Friday, October 31, 2014

Feature: Fresh Baby Ginger

By Andrea Yoder

Ginger growing in the greenhouse
Ginger is a very interesting and unique crop, unlike anything else we grow on the farm. It is actually a rhizome, which is a stem that grows horizontally underground. It produces roots to anchor it and sends up shoots to grow into foliage above ground as it grows and expands. We grow the plant in one of our greenhouses that has a dirt floor. Ginger grows best in an ideal soil temperature of about 65°F, so trapping heat within the greenhouse helps us provide a longer period of warmth so we can maximize growth. Given our shorter growing season, we will never reach a full-sized ginger, so our ginger is actually “Baby Ginger.”

Ginger has thin skin with pink to purple scales
Ginger is used as both medicine and food. As a medicine, it is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect and can sooth a whole host of gastrointestinal maladies. It can also be an effective pain reliever and part of a treatment plan for cancer. It is a common ingredient in many Asian cultures, often pairing with garlic and scallions in Chinese stir-frys or combine it with chiles, lemongrass and a variety of other ingredients to make Thai curry pastes. Ginger has a spicy, warm flavor which also makes it an excellent ingredient to pair with other spices and rich, comforting foods such as sweet potatoes, winter squash, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. It can be used extensively to make beverages, teas, baked goods, stir-frys, salad dressings, vegetable dishes, curries and much, much more!

Baby ginger has a very thin skin with pink to purple scales. You don’t need to peel the thin, delicate skin of fresh, baby ginger. Simply trim away the scales and you are ready to use the ginger. You’ll find baby ginger to be tender, juicy and very flavorful. Baby ginger is excellent to use for making pickled ginger. The leaves and stems also contain quite a bit of flavor. Use them to flavor soups or stocks or steep them in hot water to make tea. You could also use the ginger stems as a stirring stick for a tropical beverage. Fresh baby ginger can be stored at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, you can put it in the refrigerator or freezer.

We hope you have as much fun experimenting with and experiencing the delicious flavors of fresh ginger. We’ve had a lot of fun growing this crop for you!
Brussles Sprouts with Ginger & Cranberries
Recipe by Andrea Yoder

Serves 4
4 oz bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 small onion, small diced
3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped

1. Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the bacon. Cook the bacon until it is just turning golden and is crispy. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan, put them in a bowl and set them aside. Pour the bacon grease out of the pan and into a glass jar. Reserve one tablespoon of the bacon grease. 

2. Put 1 Tbsp of bacon grease back into the pan. Add garlic, ginger and onions and sauté 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are fragrant and slightly sizzling.

3. Add the brussels sprouts and continue to sauté until the sprouts are tender and browned on the cut side. Remove from the heat and add the cooked bacon and cranberries.

4. Gently stir to combine all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Ginger Bug
“This is a marvelous fermented concoction that mixes well with a variety of syrups and juices to create carbonated drinks with added ginger flavor. It takes some tending and up to 10 days to really carbonate well, but the tending is very minor…easier than feeding the cat!” –Recipe and introduction by Eugenia Bone from her book The Kitchen Ecosystem.

Yield: 1 quart
1 quart water
1 Tbsp plus 10 tsps minced, unpeeled fresh ginger, divided
1 Tbsp plus 10 tsps unrefined cane sugar, divided

1. Place the water in a gallon jar, leaving about 2 inches of headroom at the top. Add 1 tablespoon each of the ginger and sugar, place a lid on the jar, screw on the band fingertip tight, and give it a good shake. Leave the jar out on your counter.

2. Every day for the next ten days, add 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp sugar to the jar. This feeds the fermentation, increasing the amount of carbonation. When you give the jar a shake, you will see the bubbles along the top of the liquid, and if you open it, it may really bubble up..and out!

3. After 10 days, strain and pour the ginger bug into bottles and close them with a cap or cork and refrigerate. The ginger bug will hold for about 1 month.

NOTE: You can find additional information about Ginger Bug & how to use it at

No comments: