes the totality of all that humans seek to pass from generation to generation, including language, music, art, literature, scientific knowledge, and belief systems, as well as agriculture and culinary techniques (in both of which fermentation occupies a central role).
In fact, the word culture comes from Latin cultura, a form of colere, “to cultivate.” Our cultivation of the land and its creatures -- plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria -- is essential to culture. Reclaiming our food and our participation in cultivation is a means of cultural revival, taking action to break out of the confining and infantilizing dependency of the role of consumer (user), and taking back our dignity and power by becoming producers and creators.
This is not just about fermentation (even if, as a biological force upon our food, that is inevitable), but about food more broadly. Every living creature on this Earth interacts intimately with its environment via its food. Humans in our developed technological society, however, have largely severed this connection, and with disastrous results. Though affluent people have more food choices than people of the past could ever have dreamed of, and though one person’s labor can produce more food today than ever before, the large-scale, commercial methods and systems that enable these phenomena are destroying our Earth, destroying our health, and depriving us of dignity. With respect to food, the vast majority of people are completely dependent for survival upon a fragile global infrastructure of monocultures, synthetic chemicals, biotechnology, and transportation.