Ginger-A multi-purpose Plant
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) gives food a spicy bite and subtle heat that has become one of my favorite flavors. Soon ginger showed up in muffins, mandelbrot, and meatloaf. Ginger is a multi-purpose herb for digestive and combats nausea. Carrying ginger essential oil has become a part of my traveling routine.
Ginger is a sub-tropical to tropical plant. Unless you live in cold hardy zone 9 or warmer, you either grow ginger in pots or you start your ginger in the winter to plant out when the soil is warm 70-75 degrees. Ginger does not like to dry out when growing. But it also must be planted in well-drained soil or the rhizomes can rot. Harvest time is before a hard frost or anytime you want young fresh ginger which has a lovely mild flavor and bite.
Plant ginger every other or every third year. So, what do you do with 36 hands of ginger? Preserve chunks or slices in a good sherry to grate into a stir-fry or other dish. Make ginger pesto that is two ingredients, ginger and olive oil, and freeze. Pickled ginger is a must for sushi and when you have an upset stomach.
One growing and preserving note for ginger: in colder zones, the rhizomes do not have time to develop the outer covering that you see on supermarket ginger. This means that young ginger will dry out faster. Do not wait too long to preserve your extra ginger.