Immune Boosting Ginger Bug Recipe

Recipe by Dr. Sarah Lantz

A slurry of grated ginger, sugar and water sits in the corner of my kitchen bench. I chat, stir and jiggle her each morning, and doing so, she rewards me with gurgling bubbles and eventually gifts me with a ‘bug’ of potent, invigorating, immune-boosting, deliciously fermented ginger tonic. I remove a little bit at a time to make my morning teas, infusions and old-fashioned sodas, ensuring that I replace whatever I have taken.

Similar to a sourdough starter, Ginger Bug captures beneficial microorganisms including wild yeasts and bacteria located inside and on the skin of the ginger and via the air itself. When mixed with a sweet fermentable sugar brine, the microorganisms in the Ginger Bug begin to consume the sugar and, as they do, reproduce and emit carbon dioxide. The result is an effervescent, naturally fermented potent Ginger Bug which is rich in beneficial microorganisms, critical to gut health and bolstering the immune system. Indeed, the culinary and medicinal marvels of ginger cannot be overstated: as a diaphoretic, ginger encourages perspiration and can therefore be used to help treat feverish conditions such as influenza or colds; soothes the digestive system; alleviates nausea and contains potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Making Ginger Bug is simple: you need fresh organic ginger, a fermentable sweetener of your choice to feed the microorganisms, good filtered and de-chlorinated water, a container to hold the Bug and a cover to keep out unwanted bugs!

Makes a 2-litre brew (or more)

Ingredients

  • A good few knobs of fresh organic ginger (about 2-3 tablespoons). New or old ginger is fine.
  • ½ cup whole unrefined sugar (coconut, rapadura or your caloric sweet preference)
  • 2 cups of filtered, fresh water

Method

  1. Take your ginger and grate or cut into small chunks until you have around two heaped tablespoons.
  2. Place the grated ginger in a medium jar and whisk in the sugar and water.
  3. Cover the jar with a cloth or lid and allow your Bug to ferment in a warm spot on your kitchen bench.
  4. Every day, for about five days, mix an additional two tablespoons of grated ginger, one tablespoon sugar and two tablespoons water into your jar. The ginger will begin to foam and bubble at its top and will take on the slightly yeasty fragrance. Once bubbling, it’s ready to use.
  5. Adjust the sugar and ginger if it’s too sweet or ferment longer to brew out any residual sugars.

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.

Brewing Tips
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. To reactivate it, remove it from the fridge and let it reach room temperature and begin feeding it again.

Use sugar or another caloric sweetener. The yeast and bacteria that make your bug bubble need sugar to help them grow. Sugar is the most common choice, but you can also use honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or any other caloric sweetener. Avoid non-caloric sweeteners like stevia as they are non-fermentable.

Turmeric and galangal work well too. For variety, you can substitute both fresh turmeric and fresh galangal in place of the ginger, or use a combination.

Use organic ginger. Conventionally grown ginger is often irradiated and grown with pesticides, which can impact its ability to ferment and grow into a thriving Bug. Use organic ginger for best results!

Use chlorine-free water. Chlorine in tap water can interfere with bacterial and yeast production, so choose filtered water or spring water.

Temperature: It takes about 5 to 7 days to make a ginger bug, but may take less time in warm climates and more time in cool climates.


Article by:
Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD)
Buchi Brew Co. & Sacred Women’s Way

Other Recipes you may like...

