Ginger beer

Ginger beer

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Makes
8 × 750 ml

Home-made ginger beer is one of the joys of childhood. It is made by fermenting a simple syrup with a yeast, ginger and sugar mixture (called ‘plant’). As fermentation causes strong pressure inside bottles, be sure to use sturdy bottles, seal them with patent clip-on bottle seals or screwtops and store them in a cool place where a burst bottle will do no harm. Make ginger beer in small batches so that it will not be kept too long.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Ginger beer plant

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon compressed yeast
or 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
9 teaspoons sugar
250ml warm water
9 teaspoons ground ginger

Syrup

Quantity Ingredient
880g sugar
6 litres water, warmed
125ml lemon juice, strained

Method

  1. To make ginger beer plant, mix yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a large sterilised jar and add water (lukewarm for compressed yeast, comfortably hand-warm for dry yeast) and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Cover jar with muslin (cheesecloth) and leave 18 days, adding 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and sugar every day.
  2. To make syrup, heat sugar and 1.5 litres water, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add remaining water and lemon juice. Strain yeast mixture through 2 thicknesses of muslin. Reserve sediment on muslin. Add strained liquid to syrup. Stir well. Pour into bottles, filling only to base of necks, and seal. Leave about 5 days before drinking, depending on weather – in hot weather, the ginger beer will be ready in 3–4 days.
  3. To make further batches of ginger beer, halve plant left on muslin and place in 2 sterilised jars with 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon sugar and 250 ml water in each (no more yeast is added after first start). Repeat process as before, adding sugar and ginger daily.
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