Thursday, February 13, 2014

Victorian Ginger Beer

My last post was pretty hopeful.

Not so hopeful today, but I'm still enjoying winter. There's a rather large snow storm (Pax? They name snow storms now?) that's blown in since dawn. I was up at around 4am and didn't see any snow, but I went back to bed only to wake up to at least two inches down.

I work from home, so I don't really have a "snow day" wherein I get to skip work, but my workload was light, so I set out making all sorts of things today in the house in between working.

Ginger beer "tea"
Today, I was inspired by the BBC's Victorian Farm to try some ginger beer. I don't think I've ever had real ginger beer, and this looked painfully simple to make, even in modern times.

I had ginger. I had sugar. I had lemons and water and yeast. So I made a batch. Modern recipes call for things that I surprisingly don't have laying around. Some recipes called for club soda, most recipes indicated I should store my soda in 2 liter bottles. I have neither of these.

So I made my own way. I'm using two quart jars with lids only just barely held on in place. The yeast will be gassy, so I have to be sure the gas doesn't build up too much.  I have no idea if this is going to work, but I don't see why it won't.

I read a lot of modern interpretations of ginger beer. Not really interested in having to go to the store in this snow storm, I just did what I felt was best.

  1. First, I grated my ginger. I had a bit left over in the fridge from previous meals, so this was perfect! While I grated, I heated 2 quarts of water over the stove. I used the jars to measure out the 2 quarts to be sure there'd be just enough. 
  2. Add a cup of sugar to the water and let that heat up nicely, as to dissolve all the sugar. 
  3. I broke out my lemon and squeezed about 1.5-2 tbsp. of lemon juice. I threw that into the pot of sugar water, seeds and all. Don't worry, you're going to strain it eventually.
  4. I took my heap of ginger and threw it in the pot with everything. I didn't bring the pot to boil at any point... just a low heat to keep things interesting. The ginger was a decent amount... at least 3 tbsp I'd say. 
  5. Let the ginger/sugar/lemon juice mixture steep for a while over the heat. I don't think I'd let it boil. Just heat well enough to see some steam rise gently. 
  6. While all that is heating up nicely and steeping, set aside 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast. You're going to split this in half between the quarts if you use this system, so maybe you want to split it evenly to give to each jar.
    Don't mind the flour, I was making bread at the same time!
  7. Once you have a nice gentle steam barely coming off your mixture, strain it out into your quart jars (or whatever you're using) with a fine strainer of your choice.
  8. When the temperature of the liquid in the container(s) is warm to the touch, but not too hot that you can't stand to hold your finger in it, add your yeast and stir it in well.
  9. Put in a darkish place that doesn't get too cold and let it set for a couple of days. It should be good to go after day 2, but I think I'll wait until day 3 or 4.
Just a little bit of yeast goes a long way!
Apparently ginger beer will keep only about a week in the fridge, so drink up!

I'll let you know how it comes out!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Good luck with the fizz! Please let us know how it goes.

When MH & I made elderflower champagne a while ago we were so nervous about exploding bottles we kept releasing the gas and ended up with fizzless champagne..!