In Praise of Ginger

I’ve been on a ginger kick for quite awhile now, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon.

For years, my ginger consumption was limited to the pink pickled ginger that accompanies sushi and sashimi.  When I lived in Los Angeles, and started finding my way as an intrepid home cook, I dabbled with Asian cuisine and would buy fresh ginger root whenever a recipe called for it.  The problem was, once I used a teaspoon of minced ginger for the recipe, I had no idea what to do with the rest of it.

Oh, how little I knew.  Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you unfamiliar with this amazing root, I would like to introduce you to ginger:

Okay, so she’s not the prettiest girl, but she’s got an unbeatable personality.

You may be more familiar with ginger in its various forms. Quite the chameleon, this one is:

Pickled Ginger

Crystallized, or “candied” ginger

Ground ginger, which is an ingredient in…

This American classic, which inspires baking contests in offices and church groups around Christmas time every year. It always makes me think of Candy Land. God, I loved that game.

Maybe you’re not a fan of gingerbread houses or pretty pickled food that goes down well with sushi, but if you like spicy, if you like sweet, and most of all, if you like booze, you should give ginger a try.  Ginger is remarkable in that it has a distinct, spicy flavor, and is so versatile an ingredient across a variety of cuisines and dishes.  It’s also the key ingredient for a number of beverages: ginger tea, ginger ale (both good for tummy aches), ginger brew (this one’s a must have), ginger beer, and ginger wine.  Ginger syrup is also a marvelous addition to cocktails, like an old favorite I never fail to order at the Brooklyn outpost of this bar.

Here are some of my favorite dishes & drinks with ginger, as well as a few recipes I’m anxious to try:

So, friends and intrepid home cooks, be not afraid of the ugly, knobby root.  Be adventurous.  Be daring.  Be open.  And enjoy!

For those of you out there who are already big fans of ginger, I would love to hear about your favorite dishes & drinks. Please post – it would be much appreciated.

J.

One thought on “In Praise of Ginger

  1. I adore ginger too, one of my favourite flavours. I posted a gingerbread recipe recently and it was absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever made. Ginger also always features in my curries and other such dishes.

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