Ginger usually comes from Jamaica and its name means "horn
root" translated from the Sanskrit. Though it smells very
spicy, the flavor is a combination of sweet and peppery. Recently,
this root has edged its way into more mainstream cooking,
but originally it was most frequently found in Asian and Indian
Fresh ginger is a great
addition to stir-fries, as it adds an interesting spice. Young
ginger has a pale skin and this is the mildest form. The more
mature kind has a rougher surface, which needs to be peeled
before using. This is the more common choice.
Ground ginger is most
commonly used in European and American cooking in baked goods
- more and more, however, even mainstream cookbooks call for
the freshly grated version. Ground ginger (think gingerbread)
is much different in flavor than the fresh kind, and the two
should not be substituted in most baked goods. Although lacking
the characteristic zip of the fresh form, ground ginger does
make an excellent addition to soups and curries, as well as
the occasional compote.
Crystallized ginger tastes
just like candyin fact, it has been cooked in a form
of sugar syrup and coated with granulated sugar. This form
of the root is usually used as decoration or in desserts.
Pickled ginger is the
familiar condiment served alongside sushi and can be purchased
at gourmet stores and Asian markets.