Cooking With Ginger

Ginger’s earthy, spicy flavor has made it a common versatile ingredient worldwide for cooking with.

Gingers profile of different chemical compounds is what makes for its versatility.

The spiciness of fresh ginger comes from gingerol, an aromatic compound that converts into a sweeter compound zingerone when heated or dried.

Read More Here About Cooking With Aromatics

Ginger can be purchased in many forms, including raw, powdered, and crystallized. You can find fresh ginger made into a syrup.

The raw form is more sweeter and pungent in flavor.

Ground or powdered ginger on the other hand contains fewer essential oils and less gingerol. A compound called shogaol is more prominent in the powdered form, which is spicy and pungent.

Powdered ginger is more shelf stable than fresh and holds up to high heat better. Over time though, it can lose its potency.

Crystallized ginger, also referred to as candied ginger, is produced by scraping off the brown skin and slicing it into thin sized medallions then cooked in a sweet syrup until soft. It is then dry and finished off with a crackly sugar coating.

Cooking With Ginger

Because of its spicy, warm flavor, powdered ginger is typically used in baked goods.

Whereas, raw fresh ginger is used in savory dishes. You can also chop or grate it to make a cold or hot ginger beverage.

Ginger and Lemon Juice Water

The form of ginger you use, raw or powdered, will depend on the recipe you plan to use it in.

Raw ginger is effected by heat. The the flavor and composition changes as it is cooked.

If you want to capitalize on gingers raw spicy flavor, such as when using it in a savory recipe, add it towards the end of cooking.

When peeling the brown papery skin of fresh ginger do not use a vegetable peeler, which will remove a fair amount of the flesh along with the skin.

Instead, use a spoon. A spoon will scrape off only the peel.

Here is how to peel using a spoon – using the edge of the spoon with the convex side facing towards you (back side of the spoon) scrape away the ginger’s papery skin using firm, downward strokes.

Also when stripping the brown skin from ginger, the outer layer of cells will burst allowing the frequent oils to evaporate.

Therefore, scrape the skin off shortly before using it. Doing so will help to retain its complex flavor profile.

Fresh ginger works well with a variety of spices and flavors.

It can be found in spice blends, such as pumpkin pie spice, Moroccan spice, and curry spice.

You can find those spice mixes in these recipes.

Powered ginger also blends well with chili, black pepper, bay, cardamom, coriander (cilantro) and lemongrass.

You can find those spice mixes in these recipes.

You can incorporate ginger into main dishes with meat, such as chicken, beef or pork.

Add it to soups, like this Emerald Green Soup, as well as vinaigrettes or dressing, like with this Asian Salad made with a Sesame Ginger Dressing and vegetable dishes, such as carrots, like this Moroccan-Style Carrot Salad.

For its sweet mellow flavor powdered ginger can be used in these baked goods among many others.

How To Store Ginger

To extend the shelf life of ginger, it is best to store the raw root with the brown skin intact in the refrigerator in a sealed brown bag in the vegetable drawer.

Dried, ground, or crystallized ginger should be stored in a cool dark pantry in a sealed container.

Spices with the moisture removed do not really go bad (unless they get wet), but they loose their potency over time and will no longer add flavor to food.

If the aroma is gone, the flavor is most likely also gone from dried ginger.

If you use fresh raw ginger sparingly, you can store it in the freezer in an air-tight freezer bag. It can last indefinitely in the freezer. 

Whereas, sitting on your counter for long periods of time until you need some, can cause it to dry out. 

Keep in mind, you may notice a drop in flavor after six months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to use, grate the frozen ginger as you would fresh ginger. If you want dime-shaped pieces of ginger, it’s best to let the ginger defrost for about 10 minutes for easier and less haphazard cuts.

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One thought on “Cooking With Ginger

  1. I love ginger in all its forms. So good for you too. Ginger is a very under appreciated ingredient in the American diet. A fantastic antioxidant.


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