Herb of the Month Recipes: Ginger Root

{update 10/2/13:  I have no idea why the post I had scheduled didn’t go out, something went terribly wrong with Windows Live Writer and it didn’t send them out.  SO SORRY!!  I’m combining the October Herb of the Month recipes into this post so you get them all.  I WON’T be using the scheduler until I figure out what happened, whether it was my fault or a software glitch.}

{Update to the update:  I’m hearing on Twitter that something is going wrong with wordpress scheduler.  So perhaps it’s not something I did wrong, after all.  Thanks @ecokarenlee for letting me know I’m not the only one having problems with this.}

Herb of the Month: Ginger Root

 

Ginger Root is absolutely one of my favorite things in the kitchen.  For years now I’ve really only had one way that I used it…..Ginger Tea in the winter and especially when we are sick.  This year I’ve been working hard on changing that and adding it to our diet in other ways since it really is so healthy.

The discovery of fermented foods and beverages has really changed our lives.  I never knew I could make wonderful, and healthy, “carbonated” beverages at home.  This leads me to the first ginger recipe I want to share with you all, as well as how to use it.

Ginger Bug

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. fresh ginger root, grated
2 Tbs. sugar (any whole-foods sugar, I like sucanat)
1/2 c. filtered water
quart or 1/2 gallon-size jar (or other similar vessel)

Directions:

Bring the water to room temperature so the sugar will dissolve easily.  Mix all ingredients well, cover with a cloth napkin or paper towel and secure with a rubber band.

Approximately ever 24 hours (or just every day as you get the chance) for about a week you will need to add these ingredient again, in the amounts listed here, to the jar.  Do not discard anything, just add to it.  Give it a good stir whenever you think about it to keep it aerated.

By the end of the week, or sooner, you should notice it getting bubbly.  If not, don’t worry too much about it, your batch just may take a little longer.  The only reason to discard it and start over is if it grows anything fuzzy.  BUT that said, I ended up neglecting mine for over a week because we just got busy.  Next thing I knew it had grown a “mother” or “scoby” just as if I was brewing kombucha.  So a film developing isn’t necessarily something to be concerned with.

I’ve searched Google for info on a “scoby” growing in a ginger bug and have seen no one else talking about it.  My ginger bug has remained super healthy and OH SO delicious!  Since it’s a ferment very similar to kombucha I haven’t seen it as anything to worry about.

To Use:

One super easy way to use this is to just add some to a glass of water as you would lemon juice.  I do this quite often actually.  I get tired of plain old water.  There’s no fizz to this, but it’s delightfully gingery.  :)

To make it into Ginger Ale, I use it in my 2nd water kefir ferment.  Make water kefir as you normally would (if you do that is) and after the initial ferment you can mix it with some of the strained ginger bug and some additional sugar.  The amounts you would use would be to your own taste preference….do you like strong ginger flavor, or mild?  Close the mixture up tight, tasting every day until the good bugs eat up enough sugar to make it as sweet as you like it and the fizziness is just how you like it.  Can take up to a week, but remember the longer it ferments the less sweet it will be.

You can also do the very same thing with kombucha.  Either way you end up with a yummy lacto-fermented ginger ale that you made yourself!  It’s really that simple.  Just a bit of babysitting for a few days.

Fermented Ginger

Ingredients:

Ginger root, peeled & sliced
1 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tbs. Sea Salt
Lemon juice (to cover everything), fresh

Directions:

I soaked my ginger root in cold water for about 15 minutes then washed it off.  Using a spoon gently scrap the skin off.

This is really easy, so be careful not to dig in too deeply with the spoon.

The amount of ginger you use depends on the size jar you will be fermenting it in.  I used a small Pickl-It, which is nothing more than a very small Fido jar.  If you use a bigger jar then you’ll need to increase the turmeric and sea salt amounts.  My recipe used a ginger root that was about the size of my open hand.

Again, if you’ve read many of my recipes, I don’t measure precisely most of the time.  I’m a just-throw-stuff-together kind of cook.  Unless it’s baking or something that requires exact science, of course.

Next you’ll need to give the ginger a good rinsing again.  Then slice it into thin pieces and place in your jar.

I freshly squeezed about 5 lemons to get enough to the ginger root well.  In a bowl, combine the lemon juice, turmeric and sea salt until all is dissolved well.  Pour over the ginger in your jar and close it up either with an air-lock or your jar lid.

I allowed mine to ferment at room temperature for about 2 weeks.  It never really showed any signs of bubbling as a lot of ferments do, but I figured that was long enough.

