How to Make a Fermented Ginger Bug and a Ginger Soda Recipe! — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)

Find out how to make a traditional fermented base for making homemade natural sodas and lots more by making a ginger bug at home. A little ginger, a little honey or sugar, and a little time…. And you’ve got a ginger bug to support your health! Complete directions and how to use your bug included in this tutorial!

I'm always on the look out for new and delicious fermented food and drink ideas. Although I love Kombucha, I've grown a little tired of the same-old same-old Kombucha tea all the time.

And I LOVE me my Beet Kvass, another incredibly delicious, healthy drink....but I was looking for a new choice. Perhaps a slightly sweeter drink. And I came across a Ginger Bug when reading my Wild Drinks & co*cktails book by Emily Han.

The very next day, while doing my normal shopping, I stumbled across a whole pound package of fresh, organic unpeeled Ginger Root! It was a sign!

Time to get that Ginger Bug going! Here are my adapted steps (because I love a lot of Ginger) for making a delicious, healthy and probiotic-filled Ginger bug!

**And to find out how to make Ginger Beet Kvass, a fermented nutritional powerhouse drink, take a look at this article!

FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article, and if you click through, I may earn a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

What is a Ginger Bug?

EWWWW! It does have kind of a creepy name, right? It kind of connotes a lumpy, tan bug crawling along on the ground.

But a Ginger Bug is simply a fermented ginger fizzy starter that can be added to water, kefir, teas, Kombucha, etc. to create a delicious fizzy soda while adding probiotics to your diet.

The neat thing about creating a Ginger Bug is that the starter uses the wild yeasts that are naturally floating around in the air in your environment, as well as any yeasts on the surface of the ginger root. That's why you do not want to peel your ginger for this starter!

NOTE: According to Emily Han, author of the book, Wild Drinks and co*cktails, you definitely need to use organic ginger because non-organic may have been irradiated, which will kill the beneficial yeasts and bacteria.

Super Simple Directions: How to Make a Ginger Bug

This is one of those ferments that doesn't need an airlock because air actually needs to circulate, just like with making Kombucha or a sour dough starter.

After you're done feeding it each day, just cover the top of the jar with a paper towel, clean cloth, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band to keep the buggies out. I just store mine on the kitchen counter or windowsill.

Making your ginger bug takes a few days, but when it’s ready to go, you’ll be so glad you took care of this little guy!

Day One:

Grate 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh ginger root, organic unpeeled.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar

Cover with water in a pint or quart Mason jar.

Day Two:

Grate 2 tablespoons fresh unpeeled ginger

Add 2 more tablespoons sugar, the ginger, and again, cover with water--about 2 tablespoons should do it, more or less.

Day Three:

Same as the second day---You should be seeing bubbling at the surface by now, but if you are not, don't worry. It can take up to seven days, depending on the temperature and the quality of the ginger root.

Every Day After:

Keep doing the same thing. This is maintaining its feeding. Eventually, you will have enough liquid to get your Ginger sodas going! You'll need about 1/2 cup strained Ginger Bug Starter Liquid or so to start your sodas fermenting.

You need to keep up with it every day, just as any fermented starter needs care. You'll have to feed it consistently (rather like a little pet)---but even if you don't, it's super easy and relatively quick to make a new one. If you love Ginger like I do, then I know you'll want to make a Ginger Bug to have ready to go and create lots of sodas!

What to Do if You Can't Keep Up the Feeding Every Day?

Good question! And no worries!

Just like with a sour dough starter, you can put it in the refrigerator and just feed it once a week. If you want to use it, just take it out of the refrigerator, give it a basic feeding, as in Day 2 above, and allow it to get bubbly again. It might take a day or two, but it should revive just fine!

And if this is too much trouble, it's so easy to make a new starter, you could just do that.

Why You Should Make a Ginger Bug and Why It’s So Good for You?

Well, there's Ginger. And there's fermentation. Between those two incredible healthy factors, this simple combination of Ginger, sugar, and water packs a powerfully excellent punch!

Some Info About Fermentation:

Let's start with fermentation. Fermented foods have been consumed by all cultures the world over for thousands of years. Indeed, fermented foods are one of the traditional ways to preserve foods that actually increase the nutritional health benefits of the food itself.

You can find out lots more about fermentation in these articles:

Fermentation: What is It and Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods Every Day and

8 Fermentation Myths: Find Out the Truth About Fermentation.There are other fermentation articles on the blog too!

Some Info About Medicinal and Healthy Ginger:

Now, let's move on to Ginger. Ginger is a common culinary spice and digestive tea, but it's also an herb that contains powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that are just plain good for you.

According to medical doctors, including Dr. Axe, Ginger can help with these important things:

  • Stroke & Heart Disease (Find out more about Herbs to Use for a Healthy Heart in this article.)

  • Indigestion & Nausea

  • Malabsorption

  • Immune System Health

  • Respiratory System Health

  • Bacterial & Fungal Infections

  • Ulcers & Acid Reflux

  • Pain (since it's an anti-inflammatory herb related to turmeric)

  • Diabetes

  • Cholesterol

  • Arthritis

You can find out more details about these health benefits of ginger in this article.

How to Use Your Ginger Bug

To make soda:

Essentially, you simply strain off about 1/2 cup starter, a half cup sugar,and combine with half-gallon of juice, water kefir,or tea. Allow to ferment for a few days, then enjoy your natural fermented soda!

As a delicious addition to teas or water

You can add your ginger starter to any cup of liquid you'd like to drink it with (although I do not recommend dairy). I like to add some to my water. The ginger taste is always exquisite and this adds benefits to your drinking water. WIN.

