How to Use Fresh Ginger

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I have people ask me all the time how I use fresh ginger. I remember being baffled by this weird root when I was younger. I would see it in the grocery store but didn’t know how to use it.

I am here today to demystify how to use fresh ginger. It is so easy, you’ll be glad you learned how to use it.

I use it at least 3 times a week in Chinese cooking (well any kind of Asian cooking, really) and it gives stir fry’s, soups, stews and vegetables a delicious flavor.

Choose ginger that has the smoothest skin. You want it to look firm and fresh and new. Do Not choose ginger that has wrinkled ends. But wait, you say, I don’t need the whole piece of ginger – I just need one of the fingers. I am here to liberate you – snap off one of those fingers if that is all you need. That’s the beautiful thing about ginger.

That piece of ginger is about an inch and a half to two inches long. For someone that doesn’t use ginger that much that would be the perfect amount. You could use that amount for a couple of dishes, maybe even 3 dishes.

I store mine in the bag from the produce section in my crisper in my fridge. It won’t last forever this way, but if you are using it within a week or two it will be fine.

It’s easy to peel ginger – I use a small paring knife, but you can certainly use a vegetable peeler. The skin comes right off and is great in your garbage disposal to freshen it up. It makes your sink smell great. 🙂

Ginger is very fibrous, you can kind of see it in this picture. If you wanted to stir fry some vegetables or some meat and vegetables you would cut it in “coins” about 1/8th of an inch thick. Cut it across the fibers. Stir fry it for a minute in the hot oil before you put the vegetables in the wok and you’ve just elevated your vegetables to another level.

Do you need that ginger root for soup? Or do you need it minced? The best way to use it for either one of those dishes is to SMASH it. Yes, really. Use the flat of the knife and lay it on the ginger. Use the heel of your hand to smash the ginger – because it’s so stringy it separates easily and breaks apart.

That ginger is now ready for soup. Drop that clump into some chicken broth or your beef broth and let it simmer to infuse the ginger flavor into the broth. Delicious.

If you want to mince it, then go ahead and cut across the grain and then mince with your knife until the pieces are the size you want. If you want a different method you can freeze the peeled finger of ginger and grate it with a microplane. I don’t actually own a microplane – so I’ve never done it that way, but I love the idea. 🙂

Don’t let ginger intimidate you. It’s a lovely root, that is super fragrant and adds the pizzazz that you want for your Chinese (or any Asian) dishes.

Does ginger intimidate you? Give it a try and see if it doesn’t change the flavor of your favorite Asian dish. Let me know what you think. 🙂

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