About Jamaican Ginger Beer
I love ginger in every form... fresh, dried, pickled (for my sushi), candied (or crystallized), ground/powdered... whatever. It's ALL good! It's a little sweet but a little spicy & peppery. They say that Jamaica grows the best ginger in the world, because the soil and climate is perfect for the plant.
Ginger beer (really a fermented ginger-flavored soda) is very popular in Jamaica. It's similar to ginger ale, but zingy-er! I love it alongside spicy jerk. It's also very good at settling an upset stomach. The Jamaican ginger beer recipe follows this short history of Jamaica's ginger from UWIMona:
"Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) is thought to have been introduced into Jamaica about 1525. By 1547 though, it is reported that the export of ginger amounted to over 22,000 quintals (1.2 million Kg).
Prior to 1740, the ginger was associated with the Parish of St Ann, where it had first been planted by the Spanish. After that the Christiana region took over when it was recognised that the soil and climatic conditions were especially suitable for the growing of ginger. In 1980, a survey by the International Trade Centre reported that 1,100 acres of ginger were planted in Jamaica in the central range areas of Clarendon, Manchester and Trelawny.
Between the 1930's and 1960's, Jamaica was listed as one of the three largest producers of ginger in the world, along with India and Sierra Leone. A 10-mile radius around Christiana was identified as the region which grew the finest ginger in the world. Since then the production has fallen significantly, from close to 2 million kilogram of ginger in 1953 to around 0.4 million kilos in 1995.
Ginger oil is often used for cordials and ginger wine and preserved ginger is a very popular confection and the main markets are the USA, Western Europe and Japan."
Ginger Beer Recipe
(Note: I calculated the conversions for those of us who are metrically challenged!!)
300 gms fresh, peeled ginger (about 2 1/2 cups if shredded or sliced)
2 litres boiling water (about 8 1/2 cups)
2 tsp cream of tartar
6 cups sugar
1/2 packet yeast
1. Peel the limes thinly and squeeze out the juice.
2. Crush the ginger and place all in a big earthenware jar with the cream of tartar.
3. Pour the boiling water over it. When lukewarm, lay the yeast on a slice of toast and lay it on top of the brew. Leave to ferment for 12 hours then strain and bottle. Keep 3 to 4 days.
Makes 2 litres (slightly more than 2 quarts)
From Jamaica Gleaner News.