Fresh ginger is easy to work with once you know the ropes, or should I say hands. Ginger is cut into fan-shaped chunks that are called hands.
Fresh ginger will deliver a more intense flavor than dried, powdered ginger. Try it. You’ll see why you don’t substitute one for the other. There’s another reason why.* You don’t get the health benefits of fresh ginger when using dried, powdered ginger.
While you’re at it, get out that store-bought minced ginger jar in the refrigerator. Taste processed minced ginger next to fresh. Fresh has a notable fresher, lighter taste and doesn’t have the preservatives required to keep it stored in a jar on the grocery store shelf for months.
How to use fresh ginger
Medallions – For recipes whose first step is heating up oil (Asian stir-fry for example), medallions of ginger are a quick and easy way to flavor the dish with ginger. Leave the skin on and just slice into 1/4″ thick circles or medallions. Add to the oil being heated. The ginger medallions will flavor the oil and eventually the recipe. Before adding any other ingredients take the ginger medallions out.
Minced ginger – Most recipes call for minced ginger which is fresh ginger finely grated.
It’s easy to determine how much ginger to use for a recipe. You’ll get about 2 tbs of minced ginger for every 1 inch squared piece of fresh ginger. For 2 tbs of minced ginger, I use my thumb’s width and length (to the knuckle) to determine where to break off the piece for the recipe.
But don’t break off the ginger piece just yet.
Let’s say you want 2 tbs of minced ginger. Lay the ginger on the countertop or hold the ginger in your hand, use a vegetable peeler or back of a spoon to scrape off ginger’s skin for the 1″x 1″ area you want.
Use a small grater or micro planer to mince the ginger. To prevent scraped knuckles, I use the holder from a mandoline (the one spikes on one side to hold the veggie and a comfortable handle on the other side, to protect my hands).
Store ginger hands in your refrigerator or freezer. Just wrap in plastic to avoid ginger drying out. If storing in the refrigerator, wrap in moist paper towels before covering with plastic. Ginger will stay in the refrigerator up to three weeks and up to three months in the freezer.
Yes, you can use fresh ginger for crystalized ginger, just add sugar with the fresh ginger.
Replace a 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger with 2 tbs fresh ginger and 2 tbs sugar. Chop the fresh ginger coarsely to resemble the shape of the crystallized version.
*Don’t replaced fresh ginger with the dried ginger spice. Fresh ginger’s gingerol converts to shogaol and zingerone. Ginger spice not only tastes different, but loses the health benefits that fresh ginger is known for. Shogaol and zinerone have not been found to have any medicinal benefits.