Even though ginger is a tropical crop, we are able to grow what is known as baby ginger on our Northern climate farm by utilizing our hoop house. Baby ginger refers to ginger which is harvested before maturity and has not been cured. It is just as knobby as regular ginger, but has a thinner skin and a faint pink tone around the tips. It also lacks the significant fibers of the ginger you have likely experienced at the grocery store. Because it has not been cured, it has a very bright, more fresh ginger flavor. You can think of baby ginger similarly to green garlic: the freshly harvested, under mature sibling of a crop you’ve traditionally been more familiar with when cured. Typically, we provide baby ginger with the tops on since those can be used as well!
Our ginger season is very short, lasting 2-4 weeks in October. Occasionally, we can begin harvest at the very end of September and in a warmer fall, we may have ginger into November, but the typical season falls in October. We offer it weekly in the online store during that time and frequently run a special ginger sale at least once each fall for stocking up to preserve ginger for use throughout the year. CSA members can expect to receive baby ginger 1-2 times during the regular season. This is one of the special items we include in CSA far below retail value – so it is a special CSA perk!
What we grow
We have grown several varieties of ginger on our farm as we learned this crop, and feel like the Peruvian Yellow we grow is the best for many reasons! We are currently trialing two types of ginger from Laos that are grown in mountain regions and we think may do well in the cooler climate we have here. In our experience, all of these varieties are tender, have gorgeous greens, and have a strong ginger flavor.
How to use baby ginger (and their tops!)
Baby ginger is very tender (as opposed to the tough and fibrous cured ginger from the grocery store). You do not need to peel it and can easily cut/slice the root with a knife. Just like regular cured ginger, you can also grate it for a finer texture. The root is great for curries, teas, pickling (the ginger you receive at sushi restaurants is actually baby ginger that has been sweet pickled!), dressings, soups and so much more. We’ve included some of our favorite recipes further down.
Like we said above, we frequently include the ginger stalks and leaves when we give/sell ginger since these are edible and filled with great ginger flavor. You can use them to make a delicious homemade curry paste, dry them or use fresh to make a lightly ginger tea, or finely chop them for a ginger pesto with garlic and oil for pastas or cold soba noodle dishes.
Since we frequently give baby ginger with the tops attached, the first thing you will want to do before storage is separate the roots from the stalks/leaves as they will be stored differently.
Ginger roots are very easy to store– you will treat them just like any other root vegetable for short-term storage. Keep them in the crisper drawer of your fridge and try to use within 1-2 weeks. To keep the roots from drying out, you can keep them in a moisture-protecting bag or container.
The tops are much more perishable so use them first (within a week preferably). If you’d like to try and get more life out of them, wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a loose plastic bag.
Ginger is something that stores very well (and easily!). Since it has such a short harvest season, we love offering it in bulk for preservation. The simplest way to store ginger for long-term use is to slice it into usable pieces, freeze it on a cookie sheet, and then move into a container or larger ziplock and use as you need all winter/year long.
Several other forms of preservation change the ginger into different, delicious, versatile products including pickled ginger (recipe below), candied ginger (recipe below), ginger infused maple syrup, ginger honey, and fire cider. Each of these methods is worth trying and experimenting with during the long winter months when interesting flavors feel a little harder to come by.
Recipe adapted from: Just One Cookbook
Yield: 1 cup
Time: 30 minutes + at least 4 hours for pickling
8 ounce ginger
~2 teaspoons (you’re looking for 3-5% of ginger’s weight – approx. .24-.40 ounces) kosher salt
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
- Use a peeler or mandoline to very thinly slice your ginger.
- Sprinkle kosher salt on the ginger slices and set aside for 5 minutes. The salt helps remove the moisture from the ginger so it can better absorb the pickling solution.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, blanch the thinly sliced ginger for 1–2 minutes. If you want to keep it spicy, take it out after 1½ minutes.
- Drain the ginger and with clean hands, spread out the slices in a single layer over a paper towel. Set aside for 5 minutes and then squeeze the liquid from the ginger slices and put them in a sterilized airtight jar.
- In a small saucepan, combine all pickling liquid ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to simmer and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Pour pickling liquid over ginger. Use a fork or chopsticks to stir and ensure ginger is fully covered with liquid. Cover and store in the fridge for at least four hours before using. This will keep in your fridge for up to a year.
