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Fall Ingredient Essentials: Ginger

Ginger, a spectacularly spicy herb, is renowned around the world for its culinary and medicinal applications. Sure, ginger is great in cookies and cakes, soups and teas, but it’s also great at soothing stomach aches and scratchy throats. Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune system supporting, ginger helps get you healthy and keep you that way. With Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-5, along with potassium, copper, magnesium, and manganese filling every 20 calorie-1/4 cup, ginger is a powerhouse herb that can’t be beat!

How do I pick the best ginger?

Ginger flesh can come in a variety of colors ranging from white to yellow and red. Regardless of flesh color, remember when buying ginger that fresh is always best. Look for a root that is firm, with smooth skin that is free of any cuts, nicks, or signs of mold. Most ginger is mature, meaning it has a thicker, more fibrous skin that needs to be peeled before use. Young ginger, on the other hand, has a very thin skin that does not need to be peeled. Whichever type of ginger you choose, rest assured that it will be chock full of nutrients and spice.

What can I make with ginger?

Ginger is a versatile ingredient, lending itself to sweet and savory dishes alike. Add fresh grated ginger to lemonade for a spicy kick or fold into freshly made coconut rice for an aromatic surprise. Balance out the sweetness in baked apples or sweet potatoes with ginger or make your own ginger simple syrup for homemade soda. For a meaty twist, mix ginger with orange marmalade and habaneros for a sweet and spicy glaze perfect for chicken wings and pork chops or simply add a few slices to hot water for a soothing tea. From breakfast through dessert, how you use ginger in your Latin kitchen is up to you!

To prep, remove skin (if using mature ginger) with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Remember to remove the skin only from the section you want to use to prevent faster spoilage, then slice, mince, and grate ginger as needed. For a flavorful punch add ginger near the end of cooking, and for a subtle, aromatic effect add ginger at the start.

Fresh, unpeeled ginger will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Once peeled, ginger will remain fresh for one week if wrapped and refrigerated. Alternatively, unpeeled ginger can be frozen and remain fresh for up to six months. To use frozen ginger, either allow to defrost at room temperature or grate frozen as needed.

Recipes to try include: Ginger Peach Paletas, Ginger Guava Beer Cooler, and Carrot Ginger Soup.

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