Foraging for food can seem obvious: many food that are easy to identify though not particularly to find have certain seasons—May for morels and October for Porcinis, March for wild asparagus. Then most people have heard of catching yeast to make sourdough bread likethe pioneers of the gold rush did. Keeping a warm snuff can full of their poolish in their breast pocket while braving the snow. But for this sparking water addict I discovered a new thing to forage: helpful bacterias.
Ginger pop is now in our larder and soon to be added some other sparkling delights including one made with all those tangerines! Making this brew which is not that different than fermenting wine or any other fruit (or vegetable). I found this recipe in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz and am having a blast experimenting with his recipes!
First you make a ginger “bug” with equal parts grated ginger (about two knuckles worth) and sugar into a cup of water. Stir together, cover with cheesecloth or gauze and let it sit for a few days up to a week. Each day add equal parts grated ginger root and sugar until it starts to foam up.
You can save your bug in the fridge after this, just adding grated ginger and sugar every so often like you would with sour dough starter.
To make ginger pop (it will have about .5 percent alcohol because the sugar has converted into alcohol) a soda much like ginger ale… boil a gallon of water and three cups of sugar and grate in fresh ginger. I used about two inches of ginger, skin and all. You can add more or less depending on how strong you want it. After it has boiled for 15 minutes let it cool. It has become a ginger syrup that will be your pop base.
Strain out the ginger and add the juice of two lemons and add a cup of ginger “bug”.
Add six cups of water to your entire mix. Now you have flat ginger pop. To make it sparkle you have to let it ferment for a couple of weeks in a warm spot. Pour ginger mix into into re-used bottles, those tall beer bottles with the hook tops are great because your ginger bug will create a lot of pressure soon. Also leave 1/4th of the bottle empty so that the gases have a place to go. I filled five big old lemonade bottles with this and did one in a plastic bottle so that I could test the pressure. You will see the plastic bottle expand and become hard as the gases release, then you know your ginger pop is ready! Chill before opening and watch out for the “pop!”