Ginger adds its distinctive and warming flavour to both savoury and sweet dishes. In its fresh root form, it is either minced, crushed or sliced into dishes. Ground ginger has a slightly different flavour and is usually added towards the end of cooking to add a different layer to the fresh ginger or it is used in making biscuits, desserts and chutneys. Store fresh ginger in a cool airy spot with your onions and garlic or refrigerate or freeze in a plastic bag.
The juice from ginger roots is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and is also important in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and South Asian cuisines. Ginger is used in Middle Eastern dishes and in the West primarily for flavouring sweet foods and drinks such as ginger ale. Candied ginger, or crystallized ginger, is the root cooked in sugar until soft. It is eaten as confectionery.
Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. This is easiest done with a teaspoon. In this video Ray McVinnie shows you how.
Ginger is said to soothe the stomach - try a couple of slices in a cup of hot water.
Peter Gordon advises adding peeled and grated ginger into soups and stews, mixing it into yoghurt to stir through a spicy curry and mixing it into rhubarb and pears before stewing.
He recommends adding ginger and other spices as a base note at the start of a dish, and then building on the flavours as the dish nears completion to add some wonderful character. For example, next time you make a coconut curry, add two teaspoons of grated ginger at the start of cooking the dish. Add one teaspoon halfway through, and then a final teaspoon right at the end before you serve it. "These 4 teaspoons will give you so much more flavour than if you’d added it all at the start. It’s as though the initial quantity has sown the seeds for the remainder," he says.