Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I made my own pop!

Or soda, if you're one of those more refined types.  I am Super Excited.  I started a little experiment about 10 days ago, and I finally know that it worked.  My experiment?  Making my own fruit juice pop without carbonated water or even yeast.

I've run across articles here and there on the internet for directions on making something called a ginger bug.  After reading enough that I felt a little ginger buggy myself, I just tried it.  And this is how I did it.

I started with fresh ginger that was really fresh looking, not wilted or wrinkled.  I peeled and minced it and added it to a jar with water and a little sugar.

Ginger Bug

2 t. minced fresh ginger
2 t. sugar (I used refined white)
3 c. water

Every day I added 2 more teaspoons of ginger and 2 more teaspoons of sugar.  I covered the jar tightly with a canning lid and screw top, but I think I should have covered it loosely, with a cloth and a rubber band. Regardless, it worked, even without proper airflow. (It probably worked because I opened it up and checked it 24,000 times a day for bubbles.) 

After a week or when you notice bubbles, strain out the ginger bug and add it to fruit juice or sweetened tea.  (As I understand it, sugar is essential. Some of it is "eaten up" in the fermentation process so you're not drinking all the sugar.)  Use a ratio of 1/4 c. ginger bug to 1 c. juice/tea.
ginger bug--ready to use

grape juice

For my first try, I used my home canned grape juice.  (It's cloudy because I never strained it.)  I mixed the two, closed the jar tightly and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours.  And just like the different directions I read, the mixture didn't look fizzy or anything at that time.  I transferred it to the fridge for another 24 hours-whew-and finally tried a sip last night.  It's Really Pop!  And it's fizzy!  And it tastes real!  I tried another sip at breakfast this morning and it's even fizzier, much like sparkling grape juice.

Captain Awesome has his own rating scale for my experiments.  He's not conscious of it, but I've learned the subtleties of his compliments.  "It's all right" is a polite non-compliment.   I have to ask questions and decipher anything labeled "OK."  "Not too bad" means the recipe is a keeper.  But this experiment got a "that's pretty darn good."  That's wildly successful.  I'm not sure if it's replace-Pepsi successful, but I'm on the right track.

You can't see much of the fizziness, but it's there!
I know it's significantly healthier than regular pop, but I'm going to look into this a little more to see how much sugar is used in the process.  I saw some warnings about not letting it sit on the counter too long, because it could turn wine-like, so the sugar does get eaten up.   Honey should not be used, I learned, because the antibacterial qualities of honey retard the fermentation.

It's also much, much cheaper.  I think I've used about $.25 worth of ginger and probably the equivalent in sugar.  And the juice was from my own grapes, so that cost is negligible.

This is only the beginning.  I want to try this with many more fruit juices and teas and of course, figure out the biggie--root beer.  So stay tuned!


  1. No way...just from ginger, sugar and water?! Very cool, great idea!!!

  2. Ok it's been a full week, 7 days. My bug wasn't looking like what I thought it was supposed to so I let it go a couple of days more, and I moved it into the pantry. I think it was a little too cool on the kitchen counter, even though it was out of any breeze from the A/C (hubby keeps the house so cold, we could butcher goats in here.) Going to split my batch into Key West Red Rooibos tea soda and Orange-pineapple soda. I'll let you know how it works out.

  3. Well the Orange-pineapple is fizzy and I should have strained the juice through a piece of cheese cloth, I have a little pulp, but it's fizzy!!!! The tea, not so much. I can taste a slight tangy-ness, but not fizzy like the juice. I guess I'll stick to the juice. Wonder if I needed more sugar in the tea?

    1. Awesome!!!! Good for you! (Isn't it fun when an experiment works?) I forgot to feed mine for a few days and even though it smelled just the same, I worried and tossed it. I later read I needn't have worried, because after a time it gets "stronger" and doesn't need to be babied and will survive.

      So I just bought some new ginger yesterday so I can begin again. I'm thinking about using rhubarb in my next batch, since that's one of the few fruits in season right now. I might add a little more sugar in the tea to give it something to "eat" and in turn, more fizziness...