Saturday, 4 July 2009

Ginger Beer

Well, I guess, like me, you have all finished making Elderflower Champagne and cordial - and it got me thinking about something I used to make when my son was still living at home - Ginger Beer. It is so simple - and cheap - he he used to drink gallons of it. It's non-alchoholic, of course, so it would be great to make for a summer party when you want something a bit different to offer 'the drivers' as a soft drink.

The ingredients are mostly store cupboard and I just love the chemistry of making it. Children could do this during the long holidays as well - it's less bother than getting a pet!

You need to create what is called a Ginger Beer Plant. Get yourself a large, clean jam jar, the 2lb size is great.Put 15g or 1/2 oz of general purpose dried yeast into the jar, add 300ml or 1/2 pint water, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 2 teaspoons sugar. Cover jar with a sheet of polythene or cling film and secure with a rubber band.

Each day, for seven days, add 1 teasppon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the mixture in the jar.

Now strain the mixture through a piece of fine muslin and add the juice of two lemons to the liquid. Add 50g or 2oz sugar to the liquid and make up to 4.5 litres or 1 gallon with cold water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bottle into screw-top cider, beer or plastic bottle - we have 1 litre ones on the jam jar shop website which are perfect for this. Keep for 7-10 days when the ginger beer is sparkling and ready for drinking.

Keep the sediment that you have left after straining the ginger beer plant. Divide into two jars and give 1 plant away to a friend with the instructions. To the sediment add 300ml or 1/2 pint water, 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ginger and carry on as before.