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Make your own ginger beer

Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter, guardian.co.uk, Modified: July 31, 2013 11:27 IST

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Make your own ginger beerTry this fizzy ginger pop - because nothing beats a good brewing session with the kids.


I've always believed that the more danger one can inject into a child's life the better. Under two conditions: you must put them in complete control and encourage them to maximum mayhem. In these circumstances, children tread the boundary between fun and death with great skill.

There's been the odd mishap - there was that day we spent in the Taunton A&E department after Johnny, then two, drove a croquet hoop deep into his foot - but these are clearly exceptions that prove the rule (my wife disagrees).

My boys, who are now five and three years old, are regularly tooled up with secateurs and pickaxes in the garden. And in the kitchen, they get to wield a chef-sharp knife. The more adult the task, the more fun they have and the more they learn. I draw the line at deep-fat frying. They're both a little clumsy.

So this weekend, to celebrate this children's edition of Cook, why not get your little ones brewing? If you don't have little ones, you can always borrow a neighbour's. Pretend that you're taking them to the zoo.

This recipe does not actually deliver intoxicating levels of alcohol - children can happily drink it without developing a hangover. But it allows them to experiment with the alchemy of yeast, producing a peppery, mildly fizzy brew. It's great fun.

If you want to increase the danger levels, as well as the excitement, you could ferment the brew in a plastic bottle with the screw top on. This increases the fizziness. But beware, left too long, the bottle will explode and splatter your walls and furnishings with its sticky contents.

Make your own Jamaican ginger beer

Makes about 2 litres
250g fresh ginger root, washed and finely chopped
400g unrefined sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp dried yeast

1 Combine the ginger, sugar and 2 litres boiling water in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon juice and stir again. Set aside for an hour to cool. When tepid, whisk in the yeast.

2 Cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hours in a cool place. Strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth. Decant into sterilised bottles. The ginger beer will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Henry Dimbleby is co-founder of the fast-food restaurant chain Leon(@henry_leon)


Double bubble: make ginger beer with your kids. Photography: Jill Mead for the Guardian

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