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Ginger, an Explosion in Flavor

Ginger, an explosion in flavor

Most kitchens have a jar of ground ginger at the ready for a gingerbread recipe. For baking, the fineness of the commercially ground spice makes sense, but using that jar of ground ginger for just about anything else is a culinary crime.  The gingerbread men are taking names.

This fragrant flavor booster goes beyond what ground spice and young ginger (served with sushi) can do.

Easy to buy, store and use

Mature ginger is sold in big, flaky-skinned “hands.” For your readers or students who usually buy ginger in small jars in the spice aisle, that can be daunting.

Ginger- chopped, sliced, and grated

No need to be scared-off with the size, because there’s no rush to use it all up. Ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated for three weeks or stored in the freezer for up to six months.

Ginger in its odd shape can be easily peeled and chopped for cooking. Cut off enough ginger from the hand for each recipe and wrap up the remainder for the next dish. Remove ginger's flaky skin with the back of a spoon or a vegetable peeler. If the skin isn't coming off easily, turning the ginger around will often make the difference.

Once you've peeled the ginger, use a microplane grater or take a knife and slice thinly across the ginger's fibers; then chop to get the desired size of pieces for your recipe. For most recipes you can slice peeled ginger in 1/2 inch layers and then let a food processor do the rest of the work.

Ginger Recipes

Broccoli Ginger Slaw
Broccoli Ginger Slaw

Ginger ChutneyCaribbean Red Papaya Ginger Chutney

Ginger Stir-FryGinger Stir-Fry

Ginger VinaigretteGinger Vinaigrette

Ginger-Lime TeaGinger-Lime Tea

Printable Ginger Explosion and Recipes
Brooks Tropicals website
More on Ginger
Other tropical recipes
Other tropical story ideas

Cooking with ginger

For a subtle taste, add ginger at the beginning of the cooking process. For more punch, add it toward the end.

When stir-frying, thinly slice unpeeled ginger and then add it to the oil while it's heating up in the wok. Ginger flavors the oil and can be taken out before adding the vegetables and protein to the dish. When steaming, adding sliced, unpeeled ginger to the water also adds to the dish's flavor.

For existing recipes, substitute fresh ginger for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1.

Ginger in South Florida

A century ago, Miami was a frontier. Unrelenting heat, hurricanes, mosquitoes, alligators and snakes had kept Southeast Florida's population to a minimum. The virtues of sparkling beaches were not yet known.

Back then my grandmother would buy fruits and vegetables from the Seminole Indians right off their dugout canoes on Miami's Little River. One of the things she would buy was ginger, and with it she'd make an incredible ginger custard. View the recipe, or view what my Aunt Lois would have you believe is the recipe.

I don't know what's more incredible, the rave reviews her family gave the dish or the fact that she cooked such an intricate dish on a woodburning stove that probably took an already hot tropical kitchen past 120 degrees.

When I see portraits of pioneer women wearing crisply ironed white dresses, I think of the effort it took to pull themselves from the demands of their daily lives; pull together a clean, starched and ironed dress; shampoo the hair and do it up in a nice fashion; and then go to church or - much less often - have their picture taken. Did she know, down deep, that her picture would be viewed a hundred years later and a future granddaughter would hold it dear?

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Contact: maryo@brookstropicals.com | 305.247.3544 x7371