I simply cannot imagine my kitchen without any ginger root. I use it grated in salads, in sauces, on pasta, and just about any other combination, I can imagine. You can find it in the United Kingdom in a product called green ginger wine and the French use ginger to flavor liquor. It is commonly used in India to flavor tea and in curries. I know that I prefer to simmer fresh tea with some thin ginger peels. It gives a great aroma and a spicy kind of taste depending on how many peels you add. When the Chinese prepare some of their dishes they use old ginger root juice with mutton and seafood.
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I’m sure that most everyone has heard about ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger biscuits and gingerbread. In Japan, they pickle ginger and use it raw on noodles. Koreans make Kimchi. They mince their ginger really fine and then add it to the spicy paste before fermentation. In Indonesia they drink a beverage known as Wedang Jahe, which consists of ginger and palm sugar and ginger powder is used for spicing coffee in some parts of the Middle East.
Fresh ginger always has a wonderful aroma and a sort of spicy tartness. If you use it in cooking you can adjust the amount of ginger all depending on how spicy you want your dish to be. It works very well in all kinds of different combinations like in Asian stir-fries and dipping sauces. However, it also combines well with sweet things such as maple syrup. The combination of ginger and maple syrup make nice sweet and spicy glazes for meats and vegetables. A nice combination is ginger with tomatoes for stir-fries or even sauces. It just works well with a combination of foods – poultry, fish, and meat. To add ginger to your cooking you can do just about anything to it such as chopping, grating, pureeing, mincing or cutting it into slices or matchsticks. I’ve even added small chunks of ginger to stews and pot roasts.
Ginger comes in six different forms:
- Fresh ginger – when bought young. It has a very thin skin which actually needs no peeling. When bought mature it has a tough skin which needs to be peeled to get to the fresh fibrous flesh inside.
- Dried ginger – usually requires soaking before using.
- Pickled ginger – usually in sweet vinegar and will be pink or bright red in color.
- Preserved ginger – can be gotten in specialty markets. It comes preserved in a sugar-salt mixture. In this form, it’s added to desserts and goes great together with melons.
- Crystallized ginger – this type is also known as candied ginger. It is cooked in sugar syrup until it becomes tender and is then coated with granulated sugar. Also used in desserts and it can be made at home.
- Ground ginger – in this form it is usually used in curries and in sweets.
In whatever kind of form or way, you choose to use it ginger is just great. I really prefer fresh ginger and I always have some on hand. Usually, I wind up using it every day even in something simple like chicken soup.