Monday, September 24, 2007

Ginger Beer Plant

Meet Ginger, the ginger beer plant.

We made her by adding half an ounce of baking yeast to 3/4 pint of warm water, 2 tsps sugar and 2 tsps ground ginger in a roomy bowl. Then we covered her with a clean cloth. See how much she had grown half an hour later.

We'll feed her every day for a week with a teaspoonful of sugar and a teaspoonful of ground ginger, and keep her warm and covered.

After a week, we'll strain her and add the liquid to 24oz of sugar, 2 pints of water and the juice of 2 lemons. Then we'll add 5 more pints of water and mix well. Then we'll bottle her in clean screw top bottles and store her in a cool place.

I'm pretty sure this was mum's ginger beer technique. I got it from Marguerite Patten's book 500 Recipes for Home-Made Wines and Drinks, which mum had. And I remember helping mum make and feed her ginger beer plants. The "beer" is only weakly alcoholic - the main point of the yeast is to make it fizzy and extract the flavour, not to make alcohol - so this drink is perfectly suitable for children. I think there's a way of dividing the plant at the end so you make a batch of ginger beer and keep the plant going for the next batch. I need to do a bit of research and find out how to do that, because it isn't mentioned in the book.

I'll keep you posted about Ginger's progress. Watch this space.


Nik said...

I'm definitely watching and waiting!

Nik said...

A question, where you say you will add a spoonful of sugar and one of ginger - what size spoon are you using?

Melanie Rimmer said...

It's all in teaspoons, Nikki. I'll change it to make it clearer.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to trying this when, and if, I come over at Christmas. I love ginger, in whatever form it comes.

Jenna said...

Very cool idea. My gran used to make this for us when we were just littles, and I never got her recipe (sadly, she dies with all her sercrets. Its going to make the holidays that much harder this year...) so this is a great thing to wake up to today.

This is one recipe I think I'm gonna have to give a try. Thanks.

Joanna said...

I remember when we had a ginger beer plant when I was a child that we kept back some of the starter, divided it in two, gave away one half, fed the other ... and very soon felt hugely guilty about not doing all that, as well as fed up with ginger beer. But I think I'm going to give it another go, because it's SO good, and because I bet the starter would be fine just sitting dormant in the back of the fridge, like a bread starter

Thanks for reminding me!


Lesley said...

Yes, I too remember my Mum being given half of somebody's plant , way back in the mists of time.
I remember drinking the wonderful stuff and also remember her giving half of her plant away.... though I think she must have murdered her remaining half as we didn't drink it for very long

I'm delighted to learn how to grow an embryonic plant for myself and will certainly be having a go at it. I'll let you know how I get on!
Thanks for the recipe!

Dora Renee Wilkerson said...

This is GREAT. I have been looking to buy a ginger beer plant (stuff like this in the US is very hard to come by. Although I did just find a web site that sold some.) I'll be back to your site to see more because I do plan on buying some of the mother culture here soon.

Great post!

Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Anonymous said...

We do this some years and you can
freeze your plant when you get fed up with it and revive it when you want to try again.

Anonymous said...

yes, ginger plants are great

Garrett said...

what do you do with the plant after?

Garrett said...

to make it into a drink

nadi945 said...

It may be silly,but it is not clear for me .By "baking yeast" do you mean the regular yeast that is sold at the stores.I have granulated is that going to work.
Is that the original Ginger Beer plant/it is sold for around $20/ or way of make in it home stile.
I have milk kefir grains ,and want to start water kefiring.And this something I have never heart and so willing to try.Thanks for the post.I will appreciate if somebody answer me. Thanks and all the best .

Melanie Rimmer said...

Hi Nadia, yes baking yeast is the granulated yeast you buy at the store for making bread. It's not the same thing as an authentic ginger beer plant, but it does make very nice home-made ginger beer.

Unknown said...

Did anyone else find the product very yeasty and not entirely appetizing?

Anonymous said...

Hi Melanie. Love your blog. First time ever doing this. Found you on the net. I just tried making a plant (info from the net)and I think I got it wrong. I put in tablespoonfulls and after 10 days I think it's dead. No bubbles no nothing and it's HUGE. I think I'll just dump it and start again. What say you? Should it be bubbling a bit?

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