How to Make a Fermented Ginger Bug and a Ginger Soda Recipe! — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)

Find out how to make a traditional fermented base for making homemade natural sodas and lots more by making a ginger bug at home. A little ginger, a little honey or sugar, and a little time…. And you’ve got a ginger bug to support your health! Complete directions and how to use your bug included in this tutorial!

I'm always on the look out for new and delicious fermented food and drink ideas. Although I love Kombucha, I've grown a little tired of the same-old same-old Kombucha tea all the time.

And I LOVE me my Beet Kvass, another incredibly delicious, healthy drink....but I was looking for a new choice. Perhaps a slightly sweeter drink. And I came across a Ginger Bug when reading my Wild Drinks & co*cktails book by Emily Han.

The very next day, while doing my normal shopping, I stumbled across a whole pound package of fresh, organic unpeeled Ginger Root! It was a sign!

Time to get that Ginger Bug going! Here are my adapted steps (because I love a lot of Ginger) for making a delicious, healthy and probiotic-filled Ginger bug!

**And to find out how to make Ginger Beet Kvass, a fermented nutritional powerhouse drink, take a look at this article!

FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article, and if you click through, I may earn a very small commission at no extra cost to you.

What is a Ginger Bug?

EWWWW! It does have kind of a creepy name, right? It kind of connotes a lumpy, tan bug crawling along on the ground.

But a Ginger Bug is simply a fermented ginger fizzy starter that can be added to water, kefir, teas, Kombucha, etc. to create a delicious fizzy soda while adding probiotics to your diet.

The neat thing about creating a Ginger Bug is that the starter uses the wild yeasts that are naturally floating around in the air in your environment, as well as any yeasts on the surface of the ginger root. That's why you do not want to peel your ginger for this starter!

NOTE: According to Emily Han, author of the book, Wild Drinks and co*cktails, you definitely need to use organic ginger because non-organic may have been irradiated, which will kill the beneficial yeasts and bacteria.

Super Simple Directions: How to Make a Ginger Bug

This is one of those ferments that doesn't need an airlock because air actually needs to circulate, just like with making Kombucha or a sour dough starter.

After you're done feeding it each day, just cover the top of the jar with a paper towel, clean cloth, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band to keep the buggies out. I just store mine on the kitchen counter or windowsill.

Making your ginger bug takes a few days, but when it’s ready to go, you’ll be so glad you took care of this little guy!

Day One:

Grate 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh ginger root, organic unpeeled.

Add 2 tablespoons sugar

Cover with water in a pint or quart Mason jar.

Day Two:

Grate 2 tablespoons fresh unpeeled ginger

Add 2 more tablespoons sugar, the ginger, and again, cover with water--about 2 tablespoons should do it, more or less.

Day Three:

Same as the second day---You should be seeing bubbling at the surface by now, but if you are not, don't worry. It can take up to seven days, depending on the temperature and the quality of the ginger root.

Every Day After:

Keep doing the same thing. This is maintaining its feeding. Eventually, you will have enough liquid to get your Ginger sodas going! You'll need about 1/2 cup strained Ginger Bug Starter Liquid or so to start your sodas fermenting.

You need to keep up with it every day, just as any fermented starter needs care. You'll have to feed it consistently (rather like a little pet)---but even if you don't, it's super easy and relatively quick to make a new one. If you love Ginger like I do, then I know you'll want to make a Ginger Bug to have ready to go and create lots of sodas!

What to Do if You Can't Keep Up the Feeding Every Day?

Good question! And no worries!

Just like with a sour dough starter, you can put it in the refrigerator and just feed it once a week. If you want to use it, just take it out of the refrigerator, give it a basic feeding, as in Day 2 above, and allow it to get bubbly again. It might take a day or two, but it should revive just fine!

And if this is too much trouble, it's so easy to make a new starter, you could just do that.

Why You Should Make a Ginger Bug and Why It’s So Good for You?

