I see people having difficulties with keeping their bug alive, or having it die on them, but mine never seem to come alive in the first place!
I’m about to give up with my second attempt.
On my first attempt I used non-organic ginger. The first day I peeled and grated two tablespoonfuls of it and put them inside a glass jar together with two level tablespoonfuls of raw cane sugar and bottled drinking water (pH 6.9, TDS 23.80 mg/l), then sealed the jar with a cotton napkin and a rubber band.
I kept it in the living room, where the temperature is around 20±3°C all day long.
The following two days I kept feeding it with the same amount of ginger, sugar and water, but then I realised that the jar was filling to quickly, so I only fed it one tablespoon of each after that.
So every day for 8 days at around the same time I would open the jar, feed it, stir and reseal it without seeing any sign of activity or change in smell: it always smelled like fresh ginger.
At that point the jar was full and since it looked like a failure I didn’t really want to transfer it to a bigger jar and keep feeding it.
But I was curious whether something would happen if I just left it alone like that. The predictable thing happened: after 10 more days or so it started to become moldy, so I threw it away.
For my second attempt I managed to find some organic ginger. This time I decided not to peel it, and I only rinsed it for a few seconds in the sink then dried it up with a paper towel.
The other ingredients were the the same, and the same was my method, except this time I started the culture with two tablespoons and went down to one from the second day.
Now 10 days have passed, my little jar is full to the brim and again there has never been any sign of activity.
So I’m now pretty much convinced that I must be doing something very wrong.
I’d say the first suspect could be the sugar. Maybe raw cane sugar just isn’t its thing. So I think I’ll try some refined beet sugar next (pity if that’s the case, I love raw cane sugar and I use it for almost everything).
The second suspect is the water. Or rather, the way to add it to the culture. While all recipe variants seem to agree on the amount of ginger and sugar, some say to add an equal amount of water every day, and others say to first fill the jar with some water (e.g. two cups) first and then add only ginger and sugar the subsequent days.
Or maybe what is wrong is the amount of the other ingredients? Does a “loose” tablespoonful of grated ginger per level one of sugar sound right?
The third suspect could be… the cotton napkin I’m using to seal the jar? Maybe a paper napkin would be better?
Or maybe I’m just that unlucky and the ginger god hates me.