Monday Mission: Use Ginger in a Recipe {The Ginger Challenge Series}

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Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to do something with that ginger you bought last week. Smile

How to Use Fresh Ginger 475

I’m geeked that so many of you are excited about The Ginger Challenge series, because honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would go over. But I’m glad to know that plenty of people are in the same boat as me – you just need a little direction and a gentle nudge to learn to use a new ingredient, and then it can become one of your standards.

This week’s posts are going to share LOTS of ideas to use ginger in recipes, including a roundup of ginger recipes from around the real foodie blogosphere and a slow cooker ginger beef that my family absolutely loved, courtesy of Stephanie at Mama and Baby Love and her Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes eCookbook.

The goal of today’s Monday Mission is to give you some strategies to use ginger without needing a recipe, since I firmly believe that is a vital step to confidence and consistency in using an ingredient.

Why is the Monday Mission on Tuesday?

Two reasons – first, I’m not very good at "eating my frog" and working ahead, so my posts are written at the last minute. (But it’s my goal to get a week ahead so I have time for editing – I can’t wait until I reach that point!!)

Second, my parents were able to come into town yesterday for the afternoon/evening/today, in between consultations and evaluations for my dad’s bladder cancer. It’s the kind of thing where even I’m smart enough to realize you just say, "Yes, please, come on over!" and drop your millions of plans, cancel your staff meetings, send out a quick newsletter asking for help on our 2014 reader survey instead of the content-rich one I had planned, and clean the bathrooms. Smile Nothing is more important than family. I knew you guys would understand…

(Speaking of, will you help with the reader survey too? I need advice!)

Back to the topic at hand…

Using Fresh Ginger

Most recipes that call for fresh ginger list it as a certain number of inches of ginger root. Personally, I find this annoying because you never know how thick or knobby someone’s ginger is going to be, but we’ll just have to deal with that little eccentricity of ginger now, won’t we?

To get your ginger from the root (or "knob" as some call it):

The Ginger Challenge

…to be ready to put in recipes, most people either slice, grate, or puree it. Remember that when we learned how to store fresh ginger, we found you can freeze it whole, peeled or unpeeled, or sliced, grated or pureed, plus preserve it in alcohol in the fridge too! How you store it may depend on how you end up enjoying using it the best.

Stir Fry

A really common and really simple way to just use ginger without even having to look up a recipe is simply to include it in your next stir fry. Slice some meat, chop some veggies, and use fresh ginger as you might fresh garlic – added quickly near the end of the cooking time, or at least near the end of the long cooking time.

For example, if I’m making a stir fry, I’ll cook the meat first and remove it because I really don’t want it overdone and tough. Then the onions, peppers and mushrooms need a good saute, at least 5 minutes or 10-15 if I can spare it. The broccoli, pea pods, and greens only require a brief steam/saute, so I’ll add them, cook with the lid on for a few minutes, then get the meat back in to warm up before serving.

Any sauce is added with or just before the green veggies, and coconut milk or coconut cream with some chicken stock makes a delectable sauce with ginger (or any seasoning!).

Where does fresh garlic or ginger go in all this? I would add it just before the quick-cooking veggies. Give it a good stir and about a minute with all the soft onions and such, and then mix in the rest of the ingredients.

How much to add? Start by using a microplane grater (found on Amazon) to grate about a tablespoon and see how you like it. If you’re freezing your ginger, you could freeze pre-grated ginger in one-tablespoon plops or ice cube trays and just grab one or two for each stir fry, easy peasy! Some folks also very thinly slice the ginger for a stir fry, or even make extremely thin slices by using a regular vegetable peeler. Those would need a few more minutes to cook, I’d imagine.

fish and baked meats

Another simple simple main dish that you shouldn’t need a recipe for is baked fish or chicken. Just choose your favorite herbs and spices, maybe some EVOO, some lemon juice or culinary vinegar, and bake until done. (Here’s more on how to cook fish at home, including 5 ways to prepare it easily.)

Use finely grated ginger on top of a piece of chicken or fish along with complementary seasonings like garlic, cumin, turmeric, or curry. (More precise recipes to come later in the week!)


Sadly only two of us in the Kimball household enjoy ginger in smoothies, but if you dig it, smoothies are a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of raw ginger without altering your meal plan (provided you make occasional smoothies). Warning: there’s no hiding ginger in a smoothie, in case you were wondering.

If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you can just toss and inch or two of peeled ginger into your smoothie and it will be taken care of.

