Young Ginger

Other names: Khing Ohn

Handling Tips: Keep cool, 50°F, and dry. Do not mist.

General Information: This is ginger root that has not matured yet -- it has yellow skin that is not at all wrinkly or hard. The flavor of young ginger is at once similar to and different from old ginger. The flavor is not as strong or hot as old ginger. It has all the pure flavor and brightness of ginger, without the strong bitter and astringent taste in older ginger. You can use a greater amount of young ginger in a recipe than mature ginger without becoming overpowering.

Applications: Ginger helps digestion, relieves stomach aches. It is used in small doses for preventing morning sickness and motion sickness. It is also said to have a calming effect. In Eastern medicine, slices of fresh ginger are simmered with dry-roasted coriander seeds and served as a hot tea to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold. In Western herbal medicine a cold and flu cure is based on a teaspoon each of ground dried ginger and honey, juice and grated zest of a lemon, a bruised clove of garlic and a pinch of cayenne all combined in a mug and boiling water poured over. Drink it last thing at night then rug up and go to bed. The ginger promotes perspiration.

Ginger is used in Chinese cooking to neutralise excessively strong fishy flavours and to add its own aroma to more delicate seafoods. In Burma, fine shreds of ginger are soaked in lime juice (which turns them pink) and served as a digestive, or just as a tasty ending to a meal. For this, the ginger should be so young that the tips are still pink-tinged, the texture soft and non-fibrous, the skin thin enough to be rubbed off between finger and thumb. The flavour of young ginger is comparatively gentle.

History: Ginger is native to India and China. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means “with a body like a horn”, as in antlers. Ginger has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. It is also named in the Koran, the sacred book of the Moslems, indicating it was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. It was one of the earliest spice known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century. It became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague. In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers put out small containers of ground ginger, for people to sprinkle into their beer — the origin of ginger ale. In order to ’gee up’ a lazy horse, it is the time honoured practice of Sussex farmers to apply a pinch of ginger to the animal’s backside.

Recipes: 1

Fish with young ginger and scallion en papillote