We had our second meeting of the Ladies’ Preservation Society on Monday. This time I decided to make pickled ginger. The recipe is pretty simple, with an hour gap in the middle, so we thought we could pickle asparagus in that hour. Of course, I never plan for chatting and snacking and dancing and laughing, so the schedule didn’t quite work out. We ran late yet again, so next time we’ll stick to one recipe. Hold me to it!
I’ll discuss the recipes separately, because the asparagus was very similar to the asparagus I made last month.
How great is it when foods can be interchangeable between sweet and savory (and spicy, and floral)! I live near a bunch of Asian groceries, so I can get ginger cheap. Is there a “season” for the best ginger? If so, I’m not sure what it would be. They are roots (actually, rhizomes, which are modified stems) and are able to be stored for a long time.
Recipe (from Salt Sugar Smoke by Diana Henry)
3 lbs ginger, the fresher the better
3 Tbsp sea salt flakes
3 cups rice vinegar (We used the sweetened kind, to balance the sweet and acid)
2 cups granulated sugar
Peel the ginger. I use a butter knife and basically rub off the skin. Keep as much of the flesh as possible, because the softest flesh is on the outsides of the root – the insides can get really fibrous.
Slice using a mandoline, if you have one. I sliced it on the thinnest setting, 1/16,” which is paper thing and hard to mimic with a knife. With out ginger, it worked best to cut with the grain, not across the grain. This kept it from shredding… maybe young ginger wouldn’t do this. We ended up not using the centers of the ginger roots, because they got so fibrous. Also because using a mandoline is scary when you’re down to nubbins, those blades are sharp and it’s so easy to cut yourself. Careful!
Put all the sliced ginger in a bowl and toss with the sea salt. Let this sit for an hour, tossing occasionally. This draws excess water out of the ginger.
… During this hour, we were dancing to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. That may not be necessary for the recipe but I highly recommend it.
After an hour, rinse the ginger in a colander. You want to remove as much of the salt as possible. Then spread the ginger out on tea towels and pat dry. Place ginger into jars that are clean and kept warm. We used 12 quarter-pint jars.
Heat vinegar and sugar on the stove until boiling and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Using a funnel, pour vinegar over ginger, covering ginger and leaving about ¼” of room at the top.
Wipe tops of jars with a clean towel. Place jar lids (that have been kept in almost-boiling water) on top of jars, and twist on rings.
At this point my friends had to go, so theirs weren’t processed in a water bath. It is fine to store them in the fridge for up to 3 months. I want to give mine out as gifts, so after they left I made a mini-water bath canner using a pot and a steamer basket. The jars are small so it was possible, and went much faster than the normal water-bath canner. Yay! Process in boiling water for 10 minutes, then cool.
Uses: There’s the standard side-dish-for-sushi preparation, which probably wins. But we were brainstorming other ideas, too. One gal said she’d try adding it to stir-fry at the last minute. Another thought putting it in a salad dressing would be fun. Yesterday, I made Top Ramen for lunch and added it at the end, pretty tasty. If you have any other cool ideas of how to use it, leave them in the comments!
You can find the recipe we used at this link. This time, we put in less dill, and a few of the jars had these amazing dried chipotle chilies I got at the farmers market last week. Otherwise it’s the same!
One of our members is our official photographer and she took some great photos. Discerning readers will notice, there was a gap in the photos for the ginger recipe – that’s when she had to leave and I forgot to take photos. Whoops!