Ginger

14 01 2011

Yes? No, not me… the spice! Ok, y’all know I’d have to get around to it eventually on Food Fridays, right? Here we are! I happen to love this remarkable spice (good thing, huh?). It’s available in most markets year-round, so you can add it to dishes anytime.

It is a bit exotic, can be sweet, savory, and is so good for you! Sounds a lot like me, doesn’t it? Haha. But no, seriously, it’s been proven to help with nausea, thins the blood, is an antiinflammatory. It does all kinds of good. And my, does it taste good on some sweetened carrots.

Here are a few tips to help you choose, prepare, and use that wonderful spice!

  • Choose firm roots that are smooth, crack-free, and have a spicy smell.
  • You can also find pickled ginger, often served as a Japanese condiment, crystallized ginger that’s been cooked in sugar syrup, dried ground ginger in the spice section, and even ginger juice in some places. But do keep in mind that these might have a slightly different outcome than fresh ginger. For instance, dried ginger is a bit more powerful or crystallized ginger is a little sweeter.
  • You can store fresh ginger at room temperature in a dark place tightly sealed in a bag, or refrigerated for a bit longer.
  • Peel and remove the thin skin. Be careful, as the flesh underneath is quite delicate and flavorful. You might use a spoon or a vegetable peeler rather than a knife if you wish.
  • Freeze ginger, and then grate it for a finer spice, or mince by placing a small chunk in your garlic press. You can also always throw it into your food processor and pulse until it’s chopped as desired. Add some sugar if you wish.
  • Use your ginger in soup or stocks, stir fries, salads, veggies, marinades, and desserts.
  • If you are making a gelatin dessert, ginger has an enzyme that can break down and prevent your gel from setting properly. First blanch the ginger to destroy the enzyme, or use crystallized ginger. This enzyme can also curdle milk if you are working with milk in your desserts.

Ok, and now, for a delicious, and fancy looking simple dessert from ginger that is sure to impress your friends and family. Dip crystillized ginger slices (you can find these in most stores) or sticks in melted chocolate. Set on wax paper to cool in the refrigerator until sets. Serve after dinner with tea or coffee, in a simple snack bowl, or to garnish vanilla ice cream.

See, it’s not just for cookies anymore!

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