Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Cooking Ex Nihilo -- Using Ginger
I thought I would occasionally do a food-related post in keeping with my October theme of cooking ex nihilo (from nothing). If my recipes work here in Niger with a limited list of ingredients, they will work anywhere. If you are looking for gourmet, this will not be the blog for you.😋
Ginger is one of those things I use on occasion, but certainly not every day. I always struggled with ginger because I would end up with too much of it and then I didn't know how to keep it fresh and it would just get yucky. Then I discovered that you can freeze ginger.
Last week I asked my vegetable man for 100 cfa of ginger. This is the amount I got (some peeled, some not peeled, plus a pile of peelings). So 100 cfa is about .16 cents. Since ginger is so abundant here and so cheap, one should make good use of it, right?
I washed it off a bit since it was pulled from out of the ground and may have sand sticking to it. (Actually I might have forgotten to wash it this time, but I peeled it!) Then I peeled it with a potato peeler.
Next step, I grated it with a vegetable grater. I only nicked off the corner of one finger nail doing this! 😌
To freeze the ginger, I discovered it works best to spread it on a cookie sheet and then put that in the freezer.
If you cram all the ginger into a container, it will freeze stuck together into one big blob. Once that is frozen, which did't take long at all, I put it into old margarine tubs and popped it in the freezer. Now it's ready to use any time. I just pull it out and grab a pinch of ginger for whatever I want it in.
I use it in a lot of my stir fry dishes. John doesn't like spicy, so I don't add too much. I make a nice tea with regular tea and hibiscus flowers and it's really nice to throw a bunch of ginger in there. I'm sure there's a lot more it could be used for, but as I said, this amount of ginger last a really long time for me.
We have friends who make a non-alcoholic ginger beer that's really delicious and refreshing on hot days. He gave me the recipe, but I have yet to work up the courage to try it. It looks kind of complicated.
Ginger has lots of health benefits, too. It's good to combat nausea, it is apparently helpful against joint pain, and it boosts the immune system.
So, there you are with a tip for cutting back on waste. It may take you extra time to grate all the ginger at once, but you'll be glad when you want to make a stir fry and all you have to do is grab the ginger out of the freezer.