Frugal Fun: Brewing Ginger Beer

Tonight I wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary, but I didn’t really feel like leaving the house or spending much money. I like to cook and do a bit of experimenting in the kitchen, so when I have the energy it’s always fun to try new and interesting recipes.

I finally decided to try making a batch of ginger beer, something I’ve been planning to brew for a long time. I searched around on the web, and decided to take the plunge with one of the first recipe results found in Google. I like that this recipe calls for active dry yeast (which I have nearly a half pound of already) and not a fancy brewer’s yeast. I imagine the resulting beer might taste better if I used fancy yeast, but I didn’t want to spend extra money on my first batch. All in, I spent about $2 on the ingredients to make 2 quarts of fresh ginger beer.

grated-ginger-for-ginger-beerThe hardest part of completing this recipe was definitely processing the fresh ginger – it takes a while to peel and then grate & strain all of the juice out of a chunk of ginger, but it’s also oddly satisfying. I have rarely ever cooked with ginger, and it’s pleasant spicy kick permeates the nostrils as it’s being chopped up and juiced. In order to save time, I might have to try out my recently acquired (and free!) juicer next time (it’s an old and ugly thing, but it seems to get the job done).

As you can see in the image at the top of this post, I had a few fancy bottles sitting around in which to deposit the stew of ingredients after everything was done dissolving and mingling. My only worry with these bottles is that perhaps over the next two days the fermenting sugar will pop the corks right out of the bottles? I’ve also put a bit of tape over the corks as a security measure, but only time will tell. I have 48 hours to wait, and I’ve stuck the corked and taped bottles of beer in my cooler so they will stay warm and dark while I await the verdict. If all goes well, I’ll be mixing up a ginger beer cocktail on Sunday evening!

What do you think your next fun & frugal cooking experiment will be?

**Update** – this recipe turned out great! The 2nd day, bubbles started going like crazy, and the corks did pop out of the bottles. Next time, I’ll probably use something with a screw on cap, because while the bottles were cool, corks were impractical. I had to drink it all over a few days, because after sitting in the fridge for a few days, the last bottle was barely bubbly any longer.

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