All About Ginger
Ginger is a favorite flavor all over the world, and for good reason. Here's what you need to know about selecting and using it.
Used in some form in nearly every type of cuisine, ginger is a culinary workhorse. Its slightly sweet, peppery flavor spices up everything from soups to desserts to beverages.
This knobby root of a tropical plant is grown in Jamaica, India, Africa, and China. It can be purchased in a variety of forms — fresh, dried and ground, crystallized, or pickled in vinegar. Fresh ginger is available in two varieties, young and mature. Young ginger shows up in Asian markets in the springtime and is prized for its mild, delicate flavor and tender flesh. Mature ginger is available year-round. In both cases, buy firm roots with smooth skin (wrinkled skin indicated old, dried-out ginger). Wrapped well, unpeeled ginger keeps for up to three weeks in the fridge or can be frozen for six months (slice frozen ginger and prepare as directed).
Though all forms of ginger are somewhat similar in flavor, they shouldn't be used interchangeably. Each type varies in strength, so use only what's called for in a recipe.