Growing Ginger


Original Image by Andrés Monroy-Hernández via Flickr
Original Image by Andrés Monroy-Hernández via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

A few months ago, I was down south visiting my parents and mother made a point to head to the Asian market for some candied ginger.  If you’re familiar with my life mantra, of the less expensive, more fresh and homemade, the better, then you’re probably not surprised to hear that I approached the purchase of candied ginger as “how can we make this ourselves?”  Also, I love a challenge! While a few months have passed, mother’s liking of candied ginger hasn’t.  Therefore, this post is for my mother and all those adventurous souls willing to take a stab at making own ginger!

As part of the family of plants that create cardamom and turmeric, the part of ginger that is consumed is called the rhizome, the horizontal stem from which the roots grow.

There’s two major methods of growing ginger: 1) in the pot 2) in the ground!

1) In the pot: grab some ginger root from the grocery store and let it soak in water overnight.  Obtain a 14 inch x 12 inch deep pot and obtain potting soil and compost. Plant ginger root just below the surface of soil and place pot in an area of 75-85F.  Cooler temperatures may stunt growth! At the beginning, water lightly until shoots appear.

With patience and at least ten to twelve months, the plant will mature to two to feet high. With the new sprouts that appear, replant or use!

2)In the ground: grab some ginger root from the grocery store and let it soak in water overnight.  Plant ginger root in rich, moist soil with temperatures below 75F.  Keeping buds facing up, plant ginger in the ground. Cooler temperatures may stunt growth! At the beginning, water lightly until shoots appear.

With patience and at least ten to twelve months, the plant will mature to two to feet high. With the new sprouts that appear, replant or use!

After a year, I can’t wait to make candied ginger with my mother!

Candied Ginger: 

Original Image by TheDeliciousLife via Flickr
Original Image by TheDeliciousLife via Flickr

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hr Yield: 1 lb.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 pound fresh ginger root
  • 5 cups water
  • Approximately 3/4 pound granulated sugar
  1. 1. Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment
  2. Peel ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.
  3. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
  4. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces.
  5. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Adapted from Alton Brown via the Food Network

In my household, I know the ginger would be used for ginger cookies, ginger tea and most importantly to help treat treat nausea, inflammation, and certain cancer, breast cancer specifically! With its versatile use, ginger can be a great alternative to traditional “sweets.”  What’re your favorite uses of ginger? Have you had prior experience planting your own?

Sources: http://andiesway.blogspot.com/2014/10/growing-ginger-my-first-time.html

http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-ginger.html

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/candied-ginger-recipe.html

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/part-ginger-plant-eat-74002.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990.php

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