Warming, aromatic and delicious in sweet and savoury dishes, ginger is a go-to spice for may passionate cooks. We are all familiar with the dry ground version sold in supermarkets, but nothing compares to fresh ginger to make any meal next-level.
As well as the astounding flavour the spice imparts into cooking, ginger is also said to have numerous health benefit, including cold and flu prevention, the ability to calm motion sickness, anti-inflammatory properties and migraine relief. There is a lot to love about ginger!
DID YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GROW YOUR OWN FRESH GINGER AT HOME?
While this plant may not be the usual backyard crop, it is quite easy to cultivate your own and enjoy its many benefits year-round. Ginger grows well in most areas of Australia but favours warm, humid conditions. If you live in an area prone to cooler weather, simply plant your ginger in a greenhouse to mimic the plant’s native tropical habitat.
You can also plant your ginger in pots so you can move them inside during colder weather, or follow the sun as the days change. Maximising the growing period is also recommended when growing ginger at home to ensure the best possible harvest. Plant yours around September when the weather begins to warm up, giving it a good six months until the days really cool off again.
HOW DO I PLANT GINGER?
To get started, purchase pieces of the rhizome (or ‘root’ that we eat) and break it into pieces about the size of golf balls. Make sure each piece has a growth bud on it.
Plant these pieces into rich soil in a full-sun area, or into pots that you can move around or keep in a greenhouse. If you are growing your ginger in the ground, it can be helpful to plant it on a mound to assist with drainage.
The edible sections will mature underground and be ready for harvest in autumn. You can harvest ginger later in the year for a ‘hotter’ flavour, but risk the rhizomes becoming woody and more difficult to use.
The plant itself is a stunning addition to any garden, with long strappy leaves and beautiful lily-like flowers. Keep potted specimens on the outdoor table as a beautiful centrepiece, or bring one indoors to enjoy every now and then.
HOW DO YOU USE FRESH GINGER?
Fresh ginger will keep unpeeled for up to two months in a ziplock bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. You can also freeze fresh ginger and simply chop or grate portions as needed.
When preparing ginger for cooking or adding to health-enhancing drinks, peel the tougher skin and then julienne, grate or finely chop it.
The versatility of ginger is quite astounding. Carolyn Exelby, Tourism Manager at Queensland’s The Ginger Factory, has many ideas on how to use the aromatic spice at home.
“Fresh ginger is a must for stir fries and Asian dishes and can be used to make refreshing ginger tea by steeping in hot water and adding a little lemon and honey…delicious,” she said.
“It is easy to grow in your home garden, so you can have fresh ginger all year round.”
THE GINGER FACTORY
The Ginger Factory has been showcasing this stunning spice for 40 years at the Yandina complex, but the area has been well-known for producing high-quality ginger since the early 1900s due to the warm conditions, high humidity and plentiful rainfall. Visitors now not only enjoy learning more about ginger and how to grow it at home, but can take time to explore the lush rainforest on site, take a ride on the boat or train, and taste the array of products at the café and ice creamery.
The Ginger Factory’s growing and processing arm, Buderim Ginger, uses the spice to create a range of decadent products, including beverages, confectionary, snacks and spreads which can be purchased either online or at the on-site shop.
To find out more about Buderim Ginger,
The Ginger Factory, visit: