Fresh, Locally Grown Baby Ginger

If you haven’t tried baby ginger you are in for a treat. The baby ginger harvest has just started here at OakWoods Farm. Fresh locally grown baby ginger is very different from the mature ginger that you purchase at the store. The beautiful pink and cream colored rhizomes are very tender and mild; there is no need to peel it, you can simply chop and use. In contrast, mature ginger has a tough skin, and fibrous center and is very strong but stores well.

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Baby ginger has a shorter storage time after harvest than mature ginger. It can be stored at room temperature for only about two to three weeks after harvest or refrigerated in an open plastic bag. The whole root freezes well for grating into teas, soups and stews throughout the winter. Baby ginger is great for making pickles, syrups and in stir-fries. It’s also wonderful preserved in fermented foods such as gingered carrots, Korean kimchee, sauerkraut and kombucha. And in addition to the flavor, it has many health benefits too.

Come and see us at Webb City Farmers Market every Saturday 9-noon year round or stop by the farm. Hope to see you soon!

Japanese Pickled Ginger (gari)
Makes about 1 cup
Adapted from Laura McCandlish for NPR

4 ounces fresh baby ginger
2 cups water
Several thin slices of raw beet or carrot (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus an extra sprinkle
1/2 cup rice vinegar (cider, white wine vinegar may be used)
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar (or more to taste)
Slice ginger paper-thin with a mandolin or vegetable peeler Place slices into a bowl, barely cover them with cold water and let stand 30 minutes.

In a saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil while you drain the ginger. Add the ginger and cook, stirring to soften, about 30 seconds. Drain the slices in a colander, tossing to make sure they don’t retain water. (This blanching step can be skipped if young ginger is especially fresh and not fibrous.)

Sprinkle the ginger (and the raw beet slices or carrots, if using) lightly with salt and put in a lidded sterilized jar. Add the vinegar to a nonreactive saucepan, and bring it to a boil, stirring in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Use a funnel to pour the hot liquid over the ginger, mixing well (it should completely cover the slices).

Tightly cover the jar, allow it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate. The pickled ginger, which is ready to eat after several hours, keeps well in the refrigerator for up to six months.

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