Recipe by: Alton Brown for Food Network
Yield: 1 pound
Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound fresh ginger root
5 cups water
~1 pound granulated sugar
- Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.
- Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
- Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces.
- Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.
Our Favorite Ginger Recipes!
Carrot Ginger Dressing
Recipe by: Love and Lemons
Yield: 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes
1½ cups chopped carrots, 1 large or 2 small carrots
⅔ to 1 cup water
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the carrots with olive oil and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
- Transfer the cooked carrots to a blender and add ⅔ cup water, the olive oil, vinegar, ginger, and salt. Blend the dressing until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add up to ⅓ cup more water and blend again.
- Chill the dressing in the fridge until ready to use.
Broccoli Stir Fry
Yield: 4 servings as a side, 3 to 4 servings as a main with added protein
Time: 25 minutes
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil (regular, not toasted)
1 1/2 pounds (2 large heads) broccoli, chopped
1 head broccolini (or 1 additional head of broccoli), chopped
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips (larger slices cut in half)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated (about a 2-inch nub)
Sliced green onion, optional
Sesame seeds, optional
- Stir together the mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over high heat, and heat the oil. Add the broccoli, broccolini (if using), red onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook 6 to 7 minutes until just starting to brown on edges, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and ginger cook for 1 minute more, until broccoli is crisp tender but still bright green. Turn off the heat and add the sauce, stirring until combined. Taste and add additional pinches salt as necessary. Serve immediately.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, if using.
Crispy Ginger Sticky Rice
Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking
Yield: 6 servings
Time: 40 minutes
2 cups sticky short-grain rice
1(5-inch) piece fresh ginger
4 ounces fresh shiitake or cremini mushrooms
1 bunch scallions
4 ounces thick-cut bacon or lop cheong (Chinese sausage)
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos
- Rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Transfer to a rice cooker along with 2 cups water and cook. Or combine the rice and 2¼ cups water in a saucepan, bring to a boil over high, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, prepare the ingredients: Peel and finely chop the ginger; stem and thinly slice the mushrooms; trim and thinly slice the scallions; and thinly slice the bacon. Reserve some scallion greens for garnish.
- Combine the oil and ginger in a Dutch oven or large, deep nonstick skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the ginger is golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ginger to a bowl and reserve.
- Add the bacon to the oil and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Spoon out all but 2 tablespoons fat, then add the mushrooms. Stir, then spread in an even layer and cook undisturbed until the mushrooms brown a bit and the bacon crisps, about 3 minutes.
- Add the scallions to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and stir in the brown sugar and soy sauce, then add the cooked rice all at once. Stir until everything is well mixed. The rice can be covered and kept warm over the lowest heat for up to 1 hour. Stir in the crispy ginger and top with the reserved scallions right before serving.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Recipe by: A Couple Cooks
Yield: 4- 6 servings
Time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups peeled and chopped carrots (1 3/4 pounds or about 12 large carrots)
1 ½ tablespoons peeled and minced ginger root (about 1-inch nub)
4 cups vegetable broth
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup full fat coconut milk
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, ginger, vegetable broth, garlic powder, cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil. Then simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender using a ladle (or use an immersion blender). Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve swirled with a drizzle of coconut milk and topped with fresh cilantro.
Fresh Ginger Cake
Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking
Yield: 10 servings
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 cup mild molasses
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 ounces fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and finely chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
- Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides, or a 9-inch springform pan, with a circle of parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the molasses, sugar and oil. In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.
- In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in baking soda, then mix hot water into molasses mixture. Stir in ginger.
- Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into batter. Add eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of cake springs back lightly when pressed or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of cake browns too quickly before cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.
- Cool cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert cake onto a cooling rack, and remove parchment paper.
Butternut Squash Soup With Coconut Milk and Ginger
Recipe by: Martha Stewart
Yield: 6-8 servings
Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
1 medium butternut squash (3 pounds)
3 tablespoons safflower or other neutral-flavored oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ cup thinly sliced shallots (3 medium)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons minced ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
½ cup coconut milk, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from ½ lime)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds; reserve, if desired.
- Drizzle cut side of squash with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place, cut-side down, on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
- In a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until shallots are soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.Add ginger and coriander; cook until very fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Scoop flesh from cooled squash into pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth.
- Return to pot; heat over medium. Whisk in coconut milk. Cook until warmed through, 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, drizzled with more coconut milk and sprinkled with toasted squash seeds, if desired.