Fresh ginger, an explosion of flavorMost 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.
Ginger is a fragrant spice. Young ginger is juicy with a mild taste, perfect with sushi. Mature ginger is nearly dry and extremely potent. Many Asian cuisines wouldn't be the same without it.
Easy to buy, store and useIn the produce aisle, mature ginger is sold in big, flaky-skinned "hands." For someone who usually buys ginger in small jars in the spice aisle, that can be daunting.
Don't let the size scare you, 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. And ginger's 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 vegetable peeler. If the skin isn't coming off easily, turning the ginger around will often make the difference.
Once peeled, 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. Slice in 1/2" layers and letting a food processor do the rest will work for most recipes.
Cooking with gingerFor a subtle taste, add ginger at the beginning of the cooking process. For more punch, add it toward the end. In the stir-fry recipe below, unpeeled ginger is used simply to flavor the oil and taken out before the veggies are thrown in.
Substitute fresh ginger for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1.