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Ginger and Turmeric: Making Natural Sodas
I’m using ginger and turmeric to make natural sodas because my local herb share offered fresh and local ingredients.
I recently scored a beautiful batch of fresh ginger and turmeric from my herb share program. I decided the best way to enjoy these tasty and restorative spices is to make ginger and turmeric bugs for use in natural sodas. Intrigued? Read on to learn more and find a recipe to create your own!
Ginger is a rhizome, an underground root system of the plant, that has both culinary and medicinal uses. Many love the spicy flavor of ginger in breads, cookies, cakes, soups, stir-fries, and sodas. Health food experts teach us that ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. An anti-inflammatory is a compound that helps reduce and eliminate swelling, tenderness, fever, and pain in the body. An anti-oxidant is a substance that helps reduce or eliminate the process of oxidation of tissues that affects the aging process. The active ingredient in ginger is the oil gingerol.
Used to treat digestive issues, ginger is also known to warm the body. I like ginger tea and ginger-lemon kombucha as daily digestive tonics. You can learn more here.
Turmeric is also a rhizome and is in the ginger family. Golden yellow and a bit smaller than ginger, it is a healing powerhouse! The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a very powerful anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant, more so than ginger. Turmeric is often found in golden-yellow powder form. It is what gives a curry and yellow mustard their yellow color. Of all the medicinal herbs, turmeric gets the most recognition for its proven benefits that eliminate inflammation and support brain health.
It is milder in flavor than ginger and often is served with various kinds of milk (almond, coconut, etc.) to help the body better extract and absorb the curcumin. You can learn more here.
Homemade Soda Recipe
Making the Bugs
These bugs, concentrated ferments of ginger or turmeric, are the perfect starter for natural sodas. The fermentation brings out the flavors of the ginger or turmeric and also makes their medicinal properties more bioavailable. You don’t have to be a member of a local farm share to make your own bugs because these rhizomes are readily available in their fresh form in most supermarkets.
- A ‘hand’ of fresh ginger and/or turmeric
- A grater
- A pint-sized mason jar with plastic cap
- Filtered water (unchlorinated)
- Pure cane sugar
Then, do this:
- Peel the papery skin off a 1-2 inch piece of your ginger or turmeric. Grate 2 tablespoons of either (Do not combine. Keep separate.).
- Place in the mason jar.
- Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons water.
- Stir, cover and store in a cool location out of direct sunlight.
- Each day for the next 5-7 days add 1 tbs of grated ginger or turmeric, 1 tbs sugar, and 2 tbs water, and stir.
- At day 5 begin looking for signs of fermentation: a beer-like fragrance, and bubbles at the top of the mixture. When these signs are evident you bug is ready for a soda preparation.
Making ginger or turmeric natural soda
Now, we can make a simple flavored syrup, add the liquid from the bug, bottle up and allow to naturally carbonate, refrigerate and enjoy!
You will need:
- Non-chlorinated water.
- Pure cane sugar.
- A one-gallon heavy-bottomed stew pot.
- Fresh ginger or turmeric to match your bug.
- 2 lemons or limes.
- Flip top bottles or mason jars with lids.
Here’s the step-by-step process:
- Make a batch of the flavoring syrup for your soda by adding 2 quarts of filtered, non-chlorinated water to a heavy bottom pot and placing over a medium flame. Grate a 2” portion of fresh ginger or turmeric and add to the warming water. If you want a stronger ginger/turmeric flavor, you can add as much as a 6” portion of ginger/turmeric, grated. Add 2 cups of pure cane sugar and bring to a boil. Turn the flame down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then, turn off the flame and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
- Strain out the ginger/turmeric from the syrup.
- Add 2 quarts of water to bring the volume to 1 gallon.
- Strain your bug and add the liquid to the watered down syrup.
- Add the juice of 2 lemons (or limes, as you like).
- Bottle up your soda preparation in either a flip top bottle or a well-sealed mason jar. This is important: Vent flip top bottles daily when kept at room temperature to express the build-up of CO2. Mason jars are not as much a worry for excess gas built up and eruptions of soda all over the kitchen.
- After 24 hours, taste for the level of bubbles and sweetness. When your soda is as you like it, refrigerate for 2 weeks, and enjoy!
The Holidays are just around the corner. These natural sodas should be kept on hand to remedy tummies that are recovering from overindulgence. they also make a nice mixer for cocktails made with your handcrafted cordials.
5 top resources for making ginger and turmeric bugs:
- I learned this process from Grow, Forage, Cook, Ferment. Here’s their original post.
- Homebrewers take on the ginger bug.
- A bow to the master fermenter…here’s a large batch recipe from Sandor Katz.
- Reported health benefits of ginger and turmeric are detailed here.
- A video how-to for you! She combines the ginger and turmeric.
If you enjoy fermenting…
Let’s get social!
If you try this, please share! Since I can’t get a taste of your final product, I’d at least like to see the final product and hear how the whole process went. You can leave a comment below, or post on these social media platforms:
Looking forward to hearing about your seasonal kitchen adventures making giner and turmeric bugs, and natural sodas!