Ginger is known as an herb when fresh and a spice when dried. Regardless of the semantics, it is popular in many cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese, for adding flavour to soups, stocks, curries, or even as a palate cleanser between dishes. Ginger’s zingy warmth adds a pleasant kick to classics like ginger ale, gingerbread, and ginger snap cookies. Many also swear by it in home remedies for soothing throats and queasy stomachs.
Ginger is a versatile aromatic that can be used whole, sliced, minced, grated, or powdered. Keep some on-hand at all times to add a little zip of heat to your favourite dishes.
How to Select Ginger:
To choose the freshest ginger root, look for heavy, firm pieces with smooth skin. The cleaner the snap when you break off a piece, the fresher it is. Lighter, wrinkled or shriveled pieces have dried out, but can still be used in most applications.
How to Store Ginger:
Fresh and firm unpeeled ginger root can be stored on the kitchen counter for a week. However, it’s best to store it in a clean plastic bag (with the air removed), in the vegetable crisper drawer of your fridge. Unpeeled ginger will store well for up to three weeks, peeled ginger should be used within a couple of days.
Many stores sell two types of fresh ginger root. Young ginger is smaller, has pale skin, is very tender and is mild in flavour. Mature ginger has a tough skin and a spicier aroma.
How to Freeze Ginger:
- To freeze in convenient serving sizes, peel and cut ginger into 1 inch thick pieces. This is the amount many recipes call for. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap, then store in an airtight freezer bag (with the air removed).
- Alternately, create small “coins” to use in recipes. Peel and grate the root, then divide it into 1 Tbsp portions on a baking sheet. Cover and freeze. Transfer the frozen “coins” into an airtight container or a freezer bag and use later in recipes like soups or stews.
- Either freezing method will preserve ginger well for up to three months.
How to Prepare Ginger:
For most applications, begin by removing the skin with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler and trimming the edges. Then, cut into strips or coins depending on the application.
Grate ginger using a microplane grater or a box grater, depending on how fine you want the end product. You don’t have to peel mature ginger as it won’t grate as you work through the root, but it may be easier to manage if you do peel it first because it is quite fibrous. Young ginger has a thinner skin that can be kept on for grating, depending on your personal preference. Most people choose to remove it.
To use fresh ginger to flavour soup or broth, wash and simply slice lengthwise or into coins. Since you’ll be removing the slices after cooking, you can keep the skin on.
- Ginger is a wonderful kitchen staple as it transforms a quick weeknight stir-fry or curry. For convenience, peel and cut into 1-inch thick pieces (this is generally the amount most recipes require) and freeze. When you wish to use, grate from frozen or allow to thaw and finely slice.
- Add a few slices of ginger to your chicken noodle soup for a burst of flavour and zing.
- If you have a juicer, try juicing oranges and beets with a small piece of ginger for a kick of heat. Ginger also pairs wonderfully with apples and carrots in fresh juice.
- Ginger can be very fibrous, which can make it tough to grate. Make the job a little easier and rotate your piece as you work.
- A garlic press is a great tool if you want to quickly juice small amounts of ginger.
- Equivalent: 1-inch piece of ginger (mature) = 1 tablespoon minced
What Does Ginger Go Well With?
Produce: apples, apricots, asparagus, bell peppers, blueberries, bok choy, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cherries, collard greens, cranberries, edamame, eggplant, fennel, figs, garlic, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, mushrooms, onion, orange, peaches, pear, plums, potatoes, pumpkin, scallions, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tamarind, watercress, zucchini
Herbs & Spices: basil, chili, cilantro, cumin, curry, garam masala, lemongrass, mint, miso, turmeric, wasabi
Savoury: poultry, fish, beef, seafood, oats, rice, tofu, almonds, tahini, seitan, chickpeas, grains, and lentils
Other: sesame oil, soy sauce, tamari, sake, rum, kombu, seaweed, honey, cream, and yogurt
Ginger Flavour Combinations:
Ginger + Cream + Honey
Ginger + Cilantro + Scallions + Garlic
Ginger + Beef + Broccoli + Soy Sauce
Ginger + Celery + Carrot + Garlic
Ginger + Carrot
Ginger + Soy Sauce
Add some pizazz to your weekday chicken dinner by adding ginger and kiwi! Just marinade the meat the night before so it’s ready to go after work!
This simple braised pear with ginger glaze can be made in advance, making a great solution for entertaining.