Ginger --- one of the world’s oldest and most-beloved spices. Ships used to travel for months going to South Asia from Europe – just to bring back this precious and fragrant spice. That was a long and dangerous journey, with storms, shipwrecks, pirates and shortages of essentials.
Lucky for you – FAVE now brings it to your local Produce department! That is SO much easier than sailing for over a year … ☺
When we buy ginger, we are really enjoying the root of the ginger plant. (Trivia fact: a ginger root is called a rhizome) Ginger is used to flavor many dishes, from hot, fragrant soups to delicious smoothies. Even ginger ale gets is distinctive crisp, clean taste from ginger!
Ginger has been used for thousands of years, both as a spice or flavoring and as a folk medicine. Ginger is used to flavor various candy and cookies (ginger snaps are a real thing – and they are delicious!). In fact, this spice is very versatile – and fresh ginger is both delicious and affordable.
Many people find that fresh ginger can alleviate symptoms of motion sickness or nausea. Ginger is also recognized by some as an anti-inflammatory. As a natural folk remedy, ginger has been valued for thousands of years.
1. Traditional mature ginger: FAVE selects the freshest ginger rhizomes at their peak of flavor and fragrance. This is the ginger most of us are used to seeing in our local Produce sections. This grows for about one year before being harvested, cleaned and dried. FAVE fresh ginger adds interest and excitement to almost any dish. The full-bodied flavor of traditional FAVE fresh ginger is great for making a fresh ginger-lime fruit salad, some tasty chicken Pho, or a refreshing apple-ginger kombucha (great recipes below via the links).
Traditional (mature) ginger
2. FAVE young ginger: we harvest FAVE young ginger early – usually after just six months, before the rhizome has fully matured. Young ginger is much harder to find --- historically, it was only available in specialty or Asian markets. Frequently, young ginger is sold with the green plant stems still attached to the root. Young ginger (also called “early harvest” ginger) has a lighter, crisp and refreshing taste. It is tender and sweet, and perfect for many fresh uses. In fact, young ginger root may even be chewed right from the store (after washing, of course!)
Fresh ginger may be prepared many ways:
• Sliced into small wafers
• Cut into julienne-style matchsticks
• Diced and minced
Please see the below links for more information on the many ways to serve ginger!
Choose rhizomes that have a smooth skin free of blemishes. Fresh ginger will look almost translucent. Ginger that is heavy for its size is better. Avoid ginger with wrinkled skin, or is discolored or moldy.
Store whole, unpeeled fresh ginger in a sealed plastic bag (with the air pushed out) in your refrigerator for up to three weeks. Make sure the ginger is dry before storing. You can store cut ginger the same way, although it will not last as long.
You may also store fresh ginger is your freezer for up to a year. Just seal it in a container to prevent freezer burn. Remove it when needed, grate the frozen ginger, and return the balance to the freezer. Bonus: frozen ginger is easier to grate.
You can also grate ginger in advance, then store it in sealed containers in your freezer for up to six months. Tip: store in serving-size portions for easy use later.
Some people store their fresh ginger in vodka. We have not tried that method, but it sounds like fun. ☺