How to store and freeze ginger

About this much…

If you have a run-of-the-mill blender, you might want to either freeze it pureed or grated, or test your blender with some thin slices and see how it does in obliterating the chunks.

baked goods?

Here’s one I’m just not sure about – prior to challenging myself to use fresh ginger, I used plenty of dried ginger, but most often in things like these pumpkin pancakes and other sweet "pumpkin pie spice" type of applications.

Can one use fresh ginger in baked goods, or would it just be too overpowering? I’m guessing a totally ginger-based recipe would be great, but I wonder about mixing it with other spices too. Anyone know?

How are you going to use ginger this week?

Check out the rest of the series here

Did you see that Better Than a Box is featured in this week’s Bundle of the Week? Over 200 real food recipes and more for $7.40, ends Sunday February 16th. Here’s why it’s a great deal.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links to Amazon, Tropical Traditions, Mama and Baby Love, BOTW, and Vitacost in this post from which I will earn some commission – it doesn’t change your price to click on them, but it does help keep the free content flowing here at KS. Thanks!

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18 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    I love to make ginger orange tea! Here’s how:

    (I typically made big batches at a time)

    Roughly chop a 1-2 inch piece of ginger and place it in 10-12 cups of cold water. Add the juice of 4 lemons and allow it to come to a boil. When at a boil bring down to a simmer and let it go for around 20 mins (really brings out the ginger flavor).

    After 20 mins add the juice from around 10 oranges and around a 1/4 cup of raw honey (or to taste). Let that come back up to a simmer then remove from heat and enjoy! You can totally make this tea your own by adding in more or less citrus, honey, or ginger. Play around with the recipe and have fun!

    [Reply to this comment]

    casey Reply:

    That sounds really good! how do you store the extras – can it be frozen or do you just do a few days worht and keep it in the fridge?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Andy Groggel Reply:

    I’ve never frozen it but i’m sure it would hold up just fine frozen. I usually just keep it in the fridge and it lasts me a few days. Great for colds, too! Speaking of which…I better make a batch ;)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Cool, Andy – sharing a very basic ginger tea next week in fact! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. says

    Do you eat curry? We love curry and I go through ginger so fast that I dont have to worry about how to store it/ keep it fresh. I instead have to monitor how much we have because we cannot be without it!
    I just made a red lentil and vegetable curry. It was so frugal,nutritious and delicious!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jodi Marvel Reply:

    Any chance you can point to a few good curry recipes? I like curry, but I don’t have any really good recipes.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. mamalaoshi says

    I usually use powdered ginger in baking but I have used fresh ginger in cookies and cakes- I think it’s yummy. If I don’t want little chunks, I’ve chopped it up and put it in my garlic press to press out the juice to use.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. AshleyB says

    I have a juicer, and add a bit of ginger to every batch! It is a bit of an acquired taste (much like in your smoothies, I’m sure) but I’ve gotten to a point that I enjoy much more than I could tolerate in the beginning. I’m told that ginger is a great ‘warming’ food, which makes it perfect to add to something cold to make it easier to digest!

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. says

    Thank you for this information. I love these kinds of posts – the noes that include information that I can use right away.

    I’ve used ginger before when called for in certain recipes but have always struggled with what to do with the rest of it. I’d try not to purchase too big of a piece so that I wouldn’t have a lot left over.

    Thanks to this post, I now have some additional uses.

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. says

    Sorry, I don’t have tons of time to read the comments and see if anyone mentioned this, but ginger is so much easier to work with when it is frozen. I peel mine and then freeze it. I take it out and cut off and use the sections that I need. Not only do I not waste my ginger any more, but I’m more prone to use it because of the simplicity of it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Suzanne says

    I LOVE fresh ginger in a variety of cooking and baking uses! Haven’t tried it in my smoothie yet, but I’m up for the challenge! I can tell you that Trader Joe’s has a wonderful Triple Ginger Snap cookie with fresh ginger, crystalized ginger, and ground ginger. Total yum, though I don’t eat them anymore as I’m working on cutting out wheat and sugar! So it would be a great challenge to make a version I would gladly eat. At the moment I’m satisfied with gluten-free ginger snap Love Cookies from Mary’s Gone Crackers. I’m sure homemade would be better!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. Fran says

    When I make ginger tea, I just grate a small pile of ginger and squeeze the juice out with my hand…like squeezing out a sponge…into the tea. Add honey or maple syrup. Easy peasy. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

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