The school year is well and truly here and we’ve got some great healthy lunch box snack ideas for school kids! For variety and nutritional value, we’ve got you covered.
This is a little gem of summer beverage, steeped in Mayan history, and one of the easiest ferments in the world with pineapple peels and cores.
Shrubs are an easy and delicious way to preserve the bounties of summer and have been used in cocktails for centuries. Dr Sarah Lantz shares some of her favourite Shrubs recipes to impress your guests this holiday season.
Bubble tea, otherwise known as Boba tea, pearl tea, tapioca milk tea, or just simply Boba is all the rage right now. See Dr Sarah Lantz's healthy take on this popular drink.
Using Macro Organic rolled oats and peanut butter, this quick and easy Organic Oat Slice is perfect for morning or afternoon tea!
Using bean ground & drunk certified organic coffee, this Spiced Vanilla & Cinnamon Coffee recipe puts a warming twist to your regular morning coffee.
Using new Inglewood Organic Chicken Strips, this Honey Chicken & Asian Greens recipe by Elise Blight is a healthy addition to this week's dinner menu!
This healthy and easy Lemon & Herb Chicken With Piri Piri Coleslaw & Sweet Potato Chips recipe by Live Love Nourish uses NEW Cleaver’s Organic Chicken Lemon & Herbs.
Celebrate Australian Organic Awareness Month with this moist Organic Greek Yoghurt Loaf recipe by Ayla Renham, made with Jalna Organic Farm to Pot yoghurt.
Chef and MasterChef judge Andy Allen is this year's Australian Organic Awareness Month Ambassador and has cooked up this special recipe, championing certified organic ingredients.
This organic vegetable broth recipe is packed full of prebiotics, anti-inflammatories and vitamins for an all-round nourishing broth.
Chicken bone broth is a staple in many home freezers and can be simply made at home using leftover ingredients.
This satisfying and nourishing bone broth is made using organic beef bones to sip as it is or use as a cooking base.
This succulent, silky body butter recipe is made from everyday kitchen ingredients and can easily be made at home. A perfect handmade gift for Mum this Mother's Day!
Fancy a healthier version of the infamous Shamrock Shake this St. Patrick’s Day? Try our simple recipe for a quick and healthy alternative that you can make at home.
Whip up this Clover Club Cocktail made with certified organic Little Juniper gin for a romantic twist this Valentine's Day and find out more about founder Stuart MacKenzie's love for distilling.
Celebrate Valentine's Day on Feb 14th with a holiday inspired recipe of Tropical Muesli with Charred Pineapple made by Recipearce with Murray River Organics.
The secret to a good chai is using good quality whole spices (not the ground stuff that’s been lurking in the back of your pantry for years). So, go to a spice shop or bulk food store and buy some fresh stuff. You won’t regret it.
Looking for a fool-proof lemon cake recipe? Search no more! This recipe uses Jalna Organic yoghurt to create a deliciously moist and fluffy lemon cake that will wow every time.
This refreshing dessert takes a different spin on a traditional cake, using crepe layers and fresh fruit to create a lighter, healthier alternative that everyone will love.
Sherwood Rd Organic Meats show us how to create a show-stopping organic ham - sticky and sweet to wow your guests this Christmas!
Christmas is the perfect time to treat yourself. From Christmas cake to gingerbread people, the possibilities are endless!
It's spooky season which can only mean one thing, time for Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Try this quick and easy recipe to recreate this October favourite without the guilt!
If you're longing for creamy pasta, but are on a dairy free diet or perhaps you are simply trying to make healthier swaps, you'll love this dairy free Alfredo recipe by Live Love Nourish, made with Inglewood Organic Chicken.
Want a healthier, low carb alternative to pasta or noodles? Using a spiraliser, you can create these easy zucchini zoodles by My Food Religion. Top with Enviroganic organic chicken for a quick mid-week dinner and an easy way to get your 5 a day.
Enjoy this iced tea made with Higher Living Ginger Kick Organic Tea, lemongrass and lime for a refreshing, zesty non-alcoholic drink that will satisfy any taste buds. Recipe by My Food Religion.
Did you know that Bertolli Organic Olive Oil can be used for more than just main meals? Why not try this deliciously different bircher muesli recipe with a twist. It includes, you guessed it, olive oil!
Loose the guilt by making these healthy ice blocks! Using Bellamy's organic yoghurt, this quick recipe by My Food Religion will cool you down in no time at all!
Healthy, organic cookies? Count me in! These crunchy, chewy cookies are made with Murray River Organics muesli, sunflower seeds and organic oats. A perfectly healthy snack for on-the-go or your lunchbox.
Using Cleaver's certified organic beef chuck steak, this simple recipe by My Food Religion adds a gentle smokey flavour to the classic beef steak, without even needing to bring out the BBQ!
This deliciously aromatic Organic Egg Biryani uses Sunnyqueen Farms organic eggs and can be rustled up in no time.
This healthy Organic Coconut Beef Curry with Cauliflower Rice is a healthy alternative to Friday night take out, and is free from gluten, grains, dairy and sugar.
These simple yet fancy organic mocha truffles will impress your guests on any occasion.
These Organic Egg Muffin recipes are ideal for breakfast or lunch on the go - serve warm or cold for a wholesome and versatile meal option.
Want something quick and fresh for dinner? Try this Black Bean Spaghetti with Garlic Prawns - a twist on an Italian classic.
These delicious Organic Pumpkin Brioche Donuts aren't as difficult as they look - a sweet treat that counts as one of your five a day!
You can't get much a fresher lunch or dinner option than this Zucchini Pesto 'Noodles' with Organic Falafels. Who said healthy had to be difficult?!
Honey Vegemite BBQ Lamb Roast sounds a bit weird - but trust us on this one! Juicy, tender and tasty lamb perfect for your next Sunday roast.
Looking for a refreshing pool-side bevvie? This Sangria with Organic Balsamic Kiss is a sparkling twist on the Spanish classic.
This quick and easy yoghurt and beetroot dip is the perfect accompaniment to any grazing table.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner who cares! Fritters are a perfect meal for the whole family.
Who doesn't love a good pickle? Dr Sarah Lantz shows us just how easy it is to make this deliciously tangy snack at home, with just a few simple ingredients.
Dr Sarah Lantz gives us a lesson in choosing the best quality, ethical chocolate this Easter - it's so worth it!
Kialla matriarch Rob Kennedy shares her simply delicious Anzac Biscuits recipe - a staple for every Aussie household!
These indulgent chocolate truffles are made from quality ingredients and make a great Easter gift. Recipe by Dr Sarah Lantz.
This delicious Avo & Ginger slice recipe from Absolute Organic is ideal for St. Patrick's Day and what's more, it can be enjoyed without the guilt!
Feeling under the weather? Warm your soul with this whole-hearted Organic Turmeric Chicken Zoodle Soup recipe courtesy of Changing Habits.
This delicious green salad makes the most of what's in season this March; kale, avocado and broccoli - the three super greens!
This delicious rabbit pie made with Kalleske Clarry's GSM is the perfect accompaniment to St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Learn how to make a simple and delicious beet kvass with this easy recipe from Dr. Sarah Lantz.
Got a question about fermentation and making your own fermented bevvies? We might just have the answer!
It's difficult enough to get your kids to eat healthy at home, never mind at school! These easy, healthy and delicious lunchbox ideas will help to keep your kids feeling full of energy and ready to take on the day.
These 5 busy brekkie recipes are perfect for a quick and healthy meal on-the-go, because who has the time?!
As scary as it sounds, this Fire Cider Tonic is packed full of immune-boosting properties & can easily be added to teas, juices or salads.
Make your very own kombucha at home with this simple recipe from Dr. Sarah Lantz.
Say goodbye to sugary drinks and say hello to fermented bevvies and the revival of everyday fermentation.
Did I hear you say ice-cream floats? That's right! Our favourite summer drink just got a whole lot healthier.
One of her favourite spring-time recipes, Elle Halliwell shares her sweet potato cakes with guacamole.