Ingredient of the Week: Fresh Ginger
I think ginger is one of the best spices in the world. In addition to adding a great flavour kick to a recipe, it has great medicinal qualities. In Jamaica when you have an upset stomach (or bad stomach, as we say), ginger tea is a favourite remedy. Ginger Tea: Boil some chopped fresh ginger in water for 5 minutes, steep for 5 more minutes, strain and sweeten.
Ginger is also known to help with digestion. So a cup of ginger tea after supper is good for the soul, I say. In Jamaica we also use ginger to make ginger beer. It’s a classic Jamaican beverage, and I look forward to sharing my recipe with you this week!
I use dried powdered ginger for some recipes, mainly baking. But I find that the flavour of fresh ginger is wonderful in savory dishes — and for Jamaican Ginger Beer, of course. Also, you should know that the potency varies. Generally, the younger and fresher the ginger stem, the less intense the flavour. Probably because there’s more water content in the freshest ginger.
Buy the freshest ginger you can find
When shopping for fresh ginger, choose firm, crisp-looking stems and stay away from any dark, shriveled ones.
Store fresh ginger in the refrigerator
Ginger is best stored unpeeled at cooler temperatures. Wrap it in plastic or pop in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Ginger can also be stored in the freezer
If I’m not using fresh ginger right away I put it in the freezer. It’s easy to defrost, but another benefit is that frozen ginger is easier to grate.