Feb 272012

Soon my family & I will be cruising so I will take some ginger with me, since recent double-blind studies have demonstrated that one of the benefits of ginger is that it is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used drug for motion sickness. Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, make sure it is firm, smooth and free of mold. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature.

Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled. Keep in mind that fresh ginger, much like garlic, mellows with cooking, and turns bitter if you burn it. The benefits of ginger also include its ability to be used in different forms. The ground form has a different flavor, which is most commonly used in sweet desserts and is not normally interchangeable with fresh ginger. But you can try substituting fresh ginger for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger beer and ginger ale. Candied ginger is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionery.

Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in most grocery store produce sections. Ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for months. In many South Asian cuisines Ginger acts as a useful food preservative.

To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler (I know where you can purchase a fabulous one hee hee). The ginger can then be sliced, minced or julienned. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the baked apples. Spice up your healthy sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger. Or, combine ginger, tamari, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.

Get the vegetable peeler.

Oct 272011

Believe it or not, one raw fresh garlic clove, finely minced or pressed releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves. When you bake garlic or cook whole cloves of garlic, the flavor mellows into a sweet, almost nutty flavor that hardly resembles any form of pungency. The smaller you cut garlic, the stronger the flavor. Mincing a fresh garlic bulb and/or pressing a clove exposes more surfaces to the air, causing a chemical reaction to

produce that strong aroma and potent flavor  (I love my garlic press – see top product picks).  When cooking with garlic, remove any green shoots beforehand. The green shoots on the whole cloves contain bitter-tasting compounds that remain even after cooking. Store garlic away from direct sunlight in a cool dark location. Fresh garlic also needs to “breathe” and allowing the correct air circulation will extend its shelf life. When buying fresh garlic, look for a garlic bulb that is heavy for its size, enclosed in dry, papery layers.

Want the perfect Garlic Press.

Oct 272011

Keeping Basil or Others Herbs Fresh

Do you know how to keep fresh herbs fresh? The key to making herbs last and stay fragrant for days (and even weeks) after purchase is to treat them like the living plants they are. That means you do NOT store fresh herbs in the refrigerator. Fresh basil leaves quickly turn black and slimy, and lose their signature spicy sweet flavor when refrigerated. The best method of basil storage is to keep the fresh herbs in a jar of water on your kitchen counter