I've never used a plant as described on that page, but have a recipe which uses sultanas to start the ferment - you leave it for a few days & then feed sugar & ginger each day - this is the 'plant'. No yeast is added.
Should I hunt out the recipe for you?
Could you pls post it to this page, because I'd be keen on the recipe too!
Here is a link for recipe using dried yeast that you would get from the supermarket
Thanks, Dianne and Megan. The Greggs one is weird. Do you know how this works? Perhaps the sultanas sometimes have a wild yeast on them(?)
I did a search on yeast & found this "Yeasts are very common in the environment, and are often isolated from sugar-rich material. Examples include naturally occurring yeasts on the skins of fruits and berries (such as grapes, apples or peaches), and exudates from plants (such as plant saps or cacti). "
Not sure if you're interested...but just in case you or anyone else is...my Mum always made ginger beer in the summer when I was young, and so last year I "inherited" the bottle-capper, and then proceeded to make my own ginger beer for my family as well. I was given a recipe by someone else, but it didn't taste as good as I remembered, so Mum hunted out the one she used to use and I used that - it is the best! For anyone interested...here it is :)
Ginger Beer Plant
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon lemon pulp/flesh
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cups water
Place all of above into a screw-top jar (I use a large preserving jar) and leave on the kitchen bench for 2-3 days until the mixture begins to ferment. Then each day for one week, feed the plant 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 4 teaspoons sugar (just sprinkle it in - don't stir). At the end of the week the plant is ready to make into ginger beer.
To make the ginger beer:
4 cups hot water
4 cups sugar
4 lemons - juiced
28 cups cold water
In a large clean bucket or pot (I use a preserving pan) stir the hot water and sugar together until dissolved, add the lemon juice and the measured cold water, stir. Stir the plant in the jar then strain it into the bowl, stir it through and then bottle (usually makes about 9-10 large beer bottles). When straining the plant I line a sieve over a jug with a piece of muslin cloth, tip the plant in and then gently squeeze the liquid out which I then add to the preserving pan. Keep the "solids" in the muslin cloth, divide in half (feed the other half to the chooks!) and put in the screw-top jar with 2 cups of water and feed it as before.
The ginger beer varies as to how long before it is ready to drink, but we generally found that it was drinkable 4 days after bottling, and likely to explode after 10-14 days!
Hint....always open the bottles outside on the lawn, with a jug handy!
Thanks Kate, that's the same as the recipe I have - we really like it. The Greggs recipe seems to be pretty much the same thing too. We adjusted the sugar & ginger to taste.
You've reminded me about the issue of having somewhere safe to store the bottles - we had the same problem with occasional explosions. Once a bottle stored under the house flew over the fence into the neighbour's drive - it can get pretty dangerous! Something like an old (decommissioned) freezer where any possible explosion would be safely contained would be ideal I reckon. After a while we got to know which bottles were strongest. Maybe screw top bottles would work & you could release a bit of excess gas after a week or so?
So glad you posted this recipe, Kate, as I'm sure it's the same one my nana used to make when I was growing up in Tasmania (I remember using her recipe and getting a plant going myself years ago; she used to put a sultana in each bottle as well!) I'd lost the recipe, and had been searching for it on the internet for quite a while.
Just one question: when you halve the "solids" to keep the plant going, do you add extra sultanas (or at least maintain 8 sultanas in the jar)?
I've been using this recipe now for a few weeks. I think the point of the sultanas is to introduce wild yeast to the mix (wild yeast are likely living on the skin of the grapes). Also, because the jar is uncovered, you're likely to catch micro organisms that are in your kitchen (so the bug will evolve over time).
Therefore, once you've got an active bug in the plant, there's really no need to be introducing anything new, except food (sugar) for the bug. Adding sultanas won't hurt but it's not necessary - I haven't and my bug is still alive and fermenting.