To Use:

To get the benefits of the lacto-fermentation you won’t want to cook this into any dish.  You can have a slice or two with any meal ~ kind of like parsley is added to some restaurant dishes.  Or cut it up into very small bits (chop/dice) and mix it into your food on your plate into whatever foods you might normally use ginger in. 

I also fermented ginger with carrots a couple of months back if you remember this post.

Ginger Tea

Ingredients:

Handful of sliced ginger root (no need to peel)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Nip of cayenne (yes, “nip” is an official amount)
Lemon juice
Honey to sweeten in your cup

Again, I don’t measure, I’ve just figured out over the years how strong I like this tea.  I actually have a “nip” size measuring spoon and never go above that amount for the cayenne.

Combine all ingredients, plus a splash of lemon juice (or 1/2 a lemon in it’s entirety) into a pot and fill with water.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to about medium heat, but to where it’s still boiling more than a simmer.  Boil like this for a minimum of 1/2 hour.  The longer it boils the stronger it gets. 

When I can get my hands on some lemongrass I will add a few pieces of that to the pot as well.

All through winter I keep a pot of this tea on the stove.  As I strain out a cup I add more water.  When it starts tasting weak I simply add more ingredients.  It’s kind of a perpetual tea I guess you could say.  It’s wonderful when you get sick in the winter or have a headache.

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These are the recipes you were supposed to get over the course of the past week or so.  They got lost in WLW/WP limbo somehow.

Do YOU have a favorite way to use ginger that you care to share?  I would love to try a new recipe!

Don’t forget to sign up for my Occasional Newsletter!  You’ll get email only goodies from time to time as well as receive info and recipes before they are posted on the blog.  Occasionally there might even be newsletter only giveaways/news.  So don’t miss out!!  Sign up today!

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7 responses to “Herb of the Month Recipes: Ginger Root

  1. “..and never go above that amount for the cayenne”
    As a born again Chili Head, I have say this…you sissy! And while on the subject of cayenne in drinks, try adding some in hot chocolate…only a nip if you must, but I like more :)

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of making my own ginger “ale”, I’ve got to try this soon. Thanks for the motivation…and keep on doing what you do!

    db

    • HAHA!! Yea I’m a sissy about it. But in my defense it DOES already have some heat from the ginger. LOL! And yes, we had lots of hot chocolate last year with cayenne ~ OMG LOVED IT!!!!!!

  2. I’ve been wanting to do a ginger bug, but I’m nervous about it. I always flavor my kombucha with ginger juice and it’s amazing!

  3. Hi, Heather, new to your blog. I’m on Repairvite diet, a more restricted paleo to heal leaky guts of which I’ve had one for more than 20 years. Fermented foods are a big part of this diet, so I’m learning about fermenting. Just made your ginger tea and while it was still brewing, strained out a cup and added my Yogi kambucha tea bag, then steeped it for 6 min. It is so much better than my previous method of just mottling some ginger in the cup with the kambucha. Thanks so much for this recipe.
    Do I understand correctly that you let the tea just sit out, even overnight? I assume you would turn the burner off overnight, but I would tend to refrigerate the leftover tea.

    • Well hey there, Judy! Thanks for checking out my blog, I’m so glad to have you around. :) I haven’t yet heard of that diet. I’ll certainly read up on it now that I do. Yes, I usually just leave the tea out and turn the burner off at night. Since it simmers most of the day and there’s no dairy or any sort of meat or oilyness to it, I don’t worry too much about it going rancid. The water gets refreshed often during the day as I’m drinking. And most of the plant material in it gets replaced the 2nd day (sometimes once during the first day depending on how much I drink throughout the day).

      Thanks for the recipe for your pickled ginger! I’m gonna jot it down and give it a try this coming week. Can’t wait, I love trying new foods especially the fermented ones. ;)

  4. So far, my favorite way to use ginger is to pickle it with my recipe: 3/4 cup peeled, shaved ginger. Add 1 Tbsp. good sea salt. Mix well, let sit for 1/2 hour. Rinse and drain, then add softened ginger to small (8 oz. or less) jar
    with 1-1/2 tsp. natural cane sugar and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Fill jar with organic well-shaken, unrefined, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 3 weeks.
    Ginger-garlic dressing: Finely chop 1 Tbsp. or more of pickled ginger, 1 nice sized clove of fermented garlic, 2 tsp. organic maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper. (Adjust flavorings to your liking.) Add 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar and whisk, stir or shake to combine. Whisk in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed. I usually chop more of the ginger and garlic to add to the salad before it toss with this dressing. If I ever stop feeling overwhelmed with all my dietary changes I may get back to blogging and post this recipe myself. It’s so delicious — can’t seem to get enough ginger!

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