09 Feb Frozen Ginger and a Garlic Peeler
My recent CTV appearance proved my career as a mind reader would be short lived. I went on expecting some reader questions about roasted vegetables. Nope. Everyone seems to have them down pat. Instead, everyone was interested in frozen ginger and “that garlic thing.”
So, here goes:
I started freezing ginger when I got tired of buying fresh, plump, juicy roots and mere days later tossing wrinkled, dried up knobs of wood into the garbage. I’d read that you could freeze ginger without sacrificing flavour and experimented a bit — peeling or not peeling, chopping or not chopping. To my delight, I found the simplest approach is best. Pop good sized pieces of ginger into an easy-to-open freezer container (a ziplock bag, plastic tub or glass sealed container work well) and freeze them. When a recipe calls for fresh ginger, take out a piece of frozen ginger (no thawing!), grate the required amount into a bowl using a microplane, then return the ginger to the freezer.
The skin, pulp and woody fibres dissolve into ice shavings. Within a minute or two, these shavings defrost and can go directly into your recipe.
Frozen ginger should keep for a year, but I go through so much it never lasts that long. Providing you store it so it doesn’t absorb odors, it should taste like fresh ginger months down the road.
After the CTV show ended, a producer and one of the anchors asked me about the garlic roller. I misspoke in two ways on this. I referred to it as rubber, but it’s really silicone. And its technical name is garlic peeler. You can find these silicone tubes in various kitchen stores. William Sonoma sells theirs for $9 but I’ve seen them range in price from $5 to $12.
All you do is pop the garlic clove into the tube and roll it on a hard surface while pressing moderately with the palm of your hand. The silicone will remove the skin. It’s not a difficult technique to master, but if you press too hard you can crush the clove, which makes grating it on a microplane smelly and messy. And I do recommend the microplane method. Since Dana McCauley told me about this trick, I have retired my garlic press. Thanks, Dana!
Just to clarify. I do NOT freeze the garlic. Just the ginger.
And since garlic and ginger go together in so many recipes, here’s some hard-earned advice you won’t likely hear elsewhere. If you plan on grating garlic and ginger back-to-back, grate the ginger first and the garlic second. Why? Should you decide later to grate more ginger for something non-garlicy, like say….ginger tea… this minor point will become rather important. Trust me. I know.
I think that covers all your questions. If not, just post your question in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer it. In the meantime, do you have any garlic and ginger tips you care to pass along?
Photo of ginger © FotoosVanRobins. Published under a Creative Commons License.