It's time to harvest Ginger in the Tropics whilst it is at the peak of freshness in the ground. It is very easy to grow here and last week Mr. HRK dug up enough fresh ginger to fill two buckets. We have a raised garden where just ginger, turmeric and my vanilla orchid are growing, and our Pomegranate tree has also been surrounded by ginger. That has all been harvested now, however I still have small clumps of fresh ginger growing throughout the garden beds ready for when I need to dig up a fresh piece for cooking. We set to work drying it, freezing it, and cooking it up into Stem Ginger in Syrup which ensures that we will have soft and delicious cooked ginger and a sweet ginger flavoured syrup to use in cakes and slices, with other fruits, and in desserts and on ice cream.
Ginger can be used in all types of cooking, I couldn't live without it, and also has great medicinal value. It helps nausea and seasickness, is an anti-inflammatory and is said to lower high blood sugar and cholesterol. A few years ago, when we were out on a boat at beautiful Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, on a swimming with whale sharks tour, I felt quite queasy after a while. They were serving crystallised ginger and ginger tea to help with the seasickness and I think it helped, or maybe it was the ginger nuts:)
I made two batches of Stem Ginger last week, which used 1200 g of fresh ginger, and we also dehydrated two batches and now have plenty of powdered ginger for the next 12 months. Homemade dried ginger is so much more aromatic and full of flavour than the powdered ginger available in the supermarkets. Mr. HRK decided to slice a lot of the ginger for dehydrating using my mandolin. Unfortunately he cut his finger in the process, despite my warnings. I came home from grocery shopping to an injury. It's not often I see him needing a band aid but this cut needed attention. Thankfully it wasn't more serious. He uses all kinds of tools and heavy equipment for his metalworking and woodworking, and home repairs, and has quite an impressive collection now, and has done for years as he was a High school Manual Arts teacher. However trust a mandolin in the kitchen to cause a problem. It is a serious piece of kitchen equipment with warnings attached, and I always use the protective guard if I use it . But then I find a hand held grater challenging ha, ha.
600 g very fresh ginger, preferably home grown, or from the Farmer's market
600 g sugar
600 ml water
Freeze the ginger overnight in a freezer bag so that it is tender the next day for cooking.
The Next Day:
- Take the bag of ginger from the freezer, and allow the pieces to thaw slightly for about 5-10 minutes.
- Peel the ginger. Some of the skin will just slip off if they are very fresh pieces. Very fresh ginger will have a delicate pink blush in the flesh.
- Slice into pieces or knobs very carefully. You should now have about 450 g of ginger after all of the trimming.
- Cook the ginger in a large saucepan with the lid on for 2 1/2 hours, in 1.4 litres of water until the ginger is tender. I test mine with a skewer and cook the ginger until the skewer is easily inserted.
- Drain the ginger but reserve the water.
- I weigh the water and bring the volume up to 600 ml.
- Pour the water back into the saucepan and add the sugar.
- Bring the water and sugar to the boil.
- Add the ginger back into the syrup and bring back to the boil. Simmer gently for 5-15 minutes until the liquid has the consistency of a light syrup.
- Turn off the heat and your work is done. You now have a beautiful pot of stem ginger in syrup. It wasn't that hard was it?
- Retrieve your warm sterilised jars and lids from the dishwasher or the oven. Pack the ginger into the jars with small tongs. Top up with the syrup, ensuring the ginger is covered.
- Store in the refrigerator when the jars are cool.
I gifted a bottle of the stem ginger to my Mahjong friend Jill, who regularly gives us eggs from her free roaming chickens. What amazing and delicious eggs they are. She thanked me for the jar the following week and said that they are loving it finely chopped with some syrup on ice cream each night.
Other suggestions for using it would be to add it to roasted rhubarb.
Here's the recipe I used last night and it was delicious:
Roasted Rhubarb with Ginger:
Serves 2. Only 50 calories per serve, add an extra 90 if served with creme fraiche, and 30 with Greek yoghurt. Easy peasy. However, when served with ice cream it is delicious.
200g rhubarb, cut at an angle into 3cm pieces
1tbsp. coconut oil or melted butter
A knob of fresh Stem Ginger in Syrup, drained
Preheat the oven to 180 deg.C
Spread the rhubarb on a baking tray and pour the coconut oil over it. Slice the ginger into fine matchsticks and scatter it over the rhubarb. Bake the rhubarb for 20-30 minutes and serve it with 1 tblsp. creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt and the ginger syrup drizzled all over.
Fancy a cup of ginger tea, it's just what the doctor ordered if you feel a head cold coming on. Just slice a small piece of peeled fresh ginger and steep it in boiling water. Delicious and warming. Add honey if desired. Oh I forgot to add a slice of lemon. Next time.
Last week was very hot and humid and we are so pleased we completed the ginger harvest as this week is showery and nice and cool. I hope the week is treating you well. It's time for a cuppa.
If you would like to try some stem ginger but don't have access to any homegrown fresh ginger locally to make it yourself, most delis sell it now. I don't think it will taste as good as the homemade product though, and last time I looked it was quite expensive.
My recipe is based on one adapted From The Larder, who is a British blogger. I'd be interested to know where her ginger is grown.
Thanks for stopping by,