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Ginger grater - is it really so great?


Smithy
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For years I've minced my ginger by hand or grated it on the fine holes of a cheese grater. The cheese grater has worked satisfactorily: juicy ginger bits go through the holes, fibers stay on my side. Recently, however, I purchased what's supposed to be a real ginger grater or shredder. It's ceramic with little molded spiky bumps that come up off the bottom. You run the ginger over it. The little molded spikes rip the ginger apart and sort out the threads. It's supposed to be The Real, the Classic, the One True Way to Deal With Ginger, by cooks who know their stuff.

I tried it tonight and was impressed with how speedily and easily I could shred the ginger. Then I discovered the problem (which, by the way, I had foreseen with this kind of shredder until I found one too pretty to resist). How do you get the juicy bits of ginger out from all the spikes without bringing the fibers along? This thing is sealed on the bottom, so nothing gets through; it all has to come off and out from around the spikes, and there's only one way out. My asparagus ended up with ginger juice and ginger strings all over.

What am I missing? Can someone 'splain to me how I'm supposed to be using this $5 wonder?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I got one once in some white elephant office Xmas thing. Used it once, and reverted to the microplane.

No, you don't need this to clutter up your drawers since you have a better way of doing it.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My GF says that if you put plastic wrap on your microplaner and then grate it works really well. Something she saw on tv. I'll try it in the morning when I can get some ginger and give a report.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I have tried various graters for ginger and always go back to my microplane....

EDIT I have seen little miniature rake like tools that are supposed to be used for getting all the trapped ginger.

Edited by torakris (log)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Another microplane lover here. Fast, efficient, and easy to clean as well. Never could undrestand the appeal of "real" ginger graters.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Another vote for the microplane, for ginger and for anything and everything else. Greatest invention since the wheel.

winesonoma: I don't understand what you mean about putting plastic wrap on the microplane. Can you explain a bit? Thanks.

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I guess we are all big fans of the microplane. It's just way to versatile not to use it. I've never seen a ginger grater, but if I can't find another use for it, I wouldn't buy it.... I've got enough tools as it is.

Follow me @chefcgarcia

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Another vote for the microplane, for ginger and for anything and everything else. Greatest invention since the wheel.

winesonoma: I don't understand what you mean about putting plastic wrap on the microplane. Can you explain a bit? Thanks.

She said that you just wrap the plastic over the cutting surface and then use like normal. It keep the ginger from going through but it still grates it. I'll try it later.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I have both, while I love the microplane I hate using it to grate ginger as getting rid of the fibers is such a pain. I know the problem that you mention with the ceramic ginger grater (japanese, has a specific name), but I don't worry about it too much. This grater purees the ginger, rather then shredding it, the fibres do trap some of the 'juicy bits', but if you change the orientation that you grate in, these mostly come out. Also, when enough fibres accumulate, they can be lifted off in a wad and squeezed to drain every last drop.

The best thing about this thing is that to clean, you just run it under a tap.

The two graters are different tools that produce different results.

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I use a ginger grater all the time. I simply use a stiff brush to get the ginger paste or pulp out of the "teeth". I also use a suribachi bowl if I want a really fine paste.

I don't have much fiber in my ginger paste, the pulp mostly separates from most of the stringy fibers which I then chop off to expose a new area of fresh ginger.

My explanation may be a bit foggy. Perhaps I should do a photo demo........

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Do you ever purchase supermarket ginger, Andie? I ask because I've had your wonderful fresh ginger (let's not even discuss how quickly I went through all of it!) and it grated much more easily than the stringier stuff I usually find when I go shopping. The use of a suribachi bowl is fascinating, and something I'll have to try. I use quite a bit of ginger in most of my cooking, so any new ways of making things simpler are appreciated.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Interesting that so many Microplane votes have come in. I may have to decide that I got $5 worth of decorative value out of this thing without gaining a useful too. Still, I hadn't thought of squeezing the threads to get more juice out, as Adam suggests.