What About the Sugar? Is it Bad for You?

Yes. You are using sugar to create both your ginger bug and to make your subsequent sodas. The sugar is necessary to feed the yeasts and bacteria and by the time it's fermented, there is very little sugar left in the drink! How cool is that?

I honestly can't say how much sugar remains and how much is actually consumed, but I can tell you the longer you ferment your drink, the less sweet it will be.

Final Thoughts on a Ginger Bug---

I still can't get over the name. I just can't....can you? But don't let that stop you from trying this insanely good for you fermented starter.

I only mentioned a few uses I'm aware of above, but my brain is saying: How about on ice cream? How about in a co*cktail (if you drink)? How about added to a salad dressing? Really, the things you can do with your ginger bug starter are probably endless!

Ginger is so easy for us to obtain these days. Although it can be tough to grow, unless you are in a nice warm place or have a greenhouse, luckily it's readily available in good markets these days!

I like to have Ginger in the house at all times any way because it's one of those excellent home remedy ingredients for so many things. Here you can see how I use it to make Fire Cider, a delicious daily tonic drink that helps your immune system and all your organs!

Oh! And would you like to learn more about fermentation? Join our FREE Natural Living Community! It’s off social media, ads-free, and it’s a place where we discuss fermentation, among several other natural living topics. You can join us here: Healing Harvest Homestead Natural Living Community (and….there’s an app, too).

Have you made a Ginger Bug before? What did you think? What are your favorite ways to use it? Share in the comments! We love to hear from you!

Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,


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How to Make a Fermented Ginger Bug and a Ginger Soda Recipe! — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)


How long can you ferment a ginger bug? ›

It's easy to make, taking a week or less. Then it can be used to craft homemade ginger ale, sarsaparilla, fruit-flavored sodas, tonics, and more all teeming with natural carbonation. Once you have your wild ferment, it can be kept alive indefinitely.

Why isn't my ginger bug fizzy? ›

If you're not seeing bubbles after a few days, it's possible your ginger bug was contaminated, had traces of chlorine, or was sterilized by harsh direct sunlight. We'd recommend starting over on your ginger bug.

Is ginger good for fermentation? ›

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a perennial favorite addition to many fermented goodies. Ginger's warm, woodsy flavor is pleasingly hot with rich, sweet notes. It is a common ingredient in many traditional fermentations.

Can you make a ginger bug from ginger powder? ›

You only need 4 ingredients to make ginger bug: ginger, water, fresh lemons and sugar. Dried ginger powder works best. GETTING STARTED: Boil 300ml of water.

What temperature do you ferment ginger bugs? ›

A Ginger Bug starter culture ferments best in temperatures between 75-85°F. During the winter (or if you keep your household temperatures significantly below these temperatures), it can be a bit tricky to accomplish this.

Can I use tap water for ginger bug? ›

The ginger bug will consume the sugar in the drink and transform it into a healthy, bubbly, probiotic-rich soda. Although the process is really simple, there are a few best practices for brewing a bug: Use chlorine-free water. Unfortunately, the chlorine in tap water can kill the microbes in your bug.

Can I drink straight ginger bug? ›

It is time for “ginger bug” to have its day in the sun as a fermented tonic drink in its own right. Long considered just a starter for ginger beer, this quick to ferment beverage is low in sugar, spicy, warming and pungent. In our house, we enjoy it straight up.

What is a fermented ginger drink called? ›

Ginger beer is still produced at home using a symbiotic colony of yeast and a Lactobacillus (bacteria) known as a "ginger beer plant" or from a "ginger bug" starter created from fermenting ginger, sugar, and water.

Can you drink ginger bug straight in the morning? ›

Ginger Bug can be used straight up, in cooking, teas, tonics or added as a flavour to beverages including kombucha, water kefir or other brews. To keep your Bug alive, you will need to feed it regularly. You can also 'rest' it in the fridge and feed it a tablespoon each of ginger and sugar once a week.

How do I know my ginger bug is ready? ›

The smell will start to develop to and become more yeasty and gingery. You will also see small bubbles rising from the bottom of the jar. After 5 -7 days you should see that the ginger bug is alive and active and it is now ready to use.

What is the white mold on ginger bug? ›

If you see mold forming (and I've had this happen) just toss out the bug and start over. After about a week or so, you should have enough liquid in your bug to start using it for tasty things. Keep feeding your bug daily to experiment with different ginger tonics, sodas and teas.

Is ginger bug yeast or bacteria? ›

A 'ginger bug' is a wild, lacto-fermented starter culture (a collection of beneficial bacteria and wild yeast) that is used to initiate the fermentation process for authentic, probiotic, ginger beer, like ours. It is a pretty famous concoction amongst fermenters, and is used to make wild fermented sodas.

How much sugar do you feed a ginger bug? ›

Feed your bug 1 tbsp grated ginger and 1 tbsp sugar daily. Stir vigorously. 4. Your bug should be ready to use in about 5 days.

What happens if you ferment ginger beer too long? ›

If it is 'home brewed' it can be set up to continue fermentation once bottled, but can lead to a very uneven product. How long should ginger beer ferment? 2 to 3 days. Any longer and it will start to taste very dry and lose its sweet ginger taste.

How long does fermented ginger last? ›

It will last up to three months at room temperature. Alternatively, when you are satisfied with the flavor of your honey fermented ginger, you can store it in the fridge where it will slow down the fermentation process and can last up to one year.


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