Does something that reminds you of being sick belong in the category ‘Good Memories’? My mom gave us flat ginger ale whenever we were recovering from a bout of stomach flu. It was part of being cared for, and it definitely settled my stomach. So, for me, it’s a memory of comfort.
Yes, we drank soda when we were kids on special occasions, although back then I would choose orange or root beer, rather than ginger ale. I rarely drink store-bought soda these days – but, if I had to choose, it would be ginger ale. I guess my tastes have changed.
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But really, there’s no need to choose store-bought when I can make my own healthy ginger ale that’s full of good enzymes, and beneficial yeasts and bacteria. And I can control the amount of sugar.
Benefits of Ginger
Most of us are aware that ginger, Zingiber officinale, really does the job when it comes to easing nausea. But did you know that it may help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis because of its ability to reduce inflammation? And studies are showing that it may be helpful in the treatment of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (Source).
Start With a Ginger Bug
The tastiest ginger ale begins with a ginger bug, but whey (the liquid strained from a good quality plain yogurt) may be used as well. Think of a ginger bug as a sourdough for homemade sodas. It has to be fed to continue reproducing. But it can be used for all kinds of sodas – not just ginger ale. Think homemade root beer or even fermented sodas made from herbal tea.
Your ginger bug will capture wild yeasts and bacteria. You’ll feed those little beasties sugar and they in turn will emit carbon dioxide, the magic that will make your soda fizz.
The fact that you are feeding your bug sugar doesn’t mean that your beverage will have a high sugar content. That’s the beauty of the beasts – they are consuming the sugar and the longer you let your soda ferment, the less sugar it will contain.
So once you get your ginger bug ready, you can start your ginger ale. Yes, this is slow food, just the way I like it!