Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Spice of the month - Ginger



Ginger is a rhizome - it grows underground in tropical countries - believed to have come from Southern China originally – turmeric and galangal are closely related to ginger

Ginger was very popular in Medieval England - not just for cooking but also as a medicine.  Henry VIII is said to have used ginger – it was said that 'ginger helps digestion, warms the stomach, clears the sight, and is profitable for old men; it heats the joints and is therefore useful against gout'.

Not only was ginger supposed to protect you from getting sick it also was meant to improve your loving - quite a spice!
Fresh ginger tea is used to deal with nausea and other digestive issues.  For the last few weeks I have been drinking ginger and lemon tea in the mornings – very nice indeed!

The Sunshine Coast of Australia is a good producer of ginger - with some great ginger beer as a result - a very special treat for me!

Very young ginger – when you can find it – is slightly pink, has a mild taste and doesn't need peeling.  Store young ginger in the fridge – I actually store all my ginger in the fridge or freezer.  You can keep it in your fridge for up to a month.

Peel fresh ginger easiest with a teaspoon - sounds weird but it works – give it a go!

If you are going to grate ginger try freezing it for an hour or 2 first - the end result will be better

You can use ginger ground or fresh - the taste will be different – you can also get preserved stem ginger and candied ginger

Almost all Eastern dishes include fresh ginger

And what would sushi or sashimi be without that sliver of pickled ginger!

Ginger and chocolate are great companions too.

Ground ginger is used in breads, cakes and biscuits and is
good in marinades for meat

Try putting slices of fresh ginger and some whole fresh chillies into a cup of sherry – just let it sit – and then add it to stir fries or soups.

Apparently in England it was common to serve powdered ginger with cold melon - a new one on me - will have to try it

Fresh Ginger goes with:

Asian greens
Basil
Beef
Chicken
Chillies
Coconut milk
Coriander leaves
Crabs
Cumin
Duck
Eggplants
Figs
Fish
Fish sauce
Garlic
Green beans
Kiwifruit
Lemongrass
Limes
Mint
Mushrooms
Onions
Pork
Rice vinegar
Rice wine
Shellfish
Soy sauce
Spring onions
Tamarind
Turmeric
yoghurt



Ground ginger goes with:

Almonds
Aniseed
Brown sugar
Cinnamon
Cloves
Honey
Nutmeg
Raisins
treacle

Recipe – gingerbread or brandy snaps, ginger crunch

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Discovering Vegetables, Herbs & Spices by Susanna Lyle
Spice Market by Jane Lawson
Spicery by Ian & Elizabeth Hemphill
Spices & Natural Flavourings by Jennifer Mulherin
Spices by Sophie Grigson
Spices Condiments and Seasonings by Kenneth T Farrell
Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen by Elizabeth David
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander

1 comment:

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