Create a Ginger Bug Starter

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by Jereme Zimmerman
Ginger bug starter


  • Nonchlorinated water
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar or raw honey
  • 2-inch piece organic ginger root, coarsely chopped


  • Fill quart jar about 3/4 of the way with nonchlorinated water mixed with cane sugar or raw honey. Stir well to fully dissolve. Add ginger root.
  • Cover with cheesecloth or a towel, and place jar in a warm spot.
  • Stir several times daily to provide aeration for the yeast to thrive. In 3 to 4 days, you should see light fizzing when you stir. This means it’s now an active fermentation.

You can use a ginger bug starter in place of store-bought yeast in soda brewing. Instead of (or combined with) ginger, you can use various herbs and fruits for their wild yeast and nutrients. Make sure the herbs and fruits are organic, or else the wild yeast may have been killed off.

Tools & Materials

A quart jar and a cheesecloth or towel.


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Image Adobe Stock

Making your own sodas allows you to hand-pick your ingredients for their flavors and health benefits. Experiment with different combinations of fruits, herbs, and other ingredients to invent your new favorite soda flavor right at home.

You can make multiple batches of soda with one quart of starter. You can use the entire ginger bug starter to begin a new soda, or use 2 tablespoons per gallon to prolong your starter batch. Whatever you do, don’t overheat it, or you’ll kill off the yeast.

Learn more about sodas in:

Jereme Zimmerman is a traditional brewing revivalist, homesteader, and speaker at nationwide natural living events, including Mother Earth News Fairs. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and daughters.

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