December 6, 2009

Ginger Beer & More: Taste Test Results

I'm pleased to report that the much anticipated time has finally come to sample my experiments in lacto-fermention: sauerkraut, ginger carrots, and ginger beer. I'll start with the ginger beer because that is the one that seemed to be of most interest to my readers.

1st glass of my homemade ginger beer.Ginger Beer

After patiently (ha!) waiting the required two weeks for my ginger beer to ferment, I discovered a PROBLEM! I didn't tighten down the screw-caps on the bottles! Result? No fizz! It had all escaped the bottle! :(

I was extremely disappointed with myself for this, but Dan, ever my best friend and faithful encourager, pointed out that even so, the flavor was actually quite good. Plus it had a nice natural color and wasn't too sweet. It would have been perfect if it had been carbonated!

So. Another batch will soon be in the making. This time though, I think I will increase the amount of ginger and switch to lemons as the recipe calls for, instead of limes. I will probably only add one lemon instead of two as I would like to enhance the ginger flavor and downplay the citrus, though it does make it tasty.

1st batch of homemade sauerkrautSauerkraut

A 5-star yum! Even Dan likes it, and he doesn't care for cabbage. This is so delicious that we're eating it almost every day. This recipe is definitely a keeper and oh so easy. I need to keep it on hand all the time.

I recently started another batch from a recipe from Nourishing Traditions, page 92. It appealed to me because it uses caraway seeds for flavoring. Dan isn't so crazy about caraway as I am though, so he may not care for it as well.

Spoonful of fermented ginger carrots.Ginger Carrots

Too salty. I don't have enough experience lacto-fermenting, nor with this particular recipe, to know what went wrong, or if it's supposed to taste like this. One thing I've learned is that fermenting foods is like making yeast bread; the results are not 100% guaranteed. And like learning to make bread, I think learning to ferment will take practice and experimentation.

Never one to call anything a waste if I can help it, I started using it as a condiment for salting things like this potato soup...

Potato soup, not homemade, but tasty.
Very tasty! It adds a pleasantly salty tang to soups, stews, anything.

Well, one out of three isn't so bad and more experiments are on the way. Another batch of ginger beer for sure, and more with different types of vegetables as well. My turnips care getting to the harvest stage and I would love to ferment at least some of these, as well as adding some different ingredients to my sauerkrauts in the future. One thing is for certain, this is a tasty and nutritious way to preserve the harvest.

Ginger Beer & More: Taste Test Results In photos & text copyright 


Renee Nefe said...

I think those results turned out pretty well. The ginger beer isn't quite a tastes good. That's rule #1. ;o)

I know you'll get it all figured out here soon. and then you'll forget what your grocery store looked like. ;o)

Happy Holidays!

Life Looms Large said...

Interesting results!! Too bad that the carbonation escaped the ginger beer...but next time I'm sure it will be captured!

The sauerkraut actually looks good, which is a huge accomplishment in my book. (Not a sauerkraut fan, but I wonder if I'd like yours....probably!)

Good luck sneaking those carrots into all of your meals! I'll bet you could tuck them into tomato sauce without too much trouble.


charlotte said...

Congratulations on the sauerkraut! We can't buy it here, so I'm really tempted to give it a try. Here in Norway we have a traditional cabbage dish called sour cabbage, but it's not sour and not fermented, but sweetish and contains caraway seeds for flavouring. I've heard that caraway seeds are good for digestion.

Theresa said...

Yum sauerkraut! With or without caraway. :-)
Years ago I remember seeing a recipe for chocolate cake with sauerkraut, I'm sure of it.
Too bad about the ginger beer, but I'm sure the next round will be awesome.

bspinner said...

If I drink soda I leave it out so it will get flat so as far as I'm concerned your ginger beer would be perfect.

Nothing like homemade sauerkraut!!!!!

I love carrots anyway they are made and I bet yours are great.

Woolly Bits said...

I am glad you like your sauerkraut! pity about the carrots, but the colour is great:)) with fermented drinks in tightly capped bottles I am always afraid they might explode - after a rather sticky experience with fermented elderberry "froth" I've become rather careful with that:))

Leigh said...

Happy Holidays to you too Renee! Not going to the grocery store is definitely a goal!

Sue, what's interesting about lacto-fermentation, is that the sauerkraut is pleasantly sour without being acidic. I think that's why I don't like pickles, but I might try lacto-fermented cucumbers.

Charlotte, you should make your own! Also, I seem to recall that about caraway seeds, thanks for reminding me.

Theresa, sauerkraut with chocolate cake???? Ummm. I'd have to give that a long hard think before I tried that one!

Barb, that's funny about how you like your soft drinks. You'd definitely like this recipe.

Bettina, maybe that's why the author uses plastic 2 liter soda bottles!

Katrien said...


Sharon said...

When do you sleep??? You're gutting and remodeling a house, growing and preserving what you grow - and weaving?! Do you have a clone in your pocket??

Benita said...

How very interesting and exciting! I bought the books you recommended, but mostly to read, learn and think about what I'm going to plant this spring for next year's fermentation experiments.

I'm glad to know about the ginger beer. I've read about ginger beer, but never tried it. I think I will.

Leigh said...

Katrien, indeed! :)

Sharon, true confession. I'm not weaving! (So that's when I get my sleep. :)

Benita, aren't those books interesting? Lacto-fermenting is interesting to say the least and fun. I hope that with experience I get better at it.

Julie said...

Well it sounds like it still turned out pretty good!

Sharon said...

I tried a batch. Unfortunately I ended up with a flat, although wonderfully tasting, beer. I have just added some packaged yeast to see if I can save it. Wish me luck!

Leigh said...

Sharon, I appreciate your telling me this. You're the second person besides myself, who tried this but ended ended up with flat ginger beer.
I haven't tried it again. I wonder if I should????