A Dive into Fermentation

On my island home of Barbados, I had grown up knowing three popular drinks, coconut water drank straight from fresh coconuts, mauby which I detest( it’s so bitter), and ginger beer, my second favorite. So when faced with the challenge of taking my first foray into fermentation I felt it was a good idea to recreate some childhood memories and make some ginger beer.

For this beverage it basically as stated is fermented ginger root. There are two ways to make it, one is to prepare a “ginger bug” in a slurry of sugar water, yeast and ginger, which can take weeks. Or a simpler method is skipping the ginger bug method and fermenting from the raw ginger root. The end result will not be as powerful but when in need for a semi quick fix for ginger beer( still 2-3 days…better than weeks) this is the way to go.

The basic method for this is fermentation, using yeast and sugar, with an acid and the flavoring, in this case ginger beer.

This left my ingredients list very simple, sugar, ginger root,lemon juice, yeast, baking soda(I didn’t have any cream of tartar), water, something to put it all in and of course time.

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Also to make sure everything was clean I sterilized the jar, my drink would be fermenting in.

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I had never made ginger beer before so I took to the internet for assistance and fell upon a simple recipe on a food blog by Julia Miller called “theroastedroot.net” which is listed below: http://www.theroastedroot.net/how-to-make-ginger-beer/  that I could follow to achieve those sweet childhood memories.

After following the steps listed in the recipe, first grating the ginger, juicing the lemons, I mixed those together with the baking soda and water . I then brought it to a boil and added the sugar. I then made sure to let it cool, it is very important so that when you add the yeast they don’t just die. DO NOT FORGET.

P.S Alcan foil is not sponsoring me, the roll of foil just felt like photobombing my pictures 😦

After it had cooled  and I added the yeast, I entered the final but easiest stage of the recipe….waiting. After adding the yeast I let it sit for three hours under a damp cloth. Finally I placed my mixture in a jar for the long haul.

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After 3 days, I was eager to try my ginger beer, after a few mishaps with my second fermenting bottle, where it may have expanded a bit to the point I thought the plastic bottle would go kaboom.It did not though…phew.

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Immediately the smell that came off was very yeasty, which was expected considering what was in it. There was a strong ginger smell, a nice earthy, spicy sweetness that I remembered. However, the taste was a little off to me, the sour yeasty taste overpowered the taste of the ginger, there were hints of the ginger taste but lost in the taste of the yeast. There was still a spicy kick from the ginger. In my opinion for the volume of liquid I used, I would adjust the recipe so as to reduce the yeasty flavor, or add more ginger in the beginning. In the end it was a fun experience, I have expanded my culinary repertoire and am excited to try this same beverage again. Next time I will definitely try the ginger bug since I will have more time to utilize it, I’m not sure I can wait as long but we can always see.

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