Ginger Bugs & Plum Blossoms

I originally posted this over on the Spruce Tips instagram, but thought I’d repost it here for folks who have yet to join the ol’ Spruce Tips train. 

We’ve been really into homemade sodas lately: lovage syrup became homemade Cel-Ray, bits of leftover pineapple became pineapple ginger soda, and we just turned the lingering plum blossoms from the backyard into a heady, perfumed nectar to be  transformed into a sophisticated soda using a ginger bug.

You’ll make the ginger bug with a half cup sugar and a half cup water (warm, not hot) + a small knob of ginger, grated. Mix well and leave on the counter, loosely covered, for one or two days, stirring a couple times a day. Feed with a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of grated ginger each day. After a couple of days, you should see bubbles. If not, make sure the mixture is not too cold, and try for another day or so. Once you start to see some bubblin’ action, strain a quarter cup to use for your soda. (PS: You can find lots more info on ginger bugs at Nourished Kitchen.)

Meanwhile, make a simple syrup (a cup of sugar, a cup of water). Simmer just until sugar is dissolved, stirring. Turn off heat, add about a cup of plum blossoms, and cover. Strain off about a half cup of syrup (save the rest for cocktails or another batch of soda!), and combine with cool water (about a quart.) When mixed well, add the strained quarter cup of ginger bug, and funnel the whole mixture into a fliptop glass bottle. (We use the bottles leftover from Trader Joe’s Ginger Brew because I am not that into Grolsch, sorry.) Leave on the counter for a day or two, then pop in the fridge to chill before opening. (Make sure to chill, because you want to slow the fermentation and reduce the pressure in the bottle before opening because, ya know, safety.)

You can try just fermenting for a day, chilling, and then tasting. If it’s too sweet or not fizzy enough, leave out at room temp another day, then chill. Enjoy!

PS: If plum blossoms aren’t your thing, you can use any other infused simple syrup in the quantities listed here, or a fruit juice, just subbing slightly more fruit juice and less water than the syrup:water ratio listed above.

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