Andie, I'd appreciate a photo demo. Based on Tejon's comments I wonder whether I'm just using much stringier stuff than you're using. My ginger strings came off on the little spikes instead of staying with the ginger.

WineSonoma, I see what you're saying about the plastic. It sounds to me like an easy way to add some Saran low-cal seasoning to the ginger paste! Do let us know how it works out.

Adam, I agree with you about the ease of cleaning this thing compared to a grater. That was part of its charm. You say "different tools that get different results". Do you think the final product is all that different?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Smithy, years ago I purchased a japanese ceramic grater that is like a dish that lays flat on the counter. The grating surfaced is raised in the center and there is a well around it to catch the pulp and juice, leaving the fibers mostly on the grater surface. I used it for years but found it to be labor intensive. I purchased my microplane (fine) about a year ago and never looked back where ginger is concerned.

I do still use the ceramic grater for daikon radish though for shabu-shabu. The microplane and food processor just don't give as nice a pulp for daikon radish in my experience. Perhaps you will find an alternate use for your ginger grater!

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Do you ever purchase supermarket ginger, Andie? I ask because I've had your wonderful fresh ginger (let's not even discuss how quickly I went through all of it!) and it grated much more easily than the stringier stuff I usually find when I go shopping. The use of a suribachi bowl is fascinating, and something I'll have to try. I use quite a bit of ginger in most of my cooking, so any new ways of making things simpler are appreciated.

I do sometimes purchase supermarket ginger because I don't have enough mature for harvest in my patch.

When I do purchase it, I try to get it at Vallarta or an Asian market as I find that it is better quality on average. Some markets, such as 99 Ranch, have young ginger with sprouts which are also really great to chop and use in stir-fry.

I probably allow the ginger I grow to stay in the ground longer than commercial growers. You have seen the size of the corms and the size of the slices when I candy it. I started growing my own because too much of the commercial stuff was old and not very big.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Whatever happened to good old knife skills - a sign of the good cook??

Slice ginger "see through" thin, stack slices, slice thin again, so you have tiny, thin slivers. If slivers are what you need, stop here. If you need "minced", then slice across again to get a pile of tiny bits. Total elapsed time=20 seconds, or about 5 minutes less than getting the grater out, setting up, grate, wash grater, put it away.

Or, to go straight to the minced stage, take a lump of ginger, use the flat side of a Chinese cleaver, smack it firmly to mash it and mince. 5 seconds flat.

Gadgets are preventing people from learning the basic skills. :blink:

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Total elapsed time=20 seconds

That's a good one. :raz:

I would love to have knife skills like that, and such skill truly is remarkable. But I don't have such skill. And, to be honest, I probably never will. That's why I love my microplane. It's also why I love my food processor. And my dishwasher. And my washing machine. ... :smile:

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I can mince ginger pretty quickly as well, but washing off the knife and board take longer than it takes to grab the microplane, grate the ginger, then rinse it with a couple of swipes from the dish brush. When I want slices, julienne, or larger bits I use a knife, but for a fine grate I reach for the microplane every time.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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For years I've minced my ginger by hand or grated it on the fine holes of a cheese grater.  The cheese grater has worked satisfactorily: juicy ginger bits go through the holes, fibers stay on my side. .

I've used a cheese grater for years, also. The one I use has a wooden handle and holes about 1/8 round. It is fantastic! As with you, I don't peel the ginger. When I finish with the grater, I simply run it under water, and give it a shake. All clean!!

In the past I have tried the ceramic ginger grater and also a wooden one. Fageddaboutit! My tried and true cheese grater is my choice. I do a lot of Chinese cooking and use the cheese grater for garlic as well. I don't peel the garlic. I simply pinch the very tip of the point of the garlic, with my fingernails and run the garlic up and down the grater, holding it with my fingers and when I get to the bottom, I flatten my fingers out. In a instant, the flesh goes through and the skin stays on the top side.

In my Chinese cooking classes, this tip is the one all the students love best.

