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Fat Guy

Utilization of ginger

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Due to its odd shape and tough skin, I find ginger difficult to use efficiently. I wind up wasting a large percentage of the ginger when I remove the skin. The alternative is to spend forever working on it. I also find it a pain to chop. How can I be more efficient?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Scrape with a spoon to peel it, then microplane.

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The prep part is easy if you neglect the usable product concerns. Just cut it into the largest rectangular block you can fit (and buy pieces that are conducive to this treatment), then cut in each dimension for slices, julienne, and, finally, mince or chop. There's a great illustration of this in Barbara Tropp's first book if you have it handy.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Barbara Tropp also mentions the scrape with spoon or with swivel vegetable peeler. She then admits that to the shock and horror of her Chinese staff she herself rarely peeled it. That course of action requires very firm hands of ginger.

Personally, I don't peel it if I am putting coins of it into a dish that will most likely not be eaten. When my ginger has lots of small off-shoots I take the paring knife and just scrape it back and forth through the connection area because that skin can be a bit tough and I just trim off the bits that don't look so nice. I have not found that the skin separates and become an unpleasant little wad like a tomato skin would.

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The prep part is easy if you neglect the usable product concerns. Just cut it into the largest rectangular block you can fit (and buy pieces that are conducive to this treatment), then cut in each dimension for slices, julienne, and, finally, mince or chop. There's a great illustration of this in Barbara Tropp's first book if you have it handy.

Chris is dead right on this. Exactly how I prep ginger (though I do use a microplane later sometimes) .

Ginger is cheap.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Doh! Microplane. Of course!

But scraping with a spoon? Does that really work?

I guess an advantage of being older than the moon is that I saw and remember an episode of "Wok With Yan" or "Yan Can Cook" when he shows the spoon-for-peeling method. Used that method always since then, and eternally grateful to him.

Ray

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I buy the big chunks, lose the little nobs, scrape with a teaspoon, then slice or microplane. Fresh ginger is absolutely one of the best deals at the market. I can fill my hat for two or three bucks. It's got such unmistakable juicy flavor and heat, plus all those other mysterious homeopathic benefits.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I remember watching an episode of one of Ming Tsai's cooking shows (think it was Ming's Quest) -- he was quickly peeling some ginger, and not being too concerned with cutting close or saving the little knobby bits , and made some offhand comment about how his parents would have scolded him for wasting so much. :laugh:

Yeah, ginger is cheap. And a lot of times I can't be bothered to try and salvage any but the biggest, easiest-to-peel knobby bits. But my own tightwad upbringing always makes me feel slightly guilty just throwing that stuff away. I wonder if there's some good use for it. Steeping as a tea, maybe? I too don't bother to peel it at all if I'm just cutting ginger coins that will be discarded once the dish is done, and at least that little bit of skin doesn't seem to have any untoward off-flavors.

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I've just gone and tried to peel ginger with a spoon. It's not even remotely feasible with the ginger and spoon I have here. The skin is too tough. Seriously, there are people posting here who can just grab a spoon and peel ginger with it? What am I doing wrong?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm sure that I'm probably committing some kind of ginger crime but for a convenient chopped/minced ginger, I have some in the freezer in a flat layer in a ziploc bag and I break off a chunk and use it. I used to buy more than I needed and then because it was relatively inexpensive, I didn't worry about wasting it. The problem was when I needed some and I would discover that I was out of it. This way, I always have some in the freezer even though I might not have any fresh stuff available.

I use it more for times when I am cooking as opposed to baking because the ginger texture does change when it's frozen.

I trim stuff that looks like it would get in the way and peel a chunk of it with a vegetable peeler, (the inexpensive plastic Kuhn Rikon) and cut it into some thinnish slices and put it in a food processor. Then when it's chopped pretty fine, I put it in a ziplock, remove as much air as possible and then flatten it into as thin a layer as I can. (I sometimes do this on a sheet pan and put the pan and bag into the freezer to solidify.)

jayne

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Once in awhile I get a piece of ginger that doesn't want to "Spoon". But I use ginger several times a week and a spoon is my method of choice. I run the edge towards me and it generally peels right off.

I just used a microplane for the first time this week - wow, what a difference. I bought it from Williams Sonoma several months ago and it got lost in the drawer. All those year I wasted grating or mincing!

I actually read on egullet somewhere about a suribachi. Supposedly you don't even need to peel the ginger. Since I use ginger alot, this gadget looks great. Still looking for one that has a style that I like.

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Break off the little nubs, then rinse it off, so you don't feel guilty about not peeling. Then freeze it whole. When you need ginger, go at it with the microplane. Then just stick it back in the freezer. So easy, so perfect.

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I've just gone and tried to peel ginger with a spoon. It's not even remotely feasible with the ginger and spoon I have here. The skin is too tough. Seriously, there are people posting here who can just grab a spoon and peel ginger with it? What am I doing wrong?

