Ginger :: Ingredient

Editor’s Note:  Sometimes a single ingredient inspires a recipe or culinary preparation.  However, without some basic knowledge about flavor, use and storage, it can often be intimidating to walk the isles of your local market without a specific recipe in hand.  In an effort to better understand many of the ingredients, both common and uncommon, you will see here at, I’ll post some summary information and provide links to the recipes on this site that utilize those ingredients.  As new recipes are added, related post links will be updated.  Or, are you feeling inspired and want to create your own recipe with a specific ingredient?  Use the ‘Pairs Well With’ information for some of my favorite flavor cues while raiding your home pantry…

INFO: Taken from a Sanskrit word meaning “horn root”, ginger undoubtedly got its name from having such a gnarled and varied appearance.  Used in both sweet and savory dishes, ginger is primarily grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world including Jamaica, India, Africa and China.  Ginger tastes peppery (hot) and slightly sweet and should smell pungently spicy.

HOW TO BUY: Young (or spring) ginger can be found in the springtime at most Asian markets.  Mature ginger is available year-round at any supermarket.  When shopping for mature ginger, look for firm rhizomes with smooth skin.  As ginger ages, it will soften, wrinkle and begin to dry out.

STORAGE: Mature ginger keeps moderately well on the counter, but you can extend its shelf life by wrapping it in plastic and refrigerating it for up to 3 weeks.  You can freeze tightly wrapped, unpeeled ginger for up to 4-6 months.  Ginger can also be pickled and will keep for several months.

USE: Young ginger can be used as is.  Prior to using mature ginger, however, the tan skin should be removed.  This can be easily accomplished by scraping a spoon or the back of your knife across the knobby root’s surface.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Apples, brown sugar, chocolate (dark), cilantro, cream, garlic, honey, lemon, mint, pears, rice wine vinegar, scallions, soy sauce, wasabi

RELATED POSTS: Ginger Ale (coming soon), Asian Ginger Dressing