During these difficult times when we are away from loved ones and our normal lives, it can sometimes be difficult to keep positive and make the most of the spare time that some people now have.
I have always enjoyed making things from scratch and have taken full advantage of the few spare hours a day that I now have. I am a firm believer that if you have made something yourself, you will value it more and be less likely to throw it away. This is because you know first-hand the time and energy it takes to actually create something. The majority of things that are hand made with love and care, last longer and tend to be of higher quality.
Situations like the Covid-19 pandemic have forced people to re-assess their priorities and really look at what they ‘need’ and what ‘essentials’ really are.
While we are being asked to go to the shops and supermarkets as infrequently as possible, a lot of people are re-visiting old skills and learning new ones in order to pass the time and make things, rather than make an unnecessary journey to go to the supermarket.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my favourite things to make at home that will also help you to cut down on your plastic waste and help you add more ‘zero waste’ habits to your lifestyle!
This first blog will show you how to make a Ginger beer ‘starter’. This starter will allow you to make several batches of ginger beer. The goal is to create a live ‘culture’ which you need to ‘feed’ over a period of up to 5 days. You can keep this little pet on the windowsill and once it is ready, you can make a batch of ginger beer and save the rest for another time.
Next time you do your shop, try adding the ingredients below, so you can make your own beneficial ginger beer. Try to re-use old glass bottles and jars that you may already have.
You will need:
A glass jar
A wooden spoon
70g white sugar
Fresh ginger root – about 4cm long or enough to create 3 tbsp of grated ginger.
250 ml filtered water (or boiled water left to cool with a dash of lemon juice)
A paper coffee filter or paper towel.
A piece of yarn or string
Scrape the peel off the ginger root with a metal tea spoon. (This ensures you remove just the peel without removing great chunks of the ginger flesh!) Grate the peeled root until you have enough for 3 tbsp.
Add the ginger root and sugar to the jar.
Add the filtered water. It is essential that you use filtered water or boiled water that has cooled as you need to remove the chlorine that is in the tap water. The chlorine in the water will destroy the natural yeasts in the atmosphere that we need in order for the beneficial cultures to develop. The sugar and ginger that is added will provide the energy necessary for the cultures to grow.
Place a piece of paper over the top of the jar – it needs to be able to allow air into the jar but keep anything unwanted from falling into the jar - I used a paper coffee filter. Secure the paper with a rubber band or a piece of string.
Leave on a warm, sunny window sill. It really does need to be as warm as possible to encourage the fermentation process.
Each day, ‘feed’ your little ginger pet with one tablespoon of sugar and one table spoon of grated ginger root and one of sugar.
Repeat this for up to 5 days. You will know when your starter is ready, as it will have turned cloudy, there will be bubbles at the surface and the mixture will start to fizz when stirred.
Read the next blog for details on how to use your ginger starter to make your ginger beer.