A subtropical plant that is grown for its knobby root, which is used as a seasoning in foods. The root, which is actually a rhizome, has a tan skin and a flesh that may range in color from ivory to light green. It is food seasoning in most regions of the world, but it is especially popular in Asian and Indian dishes.
Ginger is available in a variety of forms which include: fresh, dried (ground), juiced, crystallized (candied), pickled, and preserved. Fresh ginger can be purchased as either young or mature. The young ginger, often referred to as spring ginger, is similar to a young cheese. The aroma and taste are mild, while the outer skin and inner flesh retain a soft tender texture. As the ginger matures the texture hardens, the aroma becomes pungent and the flavor becomes spicy. When sliced, chopped or crushed, fresh ginger is generally used to flavor meat, fish, poultry, and vegetable dishes.
When selecting ginger, avoid the roots that are shriveled and dry or soft and spongy feeling.Select those displaying smooth skins and emitting a slightly spicy aroma. When preparing, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler and grate or slice the root, depending on the needs of the food being prepared. Ginger can be frozen to assist with both longer storage of the root as well as easier peeling. If ginger is to be refrigerated for storage, it can be kept in a sealed bag or container for approximately 3 or 4 weeks. If frozen, it can be kept for approximately 4 to 6 months, depending on the condition and age when placed in the freezer.