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Ginger

Class 1 - China

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Ginger

Pronounce it: jin-jer

Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It has an unmistakable shape - bulbous little joints, from which grow small, knobbly bumps, and its skin is light brown with a slight silvery quality. The flesh can range from ivory through to a pale, greeny yellow.

Ginger has a peppery flavour, with a sweet hint of lemon, and the aroma is pungent and sharp. It's also available ground, which is particularly good for baking; pickled; preserved in syrup (also called stem ginger); candied; or crystallised.

Find out about the health benefits of ginger with our guide.

Availability

All year round.

Choose the best

Go for plump, unblemished roots. Avoid wrinkled roots, as they're likely to be tough and fibrous. If possible, avoid any that are very knobbly, as they'll be harder work to peel. Roots should also feel heavy for their size.

Jamican and Kenyan ginger is thought to be the best.

Prepare it

Snap off a knob of ginger of the size you need then, using a small, sharp knive, peel away the skin, removing only a thin layer of the flesh beneath. Then grate, slice, cut into batons or crush.

Fresh ginger has a deliciously sweet and fragrant aroma and a fresh, citrus slightly spicy flavour. It has a distinctive knobbly appearance and is usually sold in pieces 6-15cm long, it is actually the root of the plant and is sometimes referred to as root ginger. Ginger has a pale brown skin and a light yellow-coloured fibrous flesh.

Buyer's guide

When buying fresh ginger, look for plump roots that are not wrinkled. Don't be tempted to substitute fresh ginger for ground ginger or vice versa.

Storage

Store fresh root ginger in the fridge. Ground ginger should be replaced frequently as, like other dried spices, it quickly loses its pungency when ground.

Preparation

Fresh ginger can be used finely chopped, grated, crushed to give a ginger juice, or simply sliced. In South-East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, fresh ginger is frequently added to curry pastes and it is often cooked with fish dishes in China. In Europe, dried ginger is more frequently used in baking, as in the classic parkin of northern England.

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