Ginger is a knobby, multiple branched rhizome found in many different shapes and sizes. The skin ranges in color from light to dark tan, depending on the variety, and is semi-rough with occasional calluses and rings ridged along the surface. The thickness of the ginger skin is related to how early or maturely the rhizome was picked. Underneath the skin, the flesh is firm, fibrous, and ranges in color from yellow to brown. Ginger is also very fragrant with a warm, woody scent. When fresh, ginger is juicy and crunchy with a pungent, spicy, and slightly sweet taste.
Ginger is considered to be one of the most universal spices, used in many different culinary applications and cuisines.
How to Shop
Choose knobs of fresh ginger root with firm, unwrinkled skin that's thin enough to scrape away with your fingernail. This is because the ginger with more tough skin may be a sign of old and dried out ginger. Fresh ginger root is usually sold by the pound, so it's okay to break off only what you want from a larger piece.
How to Grow
All you need is a piece of fresh ginger, some water and some soil to get a plant growing. Once your cut pieces of ginger have calloused over, place them into some organic potting soil. Make sure the healthiest looking eyes are facing upwards. Ginger root likes rich, damp and fertile soil that has been amended. This type of soil absorbs water well but doesn’t get soggy. Adding compost or other organic matter will help with drainage. Ginger root plants like a soil that is slightly acidic (5.5 to 6.5). Adding coffee grounds to the soil can help to raise its acidity. Place the pot of ginger pieces in filtered light, but not in direct sunlight. This makes ginger a good indoor plant. Ginger can also be planted directly into the ground outdoors as soon as any danger of frost has passed and temperatures are consistently above 60° F. For outdoor plants. a shady to filtered sunlight location, such as one under the shade of a tree, is ideal. Ginger plants like heat and humidity.
How to Store
You can store fresh ginger by wrapping it in a paper towel and placing it in the fridge. You can store a whole, unpeeled ginger root in a resealable plastic bag, with the air pushed out, in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Blot dry the ginger if part of it has been cut or peeled before storing.