This year, the Yale Farm grew a bountiful ginger crop (variety: Kali-Ma) in soil-filled buckets in Greeley Greenhouse. Growing ginger is pretty simple—you bury a nugget of cured ginger (the kind you can buy in the grocery store) in a bucket or a sack of nice soil and the roots and stalks develop from there. Kind of like planting garlic. When it’s ready to harvest, you dig up a giant mass of rhizomes (the part you eat) with associated thin, stringy roots. Snap off the roots and the stem, and you have uncured ginger. The kind you get in the grocery store has been cured, which is why it has a dry brown layer on the outside. To use this (vibrant, pink and yellow) ginger, we just ran it under warm water and rubbed a little to get any extra skin off.
The ginger was without a home, so we were tasked to find creative ways to use it. This is what we came up with.
Ginger, uncured, courtesy of the Yale Farm
All of our recipes are heavily adapted from: the Kitchn; Classic Artisan Baking by Julian Day; The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich; Nigella Lawson; and “the Ginger People” (perhaps the best name for a company we’ve ever heard, or for the nation of Scotland).
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups sugar, plus extra for coating
1 cup peeled and sliced ginger, howeverwhichway you want it
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil.
Add ginger, reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer ginger to a wire rack and set over a pan or dish so your counter doesn’t get sticky.
Let stand until dry, then roll slices in additional sugar. We had trouble with this - ultimately, our crystallized ginger was the least successful of the day’s endeavors. Getting the ginger to dry was a test of patience, and the following day, when it was still a little damp, we took to it with a hair dryer. Next time, we’d go for some slow but steady dehydration in the oven. Or at least stick to more orthodox methods.
90g plus 1 tbsp golden syrup
65g salted butter
90g dark brown sugar
1 large nugget of stem ginger, finely chopped
1.5 tbsp milk
200g all-purpose flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2.5 tsp ground ginger
2.5 tsp mixed spice
Preheat the oven to 190C (375F).
Melt the syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan set over low heat, stirring continuously.
Add the chopped ginger to the mixture, followed by the milk, and stir to combine.
Sift the flour, bicarb soda and spices into a mixing bowl and pour the melted ingredients on top. Stir until smooth.
Chill until the mixture is firm enough to handle.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into walnut-sized balls. Arrange 5 cm apart on the prepared baking sheet, then press flat with a fork until about 1 cm thick. Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
This batch turned out a little cake-ier than previous iterations, which we think has to do with a slightly shorter baking time and thicker cookie. If you want your ginger snaps to have a real snap, press them thinner and bake them for an extra minute or two.
Banana Ginger Molasses Cake
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle or molasses
125g dark brown sugar
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tsp bicarb soda, dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water
250ml whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
300g plain flour
2 mashed bananas
Preheat the oven to 170C and line a roasting tin with baking parchment.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat with sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.
Take off the heat, add the milk, eggs and bicarb soda in its water.
Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well-mixed.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until risen and firm on top.
Transfer to a wire rack and let the ginger cake cool in the tin before cutting into squares.
This cake is incredible. Eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, Bella’s spirit animal. She’s the best.
Japanese Pickled Ginger & Ginger Stems
1 quart water
½ pound fresh ginger, sliced paper thin
1 tsp plus a sprinkle of pickling salt
1 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the ginger. Bring the water back to a boil and then drain in a colander. Let the ginger cool.
Put the ginger into a bowl and sprinkle the ginger lightly with salt.
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, the sugar, the salt and the soy sauce, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the hot liquid over the ginger and mix well.
Store the ginger in a tightly covered container in the fridge. It will be ready to use in a day or two and will keep for several months.
We used the same recipe as above for the pickled ginger stems, but added a pinch of red pepper flakes. The flavor was much fuller than without the pepper - we’d highly recommend adding a kick to your ginger pickles.
The ginger stems have served us best atop Asian noodle soups and grain bowls, while the pickled ginger itself goes with pretty much anything you fancy.
Taste of Success (Pomegranate Ginger Pickle)
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
A nugget of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
Seeds of 10 cardamom pods
1 tbsp grated root ginger
120g granulated sugar
150ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 ripe pomegranates, halved and the seeds scooped out
2 tsp salt
Gently cook the onion, ginger and spices in the oil for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the pomegranate, salt and water, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon into jars and store in the fridge for several weeks. Makes a bomb salad dressing.
Ginger Overload Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
¾ cup finely chipped fresh ginger
1 tsp ground ginger
6 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup crystallized ginger
Ginger cake to crumble in!
Place milk, cream, fresh ginger and ground ginger in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook, making sure to stir frequently until small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the saucepan. Turn off heat just before mixture is at a boil. Remove from heat and cover with lid. Let mixture stand for an hour. Strain through a sieve and discard any solids.
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined. Add half the cream mixture slowly and whisk frequently, then return mixture to the saucepan, whisking to incorporate the remainder of the cream mixture. Cook over medium heat while stirring until mixture thickens. Don’t stop stirring, as the yolks will scramble if left to their own devices. After about 6 minutes, the mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon. The mixture is now custard, and it’s time to take it off the heat lest it will curdle! Good tests for custard stage are a temperature (reading no higher than 178F) or just drawing a line on the back of the wooden spoon with your finger and checking that the custard is viscous enough not to immediately fill in the space you drew. See picture below.
Strain the custard through a sieve and discard solids. Set the bowl in an ice bath to quickly reduce the temperature, and once it reaches room temperature, refrigerate and cover for at least 4 hours.
Place custard mixture in the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn. Add crystallized ginger pieces and crumble in ginger cake after around 15 minutes of churning. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a couple of hours.