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How to use fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger is not as friendly looking as powdered ginger, which comes in a neat little canister along with all of the other dried spices. It goes into baked goods along with dry ingredients and requires no prep time. Fresh ginger, on the other hand, looks a little alien by comparison. The bulbous root is firm and it’s not obvious how to use it – especially in baking – if you’ve never used it before. Fresh ginger has a bright, slightly spicy flavor to it that can really make some baked goods a lot more interesting, so it is worth giving it a shot at least a few times.

To use fresh ginger, you must first peel off the dark outer layer of the piece you want to use. You can slice it off with a paring knife, but a vegetable/potato peeler is the easiest tool to use. Only peel a piece about the size you’re going to need, as the ginger stays fresher with its skin on. Ginger is fibrous, but the fresher your ginger is the less fibrous, more tender and more flavorful, so try to use less fibrous pieces when possible.  Once your chunk of ginger has been peeled, either slice it up with a sharp knife or use a microplane to grate it very finely before adding it to recipes. Fresh ginger should generally be mixed in with wet ingredients, while ground ginger is usually added with the dry ingredients, so keep that in mind  if you start to experiment adding ginger to your favorite banana bread or spice cake recipe.

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  • Linda
    September 21, 2010

    Interesting note I never learned from Food Network–don’t get fresh ginger in your eye. I was using an old-fashioned ginger grater (the ceramic type that looks like a washboard) and a little of the juice bounced up and hit me in the eye. It was like someone put a lit match to your eye. That lovely bite to ginger apparently is like a hot pepper to the eye. I quickly went to the sink and flushed my eye with lots of water until the pain abated. Just a warning not to get any juice on the hand and touch the eye.

    I love using fresh ginger but rarely seem to do so. I have discovered the microplane works better than the ceramic ginger grater to minimize some of the fibers. I will have to remember about adding it to wet ingredients. Thanks for another great blog.

  • rainey
    September 21, 2010

    I love fresh ginger. Even if you don’t cook/bake with it there’s nothing like the pungent aroma it gives off.

    Tell you what, tho. I never peel it anymore. I slice off thin rounds and put them in a garlic press. The juices and tender pulp will be extruded. The peel and any excess fibers will remain in the press.

  • kerry
    September 21, 2010

    You can also peel ginger with a spoon….a great way to keep little hands busy in the kitchen – and to keep from cutting yourself or wasting too much ginger!

  • DessertForTwo
    September 21, 2010

    Your recent spice cake that contained fresh ginger looks delicious!

    I have to say that I never peel ginger. I used to, until I spent time with a Taiwanese cook who told me no one ever peels ginger in their cooking. If you microplane it, it grates the skin right in. Such a time saver for me, and I’ve never had problems!

  • x3baking
    September 21, 2010

    Interesting, I never knew that about ginger. I haven’t tried baking with ginger yet, but I’ll be sure to follow your advice if I do.

  • Joe
    September 21, 2010

    Ditto the spoon for peeling – works very well.

  • Janet Watt
    September 21, 2010

    I use a teaspoon to peel the ginger and a microplane to grate it. Works like a charm and no waste.

  • Astasia
    September 25, 2010

    Fall always renews my baking efforts that had been temporarily abandoned due to the summer heat.

    And fresh ginger works perfectly in so many types of delicious baked treats.

    I’m glad to have found this blog to help with further baking inspirations. 🙂

  • rachel g
    November 2, 2013

    You can also freeze ginger & grate it straight from freezer. It loses its crispness so not good for stir fry but great for most cooking & baking.

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