Celebrate Spring With Some Homemade Ginger Beer!

With a splash of Jamaican rum, it’s a perfect sailors’ drink. (Recipe and online extras from A Down-Island Brew (March, 2003).

Spicy Ginger Beer *

1/2 pound fresh ginger root
12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
5 1/2 cups demerara or raw sugar
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup raisins
9 1/2 liters (or quarts) cool water
1/2 liter ginger beer from previous batch
(OR new starter, recipe follows)
*makes 10 liters

To Make Your Own Starter:
Combine 1 liter water and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to 90 to 115 degrees F and add 1/2 teaspoon baker's yeast, stirring well. Pour into a clean one-liter soda bottle and let sit for two to four days. To use, pour off half the liquid and shake gently to distribute the yeast.)

Peel ginger root, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, and crush with a hammer. Add crushed ginger, cloves, and cinnamon stick to two liters of water in a large saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Gradually add sugar and stir until completely dissolved, then pour it all into a large, wide-mouthed container. Add remaining ingredients, starter last. Shake well, cap tightly, and allow to rest for 24 to 48 hours. After a day or two of fermentation, the raisins will have risen to the surface and be surrounded by a light froth of bubbles. (If not, shake again and let sit another day.) Shake well and then strain into clean plastic bottles. IMPORTANT: Use only bottles which have held carbonated beverages. Others will not withstand the pressure that will develop. Cap tightly and allow to rest for at least 24 hours before moving to icebox or refrigerator. Consume within five weeks (three weeks if unrefrigerated).

Ginger Carrots
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
½ tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon honey
Pinch salt and pepper
Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add carrots and ginger and sauté, stirring occasionally, for three minutes. Add honey and seasonings, stir, and continue to cook for another three minutes or until carrots are tender.

Orange-Ginger Tuna
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
2 fresh tuna steaks

Combine first five ingredients in shallow dish and mix well. Add tuna and marinate for 30 minutes, turning once. Grill or broil for 10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.