I can't remember when or how I heard about doing this, but I've done it almost as long as I've been cooking and have never had a problem. I use a teaspoon and usually grip the ginger with my left hand and peel with my right. You have to dig in a bit, but not too much and it comes right off.

I figured youtube would come through et voila:

. This is one of many videos on youtube and it's exactly how I do it.

nunc est bibendum...

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The older and tougher the ginger, the harder the whole operation. If the ginger is beautiful and fresh and "young" you can peel and throw away less fibre, and it is much easier to grate. I've never worried too much about a little waste, and just trimmed out a straight edge chunk and used the box grater, most often the second-to-smallest side. The juicy tender gratings are left on the inside, and the tougher fibrous stuff is left on the outside of the box, and I usually don't use it. If I just want flavor and no fibre at all, I find a lot of juice can be squeezed out by hand after grating. I've never tried the microplane, but that's a good suggestion.

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Seriously, there are people posting here who can just grab a spoon and peel ginger with it? What am I doing wrong?

Yes. Palm a fat ginger rhizome in one hand, move the spoon across the motionless slab with the other thumb and fingers. Unless it's old and dry, it works.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I just pulled a cruddy piece of ginger from my cabinet and went at it with a teaspoon. Works great. Try angling the edge of the spoon at a 45 degree angle, and scrape away.

Some pix. Looks professional. http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Peeling-Ginger/Detail.aspx

More pix. Like how I do it. http://www.brooklynfarmhouse.com/basic-tec...to-peel-ginger/

I usually cut away the little knobs until I have a straight-ish piece of ginger, and peel away with a Y-peeler. The spoon works, but it's too slow for me. I grate the ginger with a microplane. But I've met chefs who don't like the microplane. They wanted me to grate the ginger on a regular box grater or on a more gentle and aesthetic Japanese porcelain grater.

http://www.spicelines.com/2007/05/tools_of...how_to_grat.htm

It helps to think ahead. When buying ginger, I look for big straight-ish pieces, with as few little knobs as possible.

I don't always grate ginger if I'm in a hurry and I can get away with it, as in stirfries or some steamed dishes. I slice off a few coins of ginger, about 1/8" thick, don't peel them, just smash 'em with a knife until they're pulpy, and toss 'em in. I fish out the ginger slices from the dish before service.

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I just peel it with a paring knife and work around the nubs. Some people think the nubs are better than the main part, because they are younger, but I'm not sure that's so important. It is important that it be fresh. Very fresh ginger from an Asian market will have a thin, transparent skin that thickens and turns brown as it dries. If the ginger is starting to harden, it will be harder to peel.

If I want fine ginger, I'll smash it with a knife and chop with a chef's knife like garlic.

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I forgot to mention the cheapo plastic Japanese ginger grater from the Marukai 98 cent store- at least I think that is what it is. It has a slot with a blade that you can do thin slices of daikon and cucumber on and then it has these starburst holes that I grate the ginger on- unpeeled, just rinsed off. I get a sort of ginger mush from it on the underside and the really stringy bits and skin stay on the top side. The little side knobs work well on it if waste is a concern. Since it is plastic it is hard to mangle your fingers.

I am also a big fan of gingered vinegar. Take all the odd bits, add some sugar (I use a little currant or plum jam because it give a pretty pink color and a subtle taste), maybe a bit of salt, pour over some warmed vinegar of choice. Cool and refrigerate. Best if it sits for a few days. Makes a great base for dressings and dipping sauces.

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For what it's worth, earlier tonight I put some discs of peeled ginger through my Oxo garlic press. It took a little elbow grease, but what came out was a lot of ginger juice plus non-fibrous pulp. The rest of the crud stayed in the press.

Just tried the spoon again and failed. I guess my ginger is old and hard, but it seems like all the ginger I've ever bought has the same character. I don't know.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If needed I use coarse steel wool scourer just to remove the very top layer of the skin. I find this is quicker than peeling with a spoon.

Then i run it through a grater which separates the pulp from the fibrous stuff.

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Doh! Microplane. Of course!

But scraping with a spoon? Does that really work?

It really does work, but with the microplane, I don't bother. I just leave the skin on unless it's particularly thick and nasty.

It's also a lot easier to microplane frozen ginger, so I store mine in a bag in the freezer - that way it stays fresh and it's ready to go. If you really don't want to use the peel, you can peel a whole bunch at the same time and stuff it in a zippy and put it in the freezer.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I use my trusty OXO swivel peeler, then Microplane if I need to go beyond an extremely fine chop. Otherwise, as David Goldfarb mentioned earlier, I slice, smash and slide (which helps to deal with the fibers), then mince.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Similar to Fat Guy's earlier post.....

We use a (very) sharp paring knife, and flense the skin of with fairly quick scrapings. (Keep the skin for ginger tea).

Then we use one of Ikea's cheese graters (they're very good. A metal greater over a plastic tub) and shred the ginger into that. From there, either use the shreds, or, if you're doing Chinese dishes, put the remnants into a cheese cloth (or use your fist - after washing - it's good exercise).

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