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Quick Tips: Preparing Fresh Ginger

Quick Tips: Preparing Fresh Ginger

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Adding fresh ginger to your wok will bring out a sweet, snappy flavor.

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Kitchen Tip: How to Prepare Fresh Ginger and Turmeric

You’ve probably passed ginger and turmeric over a dozen times while shopping in Heinen’s Produce Department and wondered, “what on Earth is this?” or “what do I do with it?” I’m hear to clear up both of those questions!

What are Ginger and Turmeric?

Ginger and turmeric are both amazing root vegetables that have delicious flavors and provide a myriad of health benefits. Slightly sour with a spicy, hot sensation, they are both considered “earthy.”

Known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is loaded with antioxidants and can even help settle your stomach, but it’s also great for cooking. It tastes delicious in vinaigrettes, stir fry, soup and broth, sautéed vegetables or used as a spice blend to coat a roast.

Considered a superfood for the brain, turmeric is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, just like ginger, but since it’s “earthy” flavor is much stronger than ginger, it is not quite as useable. It does taste great sautéed with vegetables, combined with other pungent spices like curry, added to soups or mixed with honey and added to chicken.

How to Prepare Ginger

Start by removing the outside peel of the ginger with a peeler or a paring knife. Be careful as the shape and texture of the ginger root can make it tricky to peel.

Place the peeled ginger root on a cutting board and prepare to cut it. Ginger has long, thin threads that run throughout the root, which makes it challenging to cut. To make things easier, turn the ginger root sideways and cut it in half. Then turn it one more time and slice it as thin as possible.

Finally, serve the ginger in these thin slices or stack the slices as you would sliced carrots, turn it again and mince.

How to Prepare Turmeric

Start by removing the outer layer of skin with a peeler.

Once peeled, set the turmeric root on a cutting board and thinly slice it into rounds. There’s no need to turn it first, like the ginger, because turmeric does not have thin threads that run throughout the root.

If you prefer turmeric finely grated rather than sliced, use a microplaner to grate the turmeric into small minced pieces.

Cook's Notes:

Each "head" of baby bok choy is roughly the diameter of a can of soda.

The bok choy cooks down quite a bit, so the raw amount may look like it will be too much before cooking. You can use regular bok choy instead of baby bok choy if you like, although I prefer the sweeter and more delicate flavor of baby bok choy. If you want a more robust flavor, feel free to add some soy sauce or oyster sauce to the finished product, but personally I like to let the simple but delicious taste of the bok choy shine through.

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Ginger Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe

One of Joanne’s favorite cocktails is a classic cosmopolitan cocktail. So we thought we would add a little twist.

The classic recipe has cranberry juice, some kind of orange liquor and lime juice. For this ginger cosmopolitan cocktail we used white cranberry juice instead of regular cranberry juice. Then, we muddled fresh, spicy ginger for an extra punch of flavor. It was delicious!

We shared this with Betty Crocker. To get the recipe click here.

Or stick around and look at a few of our other cocktails:

This champagne cocktail recipe has everything we love about a classic cosmopolitan cocktail, but with the addition of bubbles. Jump to the Champagne Cosmopolitan Cocktail Recipe.

Add an herbal spin to the classic gin fizz cocktail with fresh rosemary. Jump to the Rosemary Gin Fizz Cocktail Recipe

Simple chicken and red pepper curry

This was inspired by a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery book. You can make the paste spicy by adding various types of chilli. My collaborator Jane Baxter’s son David demands that she cook it on a weekly basis.

A Jaffrey-inspired chicken and pepper curry should clear those sinuses out. Photograph: Jill Mead/Guardian

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins

Serves 4
For the red pepper paste
2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ red onion, roughly chopped
1 x 2cm cube ginger, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
70g flaked almonds
A pinch of cayenne
Optional if you want to make it spicy: dried chilli flakes, red chillies, smoked paprika

For the sauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs cut into 2 or 3 pieces
300ml chicken stock
Juice ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Fresh coriander, chopped

1 Place all the paste ingredients, with a good pinch of salt, in a food processor or liquidiser and blitz until you have a smooth paste.

2 Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan or shallow frying pan until hot. Tip in the paste ingredients and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Add the chicken pieces, season well and cook for another 10 minutes, turning the chicken over in the paste. Add enough stock to make a thick sauce, and bring up to the boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes.

4 To finish, add a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of coriander and check it is seasoned well. Serve with plain boiled rice.

How to Make Ginger Tea

I tried several ginger tea methods, and the easiest way is truly the best way. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Thinly slice your fresh ginger. You don’t need to peel it first, but do rinse it and scrub off any visible dirt. Plan on about using about a one-inch piece of ginger per cup of tea.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the ginger with fresh water (use one cup of water per serving).
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
  4. Simmer for five minutes (or up to 10 minutes, if you want extra-strong tea). I usually think it’s pungent enough at five minutes.
  5. Pour the tea through a fine sieve to catch all of the ginger. If desired, serve your tea with a thin round of lemon or orange for some complementary acidity. You might also appreciate a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup, which will temper the fiery ginger flavor.

