Sunday, 22 May 2022

We Are Harvesting and Preserving our Fresh Ginger, now is the right time to do it

Growing edible root ginger in the Tropics and sub-Tropics in the home garden is very easy, low maintenance and sustainable, the climate and the tropical environment is perfect for this crop. As long as the soil is fairly well drained, the crop thrives on heat and humidity, and tells us it needs to be harvested when it's flowers start to emerge from the ground on stalks and the leaves start to brown off. Sorry no photo of this.  So for us, now is the time to harvest our crop. Fresh ginger is very expensive to buy, and can be used in so many dishes both savoury and sweet, in drinks, in smoothies, teas, really the list is endless. We love the flavour. It is also known for it's anti-inflammatory and anti-antioxidant properties, with gingerol thought to be its main bioactive compound. So lets get hot, spicy and sweet and start using ginger as often as we can.

Ginger is a root herb, and when it's dug up out of the ground the green foliage needs to be removed and placed in the compost bin, the soil needs to be washed off the roots, and the ginger cleaned very well ready for preserving how you wish, such as dehydrating, freezing or just cutting up fresh for use. 

Over a cup of coffee one morning, Mr. HRK came up with the innovative idea of using our gurney to wash the ginger. What a great idea I agreed. So he placed our compost sifting rack over the compost heap box, spread the ginger over the rack and began gurneying. Ah, men and their gurneys, and women love them too here in the tropics. They are an essential piece of equipment to keep in the shed for reducing mould on driveways, garages, and all sorts of other essential things. Just can't do without them.

Cleaning the ginger with the gurney

We were unprepared for what a great job the gurney did. Not only did the jet spray of water remove all the dirt, but also removed the outer shell leaving the fresh ginger ready for use. When we broke up some of the larger ginger clumps later, there was still a little dirt left in the crevices, but that was easily washed out in the laundry sink. I think we're onto something here he said. Yes, our annual ginger harvest has just become mechanised.

Mr. HRK sorting the ginger on the frame

We harvested 2.6 kilos of ginger this time, which is a good amount for us to handle. We froze 500g in vacuum sealed pouches, and dehydrated the rest. 2.1 kilos of ginger dehydrated and ground to a powder, transformed into 319 g of dried ginger. Now, with supermarkets here selling ginger at $50.00 a kilo, no-one is going to buy ginger from the supermarket to make their own dried ginger spice. However, fresh ginger is selling at our local markets for $20.00 a kilo which sounds much more realistic. Given that the ginger we are seeing but not buying in our supermarkets is probably grown around Brisbane, being a Queensland crop, I wonder how the markup in price can be justified, when it can be sold locally for $15-$20.00 a kilo.The reality is though that a very small quantity is generally needed for cooking, so  customers will buy a small knob of ginger and pay the price. I always leave a small amount of fresh ginger in the garden for our use, but the frozen ginger works in a lot of dishes.

After washing and cleaning the ginger, it needs to be sliced finely for the dehydrator.

Ready for slicing and dicing

Mr. HRK sliced the large knobs very carefully using the mandolin, better him than me for that job, and I sliced up the small bits with a knife.

I washed some of the slices a little more in the colander to remove the last specks of dirt, dried them off with a clean tea towel, and then they were ready for the dehydrator.

Two large bowls of sliced ginger ready to be dehydrated

Washing off the last specks of dirt

We arranged thin layers of sliced ginger on each tray of the dehydrator.

Dehydrated ginger

The spice grinder is perfect for finely grinding the ginger into a powder

Oh my, the heady aroma coming from the ginger being ground up is quite intoxicating. I feel healthier by the minute.

Some of the ginger was vacuum sealed and frozen.

And now we have our annual supply of dried and frozen ginger. The dried ginger we have  made ourselves is so much more potent, aromatic and full of flavour than the ginger spice produced commercially.

It's quite traditional to now place a few pieces of ginger on a sunny windowsill until it starts to sprout some green shoots, which generally starts around spring time or even Summer and those pieces are then planted in the ginger garden, and become the new ginger crop for next year. However around that time, I find that even sticking a few pieces of ginger in the ground in early Summer will shoot and become healthy plants, without needing to have them shooting first.

Now for some cooking and baking, Ginger nuts, Ginger cake, Stem Ginger in Syrup, Ginger Pork, what else? I'd love to hear what your favourite recipe using ginger is.

Turmeric is also growing in tropical gardens,  and  right now is also the time to harvest and dehydrate or preserve your turmeric. Here is the link to a previous post I wrote about harvesting your turmeric.

Warm wishes


  1. That's fantastic! Nothing beats homemade..clean, fresh and delicious! An excellent job!

    1. Thanks Angie, it's a good job to have done at home.

  2. This is so cool, Pauline! I envy that you have fresh ginger, and am impressed with your processes!

    1. Thanks David, we are just fortunate that we can grow it so well in the tropics.

  3. Wow, this is amazing! And I love the Aussie word (gurney) for what we call a pressure cleaner. Well, at least I gather that is what it is. I am going to share this post with a friend who wants to plant ginger this summer.

    1. Thanks Tandy, yes I think our gurney is your pressure cleaner, a very Aussie word eh? We're full of them ha, ha.

  4. Love ginger! I'd be in heaven with that harvest -- so much! Really fun post -- thanks.

    1. Thanks so much KR, it's certainly wonderful to have such aromatic and homemade ginger on hand. Makes such a difference with cooking.


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really enjoy hearing from you.
If you would like to receive follow up comments, simply click the "Notify me" link to the right of the "Publish" and "preview" buttons.
Comments containing personal or commercial links will not be published.
(c)2014-2022 Copyright on articles and photographs by Hope Pauline McNee