Well, there's Ginger. And there's fermentation. Between those two incredible healthy factors, this simple combination of Ginger, sugar, and water packs a powerfully excellent punch!

Some Info About Fermentation:

Let's start with fermentation. Fermented foods have been consumed by all cultures the world over for thousands of years. Indeed, fermented foods are one of the traditional ways to preserve foods that actually increase the nutritional health benefits of the food itself.

You can find out lots more about fermentation in these articles:

Fermentation: What is It and Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods Every Day and

8 Fermentation Myths: Find Out the Truth About Fermentation.There are other fermentation articles on the blog too!

Some Info About Medicinal and Healthy Ginger:

Now, let's move on to Ginger. Ginger is a common culinary spice and digestive tea, but it's also an herb that contains powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that are just plain good for you.

According to medical doctors, including Dr. Axe, Ginger can help with these important things:

  • Stroke & Heart Disease (Find out more about Herbs to Use for a Healthy Heart in this article.)

  • Indigestion & Nausea

  • Malabsorption

  • Immune System Health

  • Respiratory System Health

  • Bacterial & Fungal Infections

  • Ulcers & Acid Reflux

  • Pain (since it's an anti-inflammatory herb related to turmeric)

  • Diabetes

  • Cholesterol

  • Arthritis

You can find out more details about these health benefits of ginger in this article.

How to Use Your Ginger Bug

To make soda:

Essentially, you simply strain off about 1/2 cup starter, a half cup sugar,and combine with half-gallon of juice, water kefir,or tea. Allow to ferment for a few days, then enjoy your natural fermented soda!

As a delicious addition to teas or water

You can add your ginger starter to any cup of liquid you'd like to drink it with (although I do not recommend dairy). I like to add some to my water. The ginger taste is always exquisite and this adds benefits to your drinking water. WIN.

What About the Sugar? Is it Bad for You?

Yes. You are using sugar to create both your ginger bug and to make your subsequent sodas. The sugar is necessary to feed the yeasts and bacteria and by the time it's fermented, there is very little sugar left in the drink! How cool is that?

I honestly can't say how much sugar remains and how much is actually consumed, but I can tell you the longer you ferment your drink, the less sweet it will be.

Final Thoughts on a Ginger Bug---

I still can't get over the name. I just can't....can you? But don't let that stop you from trying this insanely good for you fermented starter.

I only mentioned a few uses I'm aware of above, but my brain is saying: How about on ice cream? How about in a co*cktail (if you drink)? How about added to a salad dressing? Really, the things you can do with your ginger bug starter are probably endless!

Ginger is so easy for us to obtain these days. Although it can be tough to grow, unless you are in a nice warm place or have a greenhouse, luckily it's readily available in good markets these days!

I like to have Ginger in the house at all times any way because it's one of those excellent home remedy ingredients for so many things. Here you can see how I use it to make Fire Cider, a delicious daily tonic drink that helps your immune system and all your organs!

Oh! And would you like to learn more about fermentation? Join our FREE Natural Living Community! It’s off social media, ads-free, and it’s a place where we discuss fermentation, among several other natural living topics. You can join us here: Healing Harvest Homestead Natural Living Community (and….there’s an app, too).

Have you made a Ginger Bug before? What did you think? What are your favorite ways to use it? Share in the comments! We love to hear from you!

Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,


P.S. If you haven't done so yet, I hope you'll sign up for our newsletter! You'll never miss a thing! Plus, you’ll get free access to the Resource Library, which contains many eBooks, guides, checklists, and more for you to enjoy! Just complete the form below:

How to Make a Fermented Ginger Bug and a Ginger Soda Recipe! — All Posts Healing Harvest Homestead (2024)


How long can you ferment a ginger bug? ›

It's easy to make, taking a week or less. Then it can be used to craft homemade ginger ale, sarsaparilla, fruit-flavored sodas, tonics, and more all teeming with natural carbonation. Once you have your wild ferment, it can be kept alive indefinitely.