Reviews ( 4 )

I decided to make this because I had a similar dish at an Asian restaurant last year when I had the flu. Not only did it taste great, it did what no medication I'd take could. I caught a cold this week, so decided to try making my own. It was time consuming, but worth the effort. It came out tasting fantastic! My wife loves it. I was forced to omit the parsnip, as there seemed to be a local shortage. I modified the recipe in a few other places too. For starters, I added Perdue's pre-cooked rotiserie breast meat. It's already cut up, so that saved some prep time. I also tend to prefer noodles in my soup, so I found some sweet potato noodles at the local Wegman's, and added those. About half the package is what I used. They add a nice flavor balance against the ginger and garlic. I'll be making more of this.

Fresh tuna may feel like a fish that's best enjoyed when ordered at a delicious sushi spot or a high-end seafood restaurant, but there's no reason why you can't cook it at home. Here, you'll find simple preparations of grilled and seared tuna that can be turned into rice bowls, skewers, or served alongside a crisp salad.

When shopping for fresh tuna, be sure to choose a responsibly-caught option (you can always ask the fishmonger at your local market or grocery store for more complete sourcing information). Ahi tuna&mdashalso known as yellowfin tuna&mdashis the premier fresh tuna choice and you'll find it available in loins and steaks. Our recipes will always specify exactly which cut you need.

When working with good-quality fresh tuna, the key is to prepare it so that it's just cooked on the outside but still rare and fully pink-red on the inside. Fresh tuna has a very firm, meaty texture that's similar to mahi mahi or swordfish and offers a relatively mild flavor. Fresh tuna can be expensive, so you'll best be able to appreciate the flavor when it is served rare.

Ahead, you'll find recipes where fresh tuna is served seared and dressed simply with sesame seeds, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Enjoy it on its own with a crisp white wine for a light, delicious meal you'll crave all summer long. Of course, we also have plenty of low-key weeknight specials that include tuna rice bowls, tuna steaks served with salads and grilled vegetables, fish skewers, and more. All of these recipes come together in under one hour and they're guaranteed to be the start of the show whenever you prepare them.

Turn Up (or Down) the Heat to Get More Flavor Out of Ginger

I’ve been spending a lot of time with ginger lately. Between adding it to stir-fries or using it to make tea, I’ve learned a lot about manipulating its flavor level to get the desired outcome. I’ve learned when and how to use it — and as a result, my hand of ginger is seeing a new life in the kitchen.

There are many ways to manipulate the flavor of ginger. How it’s cut impacts the amount of oil released, which affects the amount of ginger flavor you can harness. But beyond the cut, the presence or absence of heat impacts the type of flavor ginger imparts.

Raw Ginger = Fresh and Fiery

Raw ginger contains a chemical compound known as gingerol. It’s responsible for the sweet, throaty burn you get when you drink fresh ginger beer or fizzy kombucha, or pop a bit of fresh ginger in your mouth. Gingerol is closely related to capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their spiciness — hence the similar burn. This close relation is a clue as how to best use fresh ginger to your advantage. Think of it like a chile pepper, adding it to dishes that need a serious kick. If you want to capitalize on ginger’s burn, use it fresh and mince it finely.

Fresh and Fiery Ginger Recipes

  • No-Bake Peach Tarts with Ginger and Coconut
  • Green Smoothie with Spinach, Pear, and Ginger
  • No-Bake Sesame Coconut Ginger Cookies
  • Ginger Kombucha

Ginger + Heat = Mellow and Sweet

Once ginger hits the heat, gingerol does a little dance and changes into zingerone. Zingerone ditches the affiliation to chile peppers and decides to take a page from vanilla’s book, giving cooked ginger a sweeter, highly aromatic quality. The distinctive sweet gingery scent of gingerbread, gingersnaps, and even ginger tea is all thanks to zingerone.

The bite of ginger is still present after you cook it, but it’s nowhere near as potent as raw ginger. To further tame the burn of cooked ginger, opt for larger cuts. Cut the ginger into coins to perfume a dish with a light ginger flavor with little-to-no burn.

Sweet and Mellow Ginger Recipes

Like It Really, Really Hot? Dried Ginger Is for You

Love the flavor of raw ginger but want to take it to the next level of flavor and heat? Dried ginger is just the ticket. Gingerol undergoes another change during the dehydration process, transforming into the compound shogaol. This causes the spice level to double. So if you really enjoy the burn of fresh ginger and want even more, dehydrate your ginger and mince it or even grind it for an extremely potent and powerful flavoring. A pinch of that in a chili would really bring the heat.

Hali Bey Ramdene is the founder of StudioHalibey, a creative consultancy that tells stories around food, good living, and well-being.