Ginger root is one of the most common spices in Asian cooking and has also been included in some American cuisine. Ginger root is an ingredient in some cakes, breads, cookies and some sweets. Tea made from ginger root is very effective and safe in relieving dizziness from motion sickness, pregnancy, nausea and dizziness due to chemotherapy. It can also be taken to quell stomach upset as ginger root tea has properties to expel gas. Mature ginger roots keep for a long time but will shrivel and become more fibrous when not preserved. There are many ways to preserve ginger root and below are some of those ways to preserve and enjoy ginger root.
- If you are going to use the ginger roots within a few weeks, you can brush them clean and wrap them individually in paper towels, place them in a sealed plastic bag and put it inside the refrigerator. If you are planning to use some ginger roots in a few months times and have found some good ones, wrap them tightly in paper and place them in a zip lock bag, removing most of the air to create a vacuum and placing the bag inside the freezer. The ginger roots will remain fresh for at least three months.
- You can peel mature fresh ginger and place them in a resealable container with a tight lid. Cover the peeled ginger with vodka, seal the container and store them in the refrigerator. The alcohol from the vodka will dissipate when you cook the ginger so the taste of the ginger will not be altered. You will however end up with some ginger-flavored vodka which is not a bad thing as you can still use the vodka in some of your sauces. Peeled ginger roots can also be placed in a bottle filled with Madeira or sherry. Be sure that the bottles have lids or caps that you can tighten.
- If you like to have pickles, particularly if you are fond of Japanese sushi you can make ginger root pickles called gari. For this you need large and young ginger roots so you not have tough fibers. Wash about two pounds of young ginger roots and rub off the skin. Slice the ginger roots almost paper thin crosswise. Place them in a bowl and add two teaspoons of salt. Mix lightly so the salt can coat all the slices. Leave the slices in the bowl for one hour. Squeeze the slices to remove the juice that was extracted and dry the ginger root slices afterwards with paper towels. Transfer them to a sterilized jar or container with a lid. In a small saucepan, mix together two cups of white sugar and three cups of rice vinegar. Simmer the mixture over low heat, making sure that the sugar is dissolved. Pour the vinegar and sugar mixture over the ginger slices. Allow the solution to completely cool before you cover the container and placing it in the refrigerator. As your ginger root pickle ages, the slices will turn pale pink naturally if you have used young ginger roots.
Make sure that you will be using mature ginger roots with firm and smooth skin that is even in color and those that feel heavy. Do not buy those with pinkish and yellow skin at the ends of the rhizomes because this indicates that the ginger roots have been harvested before they have reached full maturity when you want to use these preserved ginger roots for cooking.