This is great fun for kiddies to do (let alone big kiddies) and provides an ongoing source of ginger beer. Every two weeks after the sediment is strained it is split into two so you in effect could have two ginger beer plants on the go or give one to a friend. Each plant in effect continues to multiply. We always used to have ginger beer as a kid even when we went to visit relatives it was the "pop" of our day.
I always used fresh bakers yeast as a starter with this as I have found that personally when I use dried yeast it doesn't work so well. I obtain my fresh yeast from a local herbal/wholefood shop in Peterborough (for those of you who live in this area it is the old Westgate Arcade). They keep it in the back of the shop in a fridge at about 35 pence an ounce.
To start a plant you will need the following ingredients:
1/2 oz fresh yeast or 1/4 oz dried yeast
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
2 teaspoons of sugar
3/4 pint tepid water.
I use an old kilner jar with a lid but a Le Parfait one or a large coffee jar with a lid will work just as well.
I cream the sugar yeast and ginger together with a teaspoon in a small bowl (applying pressure with a back of a teaspoon and working the ingredients from solid will with a little patience turn them into a cream) and then add some of the tepid water stir well and then decant into the sterilised jar (boiling water and if you have it some metabisulphate powder or baby sterilising tablets are used to clean the jar out before placing ingredients in). Mix together pour into the cleaned jar and then add the rest of the water stir well put on the lid and then place on a shelf in a warm room to let it start working. Leave for 24 hours and then feed daily 1 teaspoon of ginger powder and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Feed like this and then after 7 days;
Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth/jelly bag straining all of the sediment out. Put the liquid to one side - do not throw it away. You are then left with the sediment in the muslin/jelly bag. The sediment creates the plant. Mix the sediment with a fresh 3/4 pint tepid water,and then feed as above to produce a new batch of ginger beer. Every second week split the plant in half and then give to a friend or start another batch up.
To finish the first batch of ginger geer
Use the strained liquid that was put to one side and mix with 5 pints of cold water, the juice of 2 lemons and 1 1/2 lb sugar which has been previously dissolved in 2 pints of hot water. Mix well and pour into screw topped (beer or cider bottles) and leave for a week before using. I usually put on screw caps and tighten and then take back half a turn, checking the bottles every couple of days or so.
I usually leave the ginger beer in the house for one day to let the beer settle and I then transfer it into the stone utility shed at the back of the house. You can use after a week.
Ginger beer though does vary from batch to batch sometimes it is very active and can explode, so treat this with the utmost of respect.