How long does it take to ferment soda? ›

You want the contents to reach up to the bottom of the bottle's neck but no higher. Close the top. Ferment for 2 to 4 days at room temperature and check the carbonation by opening the top slightly. Usually I get enough carbonation on day 3 or 4.

What to make with a ginger bug? ›

Once you have a healthy ginger bug, you can add it to a sweetened beverage like fruit juice, lemonade, or sweetened herbal tea. The ginger bug will consume the sugar in the drink and transform it into a healthy, bubbly, probiotic-rich soda.

Does fermenting ginger produce alcohol? ›

Brewers would boil ginger, add sugar to the liquid, and then allow the resulting liquid to ferment, resulting in a beverage (ginger beer) with about an 11 percent alcohol content. That's high! Today's ginger beer is rarely fermented, however, so you'll note on the label that it is completely alcohol free.

What does fermented ginger do to the body? ›

Fermenting garlic and ginger can enhance their already numerous health benefits. As garlic and ginger go through the fermentation process, the number of probiotic bacteria in them increases. Consuming probiotic bacteria has many benefits including improving your digestive system and immune system.

How do you make probiotic soda at home? ›

5 to 1.5 fl oz of ginger bug liquid, 4-5 fl oz of shelf-stable sweetened fruit juice, and fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water, leaving 1" of headroom. Let sit at room temp for 2-3 days, then refrigerate before serving. If you see a bubbly ring forming at the top of your liquid, you know it's working.

How to make ginger probiotic drink? ›

Making Probiotic Soda

Mix together the fruit juice and active ginger bug and pour into sealable, air-tight bottles. (Flip-cap bottles are my favorite!) Seal the bottles and leave the juice to ferment with the ginger bug at room temperature overnight. The next day, check on the gas formation by opening the bottle.

Can you drink straight ginger bug? ›

It is time for “ginger bug” to have its day in the sun as a fermented tonic drink in its own right. Long considered just a starter for ginger beer, this quick to ferment beverage is low in sugar, spicy, warming and pungent. In our house, we enjoy it straight up.

What is the difference between kombucha and ginger bug? ›

"No" in that kombucha is made with tea, has a different flavour, and has a different fermentation process. (Fermented ginger beer uses a starter culture called a "ginger bug.") Fermented ginger beer and kombucha taste quite different, but have similar digestive health benefits.

Can you ferment something too long? ›

Usually overfermentation happens when we leave the culture to ferment longer than recommended. For milk kefir that means more than 24 hours and for water 48 hours. With kombucha things are a bit more complicated, since there are very different approaches on how long it should ferment, depending on the individual taste.

Can ginger bug go bad? ›

Will a ginger bug ever “go bad”? It should be good indefinitely in the refrigerator if you feed it regularly, but could go bad if it gets contaminated.

Can you drink ginger bug straight in the morning? ›

Ginger Bug can be used straight up, in cooking, teas, tonics or added as a flavour to beverages including kombucha, water kefir or other brews. To keep your Bug alive, you will need to feed it regularly. You can also 'rest' it in the fridge and feed it a tablespoon each of ginger and sugar once a week.

How much sugar do you put in a ginger bug? ›

Day 1: In a 12-ounce glass jar, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger (skin and all), and one cup of water. Stir to combine. Cover with finely knit cheese cloth or butter muslin and secure with a rubber band. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

What happens if you ferment ginger beer too long? ›

If it is 'home brewed' it can be set up to continue fermentation once bottled, but can lead to a very uneven product. How long should ginger beer ferment? 2 to 3 days. Any longer and it will start to taste very dry and lose its sweet ginger taste.

How long does fermented ginger last? ›

It will last up to three months at room temperature. Alternatively, when you are satisfied with the flavor of your honey fermented ginger, you can store it in the fridge where it will slow down the fermentation process and can last up to one year.


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