Ginger is a cure-all in any form—I eat it straight with honey when I feel a cold coming on. It cures nausea and any tummy ailments and is a blood-purifier. Alongside garlic it makes greens more exciting and when add fresh to coconut milk it makes the perfect curry.
But wait until you get to taste freshly harvested, young ginger—it is mild enough to eat straight (even when you don’t feel a cold coming on), juicy, and tender. There’s no need to peel it and it is definitely best when allowed to shine. Make pickles with it or add it in to a stir-fry or soup or curry at the end (don’t cook it too hard!).
Fresh Ginger Syrup
I don’t automatically peel ginger; if you choose not to, it will give the syrup a slightly darker color, which I don’t mind. If you wish to peel it, you can. The leftover ginger can be added to a batch of marmalade, or patted dry and chopped further, then added to just-churned ice cream or gingersnap cookiedough. If you plan to reuse it, you should peel it before making the syrup with it.
This syrup is quite spicy and if you find it a bit too zippy and want to tone it down, the next time you make it (or the first time) you can blanch the chopped ginger first in boiling water, let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then drain it and proceed with the recipe.
- 8 ounces (225g) fresh ginger, unpeeled
- 4 cups (1l) water
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- pinch salt
1. Cut the ginger into thin slices. Run a knife over it to chop it into rough, smaller pieces. (As shown in the post.)
2. Place the ginger along with the water, sugar, and salt in a nonreactive saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer, and cook for 45 minutes to one hour.
3. Let cool, then strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer. Store the strained syrup in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use. The syrup should keep for at least two weeks under refrigeration.
To make ginger soda: Fill glasses 1/3rd full with syrup and add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Fill the glasses with ice then top with sparkling water or tonic water (or a not-too-sweet citrus soda). Stir gently to mix the ingredients and garnish with a round of citrus or fresh mint.
Other Uses: You could also make a terrific cocktail with this as a base, using bourbon, whiskey, or rum. Another possibility is to use a few spoonfuls of this syrup to sweeten iced tea or drizzle over a fruit salad.