I’d be remiss if I did not post pictures of my adventures in making ginger beer. In my first attempt to launch a ginger bug, I could not get yeast to grow. Turns out that all ginger you buy in the store that is not explicitly labeled organic has been irradiated and no amount of grated ginger in a jar full of water and sugar will start to bubble. The natural yeasts on its skin (think grape yeasts used to make wine by way of analogy) have all been killed.
My second attempt to make a bug (pictured to left) using the peel and core of organic ginger, succeeded admirably. When I used the bug to infect three quarts of boiled ginger, sugar, and water, I inadvertently omitted lemon juice. Ginger beer is supposed to ferment in just a day or two and when mine failed to make any bubbles, I let it go another two days. The ginger slime I made instead, even thinking about its mouthfeel now, three weeks after the fact, makes me a little queasy.
On the third try, remembering the lemon juice this time and adding a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar, I made ginger beer. It is supposed to be mildly alcoholic and effervescent, but I cannot honestly say that I achieved either. It was, however, quite yummy, slightly tickly, ginger lemonade.