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For years I've minced my ginger by hand or grated it on the fine holes of a cheese grater.  The cheese grater has worked satisfactorily: juicy ginger bits go through the holes, fibers stay on my side. .

I've used a cheese grater for years, also. The one I use has a wooden handle and holes about 1/8 round. It is fantastic! As with you, I don't peel the ginger. When I finish with the grater, I simply run it under water, and give it a shake. All clean!!

In the past I have tried the ceramic ginger grater and also a wooden one. Fageddaboutit! My tried and true cheese grater is my choice. I do a lot of Chinese cooking and use the cheese grater for garlic as well. I don't peel the garlic. I simply pinch the very tip of the point of the garlic, with my fingernails and run the garlic up and down the grater, holding it with my fingers and when I get to the bottom, I flatten my fingers out. In a instant, the flesh goes through and the skin stays on the top side.

In my Chinese cooking classes, this tip is the one all the students love best.

This sounds like an interesting technique :cool: . Could you possibly post photos so that I'm sure I understand what you are doing? I know that if I did it wrong and shredded my fingers, my medical partners would not be too happy! :laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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Total elapsed time=20 seconds

That's a good one. :raz:

I agree with cakewalk: twenty seconds?!

I mean, I can mince ginger with the best of them and it's my preferred method. But after I get out the cutting board, give the knife a quick swipe with a sharpening steel, etc., we're talking about the same time as finding the microplane, etc. etc.

We want to see the video, Ben! :wink:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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What a bunch of Doubting Thomas'!!!. O, ye of little faith!!

Chris and Cakewalk, I am a total klutz when it come to things digital, but I am willing to travel to show you personally. Here's the deal; if I am successful in proving that you are misguided in your assessment of my knife prowess, you pay. Plus a meal cooked by you to prove your culinary prowess, I will judge whether these abilities match your posting abilities. If I can't deliver what I claim, I pay my own way and chalk it up as an interesting vacation.

My 20 seconds is rather slow, and I didn't mention anything about knife sharpening and cutting board preparation. My board is always clean and on the counter and my knife is always sharp, when I am cooking. Cleaning and sharpening is always done after the meal is done, and is not considered to be part of the cooking process. What do you do, rewire the kitchen and scrub out the oven before you cook and count that as part of the meal preparation procedure??

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What a bunch of Doubting Thomas'!!!. O, ye of little faith!!

Here's the deal; if I am successful in proving that you are misguided in your assessment of my knife prowess, you pay. Plus a meal cooked by you to prove your culinary prowess, I will judge whether these abilities match your posting abilities. If  I can't deliver what I claim, I pay my own way and chalk it up as an interesting vacation.

:laugh:

You should know that my posting abilities are much, much better than my cooking abilities. :raz: Although my cooking abilities really have improved in the past couple of years, along with my knowledge of food, thanks to EG.

My abilities with a knife, however, are something else altogether. I prefer to keep my hands attached to my wrists, my fingers attached to my hands, thank you very much. So I use my microplane.

But okay, okay maybe you can do it in 20 seconds! :smile::wink:

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Doc -- ME? Post pictures?? HAH! I can bone and stuff a duck, but posting images on a forum is beyond me. That is why I don't have an avatar --- whatever an avatar is!!

When I hold the clove of garlic with my fingers, the pinched tip is against the grater and as my fingers approach the grater I flatten the fingers, holding the rest of the garlic with the flat side of my fingers. The flesh goes thru, the 'paper' stays.

About Ben and his 20 seconds --he is using his Chinese 'food processor' -- his cleaver. Fantastic knife!! Always does a great job with garlic or ginger. Smash! Spread! Chop! Mince! and then scrape it all up with the blade! I show my students the cleaver method -- a method everyone has seen on Yan Kan, but most people are timid about it, and so I show them the cheese grater way. As with Ben, my chopping board is always at hand as is my cleaver. BTW -- my cleaver is neatly stowed in the tiny slit of a space between my counter and stove. All my chopping/slicing knives are there, always at hand. I also keep my knives sharp and use one against the other, with a few swipes, to give a keen edge

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