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Food glossary

Ginger

Ginger

Crystallized stem

Pieces of candied ginger are rolled in fine cane sugar to make this delicious sweet.

Uses: Eat as a sweet or dip in dark chocolate and serve with coffee for an after dinner treat. Chop and sprinkle over ice cream or fruit to add a sweet tangy ginger flavour.

Fresh

Ginger is a tropical plant grown in India, China, Jamaica and more recently in Australia too. Fresh ginger is actually the root of the plant and is often known as root ginger. It has a refreshing aroma with a hint of citrus and has a knobbly appearance, a thick skin and a light yellow flesh. When buying ginger look for pieces with a smooth skin and a firm texture, with no signs of shrivelling. Ginger is included in a wide variety of Indian and Oriental savoury dishes.

Uses: Chopped or grated fresh ginger is included in a variety of fish, seafood, meat, poultry and vegetable dishes. It is a popular addition to stir-fries and noodle dishes.

To store: Keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, wrapped in clingfilm or in a paper bag. Unpeeled ginger can also be wrapped in foil and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare: Peel or scrape off the skin from fresh ginger. Then either grate or finely chop the flesh.

Fresh ginger in sunflower oil

This convenient form of fresh ginger (sold in a jar with the herbs and spices) can simply be added to dishes when the flavour of fresh root ginger is required.

Uses: Add to stir fries, soups, curries and savoury dishes or wherever a recipe lists fresh ginger.

To use: Add 2 tsp of fresh ginger in sunflower oil to a recipe for 4.

To store: Keep in a cool, dark place and once opened store in the fridge and use within 6 weeks.

Ginger syrup

A delicious golden-coloured syrup flavoured with natural ginger, this is a really convenient form of ginger for both sweet and savoury dishes. It is sold in bottles.

Uses: Pour over ice creams, pancakes or waffles. Drizzle over fresh fruits - especially melon or strawberries. The syrup can also be used in savoury dishes - add a little to stir-fries or Oriental-style soups.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years.

Ground

Fresh ginger is dried and ground to a powder to make ground ginger. It has quite a different flavour from fresh ginger and the two are not interchangeable. Ground ginger has a sweet, warm aroma and a spicy flavour.

Uses: Ground ginger is used extensively in baking, and is included in many biscuit, cake and pudding recipes. It is also used in pickles and chutneys and may be included in curry paste or powders. It complements the flavour of many fruits, particularly melon, rhubarb and apple.

To store: Keep in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Stem

Also known as preserved ginger, stem ginger is young ginger that has been peeled and preserved in sugar syrup. The syrup is usually quite sweet and provides a good contrast to the spicy, golden nuggets of ginger.

Uses: Chopped stem ginger can be added to cakes, biscuits, ice cream and a variety of puddings. Drizzle the syrup over fresh fruit, ice cream or chocolate puddings for a deliciously sweet ginger flavour.