Monday, December 24, 2012

Prepping Ginger for Dehydrating

Prepping Ginger 

I purchased five pounds of fresh ginger from a wholesale supplier.  It’s really expensive out here in the wilds of Wyoming. If you’re thinking in terms of buying food in bulk, check out my post on Bulk and Wholesale Food Sources for ideas of where to go and how to do it.

Up until about a year ago, I had never used fresh ginger. It just isn't a regular item in a Southern diet! But when I bought my first tuber, I wasn't sure what to do with the thing. I'm sure many of you are old hands at tackling ginger, but again, I'm going to proceede as if, like me, the reader has never peeled one before.

One of the problems with peeling ginger is that it has such odd shapes.  Lots of curves and twists, plus a very thin skin.  Without care, it’s easy to waste quite a bit of it. 

Peeling with a Knife 

The problem with using a knife is that there is quite a bit of that wonderful flavored tuber goes to waste. 

Potato Peeler 

A potato peeler works well, but it can’t reach  those twisted little crannies.  You can cut each knob apart, but my goal was to keep the largest pieces possible intact. Plus, smaller pieces are harder to hold and use a potato peeler.

A Spoon
I once saw a chef on TV using a spoon to peel the ginger.  It worked really well with very little waste. It only skimmed the surface, saving most of that delicious tuber under the skin. Plus, it has the advantage of fitting into twisty little spaces. 

Remove Any Bad Spots 

In the end, I found that the slickest and fastest way to peel them was with both a spoon and a potato peeler. I used a knife to cut off wrinkled skin, bad spots, and eyes. 

Combo Works Best 

Then quickly peeled the rest of them.

No Waste 

Don’t toss those peelings!  Dehydrate them for powder.   

Linda’s Note: Don’t grind them to powder until you are ready to use them. In about a year, spices and herbs will tend to lose their flavor when they are ground. If you use powdered ginger often, then grind enough for a few months.   

Safety Tip - Flat Edge First 

Because ginger comes in such odd shapes, you will want to cut a flat edge for stability when slicing. It can reduce the risk of the thing wobbling and causing a nasty cut. I used a knife here, but you can also use a mandolin slicer for this purpose.

¼ Inch

After cutting a flat surface, slice your ginger lengthwise in about ¼ inch strips. 

Then dice them into small pieces.
  • These are ideal for making candied or crystallized ginger.  See my post on Crystallized Ginger  plus Candied Ginger – a Happy Accident for recipe and instructions.
Mandolin Slices 

Take the larger chunks of ginger and slice them on a mandolin, if you have one.  Simply dehydrate these at 115º until they are hard, crisp, and firm. 

Store these and grind only as needed for powder or rehydrate them for use in cooking.








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