The Lowdown On Real Ginger Beer Plant

Published: 14th January 2010
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Ginger beer plant is, surprisingly, not a leafy plant at all. Instead ginger beer plant is a probiotic plant culture which you can use to brew your own, fizzy, old-fashioned ginger beer.



What are the health benefits of real ginger beer?



When you make your own real ginger beer, you are avoiding nasty additives like aspartame which are often included in cans of sparkling drinks and ginger beer. True ginger beer is made through fermentation with the probiotic plant bacteria and yeast creating a fermentation to give the ginger beer a good fizz. Most colas and other shop-bought fizzy drinks are carbonated, and that's what makes them fizzy. You are controlling all of the ingredients that go into your own true ginger beer, so you can be sure that no nasty ingredients go in. You can use organic fair trade sugar, and organic ginger and lemons to ensure that your ginger beer is organic too.



What actually is ginger beer plant?

Ginger beer plant's origins are not known for certain, but we know that it became popular in the UK some time in the 1700's, and was a common sight in kitchens right up until the 1950s. In the 1880s, curious botanist Harry Marshall Ward spent many years researching the culture. He worked out that ginger beer plant is a "composite organism consisting of a fungus, the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly Saccharomyces pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme)". So now you know!



How to spot the ginger beer plant that isn't a probiotic culture

Many places are selling 'ginger beer plant' starter kits. This is not real ginger beer, but merely a yeast. This will not provide you with everlasting ginger beer.



How to make real ginger beer.

Home brewing your own organic ginger beer is easy when you have some ginger beer plant. Unless you know someone who will give you some spare ginger beer plant, then most people will buy their ginger beer plant online. This has usually been dehydrated. When you receive it, you need to rehydrate it in unchlorinated water and sugar for a few days, and then you will be able to rinse out the probiotic culture grains and start adding ginger, lemon and sugar to start the fermentation process. After a few days, you'll be able to bottle your real home brewed organic ginger beer.



What do I need to make ginger beer?

Other than ginger beer plant, you'll need sugar, unchlorinated water (filtered or mineral water is fine), root or powdered ginger and lemon. You'll also need a large jar for brewing the ginger beer and then a plastic bottle to decant it into.



So you can see that for a relatively small initial investment and just some basic kitchen utensils and ingredients, you can ensure that you and your family have an everlasting supply of real old-fashioned ginger beer, a delicious probiotic drink.



Retro Culture specializes in real ginger beer plant and probiotic cultures. Visit http://www.retro-culture.com/ for free recipes, advice and resources and to buy real ginger beer plant online. You can even see hi-res photos and videos of real ginger beer plant as it grows here: http://www.retro-culture.com/gallery.html

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