Ginger Bug and Ginger Beer/ Soda (Part 2)

Since moving here we have seen how unrealistic is it to stay away from foods. We are told not to eat at the street vendors, don’t eat salads or foods you can’t peel, don’t drink water that’s not boiled or bottled. This is relatively easy when vacationing. We are doing the best we can, but when actually living here and having friends and responsibilities and starting to develop roots, it’s not so easy. 

Now, maybe it’s easy if one chooses to be perpetually rude. When over someone’s house, and they offer you something, it’s rude not to take it. Or someone will buy food off of one of the street vendors as a nice gesture for us. The first couple of months we were saying no all the time. But, after a while, we realized that it begins to sound like we think we we’re better than Bolivians. That we want to live here, but we don’t want to be like them. Or that we prefer our Americans foods over theirs. That is not the case. So, we are trying to find the balance between becoming acclimated to the culture and keeping ourselves healthy. And that has meant taking risks with what we eat.

When we have total control of our meal, we have been adding probiotics and other friendly bacteria to our system. My husband has been pumping himself with fermented food. He’ll eat a bowl of beans and pour some fermented salsa and yogurt on it, then he will wash everything down with the ginger beer. He has felt better since his stomach illness and is determined to continue feeling well. Now he is bugging me to make saurkraut, which is a little more work than this beer. So, expect that in the posts soon.

Eating fermented foods can be scary at first. We are taught that everything should be kept in the fridge. Once they start getting old, it’s time to throw it all out. And there is reason for this as we want to keep ourselves safe. But, there are many foods that we eat that are “old” and fermented: yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, pickles, saurkraut, and the list goes on. The key is knowing how to treat food properly. Also, if it smells bad, don’t eat it. 

Thankfully, the ferment time on this beer is low, so there’s little room for it to go wrong. And if you properly santitize everything, as suggested in the previous post, you don’t have to worry too much. This recipe is a beginner’s step into the world of fermenting. And for those who are pros, it’s a quick food to make for your digestive health. 

There is a reason it’s called Ginger beer and not Ginger ale. Ginger ale has the carbonation added to it, like regular sodas. It’s not fermented. Ginger beer, however, is fermented with no CO2 added to it. We love this beer in our household because it’s self-carbonating. Unlike regular sodas, which will go flat after being opened, this beer continues to feed on the sugar and produce the CO2 fizz. So, each day, you will open up the beer and hear the gas escape – which, to me, is such a satisying sound.

Ginger Beer /Soda

What you need: 2-liter bottle, lemons, sugar, ginger, sea salt or pickling salt (don’t used iodized salt)

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