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Ginger

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A semitropical plant whose root is used as a pungent spice. Ginger has a slightly hot flavor and nippy aroma.

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Market forms:

Ginger is used both as a seasoning and as a confection.

  • Candied or Crystallized: A confection rather than a spice. Bits of gingerroot are cooked in a sugar syrup, then coated with sugar. Candied ginger often is found in chutneys and preserves.
  • Gingerroot: The fresh form of the root. Its flavor is hotter and more aromatic than ground ginger. Gingerroot is a staple for anyone who does a lot of Chinese cooking.
  • Ground: Gingerroot dried and ground to a powder; used mostly in baked goods.
  • Pickled: Gingerroot preserved in vinegar and often served as an accompaniment to sushi, a Japanese delicacy.
  • Preserved: A confection, not a spice. Gingerroot is packed in a heavy sugar syrup. Preserved ginger is used in the same way as candied ginger.

Selecting:

When choosing fresh gingerroot, select a piece that¿s firm and heavy; avoid shriveled stems. Purchase ground ginger as you do other spices.

Storing:

For short-term storage of fresh gingerroot, wrap the root in a paper towel and refrigerate. For long-term storage, immerse peeled slices of gingerroot in dry sherry or wine and refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 months. (The ginger-flavored sherry can be used in cooking.) Or, place the root in a moisture-and vaporproof bag and freeze. Then, grate or cut off what you need from the unpeeled frozen root.

Store ground and candied ginger as you do other spices--in a cool, dry, dark place.

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