December 13, 2017
Ginger flower Sushi

How to Cook with Ginger

by Berkeley Wellness  

One of the best known uses for ginger is in gingerbread cookies, including gingerbread men, which date back to the 16th century. (Queen Elizabeth I of England is rumored to have invented them to amuse her guests.) But there are many other ways to use ginger, which imparts a piquant, stimulating flavor to an endless variety of dishes, from baked goods to curries to salads.

How to buy, store, and cook with ginger

When shopping for fresh, mature ginger, look for knobs with plump, smooth, somewhat shiny skin. If it’s wrinkled or cracked, the ginger is past its prime. While older ginger is still usable, it won’t be as flavorful or as pungent. Shop for ground ginger and other forms of processed ginger in a store that has a rapid turnover and stores the products out of the heat or sunlight.

Fresh ginger should be stored in the refrigerator. If you’ve bought more than you can use within a couple of weeks, slice what's left and place it in a jar of vinegar. Though the ginger will have lost some of its flavor, as it leaches into the vinegar it can still be used in stir-fries. It will have a bit of a pickled taste. Meanwhile, the vinegar will have a pronounced ginger flavor and can be used in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.

If the skin is thin, it is not necessary to peel fresh ginger before grating, slicing, mincing, or shredding. If the skin is thick, however, it is preferable to peel it first. A sharp paring knife is the best tool to use for navigating around all the knobs and bumps.

To juice fresh ginger, grate it, peeled or unpeeled, on the fine holes of a box grater or on a special grater made just for ginger. Grate the ginger into a bowl, and then squeeze the pulp to extract as much of the spicy juice as possible. Discard the pulp.

10 ginger recipe ideas

1. Add slices of peeled fresh ginger to stews.

2. Add minced ginger to homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce.

3. Make a ginger-carrot soup for a spicy and hearty lunch.

4. Whisk ginger juice together with soy sauce and dark sesame oil to make an Asian-inspired salad dressing.

5. Add chopped crystallized ginger to a bean and avocado salad on fresh greens.

6. Add ginger juice to lemonade or limeade.

7. Grate ginger into a curry for a fresh and zesty bite.

8. Add grated fresh ginger to a gingerbread recipe.

9. Sprinkle minced crystallized ginger over fresh fruit.

10. Stir grated ginger or ginger juice into your favorite jam or jelly to spice it up.