We had a great show on ginger this week called “Ginger, The Root of Health and Flavor” with Abbie Leeson of The Ginger People and Dr. Sara Knuth, ND, of Be Well Integral Healing Space. Abbie covered a lot of the cultural and growing information while Sarah handled the nutritional benefits. Man oh man, there is a lot to like about this ancient root! You can see why it has been used in China for over 5000 years. There are many ways to use it but how do you choose it? Here’s some basic ginger information that should help make your ginger choosing and using much easier.
When you are in your favorite produce department buying ginger, first look for ginger roots that are heavy for their size (I know you hear this on just about everything I talk about, from melons to oranges, but heaviness means more moisture content and that equates to better produce). It should be firm and have a nice smooth skin and a spicy fragrance when you break it open or cut into it. If your store has nice big tubers to choose from don’t be afraid to just break off what you need. It’s always better to buy what you will use within a week or two to insure the best flavor and most nutritional benefit.
Once you get it home the best way to store your fresh ginger is to wrap it unpeeled in a paper towel, put it into a plastic produce bag, and store it in the refrigerator. Ginger stored this way can be kept fresh for up to three weeks.
If you don’t have access to fresh ginger, are given a large amount, or just want to keep it around longer, you can freeze ginger for to up to two months – just cut it into small nubs and put into an airtight plastic container.
When you are ready to use it in a dish you can use a knife or vegetable peeler to peel your ginger or you can even use a spoon. Yes, an ordinary tea spoon or tablespoon from your kitchen drawer can do the trick.
You’ll be surprised by how easy this is, simply hold the piece of ginger in one hand and with the tip of a spoon, scrape away the ginger’s outer peel.
Because the spoon tip is dull, it easily removes the soft peel leaving most of the wonderful ginger intact for using.
To get the just the right flavor from your ginger when cooking, use this simple tip. If you add fresh ginger at the beginning of your cooking you will get a nice subtle flavor. For a stronger more robust flavor add your fresh ginger near the end of cooking.
Enjoy your ginger and don’t be afraid to try it in some ways you may not have considered. I’m off to grate some into my fried apples.