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Insights into fresh ginger?

I've been purchasing fresh ginger from the same source for awhile, and it typically looks the same, but I'm noticing that sometimes the ginger has significantly more heat than at other times. I'm wondering if it has to do with the time of year it is harvested? How fresh it is (although the rizomes always appear equally plump)? Or something else? Any wisdom you can offer is helpful -- I'm just trying to have as consistent a final product result as possible.

asked by SeaJambon over 2 years ago
5 answers 931 views
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added over 2 years ago

Ginger, just like all agricultural products, is affected by soil conditions, water, etc. If you use peppers, such as jalapenos, you will notice similar heat variations. Also like a lot of produce, I find that the stuff from the big agri-businesses tends to be rather tasteless due to over-farming (and sometimes they genetically modify the veggies to make them more disease/drought tolerant, which can contribute to the tasteless problem because they survive in crappy soil when they should really not). If you can source it from smaller production farms it may be more consistently tasty.

P1291120
added over 2 years ago

Probably should have mentioned that I use organic ginger. So, it sounds almost like a terroire type issue. ?

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Ginger, like everything else. Is seasonal. Unless it's shipped across zones (southern hemisphere, or tropical).
It might be that the ginger you're getting now has been cold stored for months before selling.
So 'fresh' might be what think you is for root veggies that take well to long term storage.

I've had this problem with some onions (especially red onions) in the early spring or Jan, Feb months--with the onions being much more acidic and 'hot' after being stored for times before put on the shelves for selling.

Like all products, you won't find compleat conistency for some things...especially hot peppers as one pepper in a batch might be mild, while another might be mouth searingly hot.
The only way to tell, is use your nose, and taste before you commit to a recipe.
And honestly, I like that as I would hate for somethings to go through generic 'consistency' checks, cloning and breeding for pure consistency. Such as we get a very consistence tomato now in supermarkets, that ultimately pleases no one used to variations of tomatoes.

Default-small
added over 2 years ago

All I know is that in Japan, fresh ginger season is autumn, during October-November. And the looks of "fresh" ginger is different from general ginger. The fresh one is whiter, juicy and verges are "pink". It has softer fiber and we make pickles with sweet vinegar, with these fresh ones, which is often added a corner of Sushi plate.

P1291120
added over 2 years ago

All interesting information and appreciated. Sam1148 and Tokyo bakephile -- good reminders about seasonal variation and storage. I'm probably being "fooled" by modern storage techniques that make stored ginger appear fresh (hadn't thought about this in the ginger context, but know it is true for apples -- many of those "fresh" supermarket apples have actually been carefully stored for as much as six months. Makes sense that the same would be true for ginger). Really appreciate the insights. :)