Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to peel ginger... with a spoon!

peeled ginger (Zingiber officinale)

You can learn all sorts of neat tricks by spending time with culinary professionals. Or, for those of us who don't get invited over to their apartments to hang out, by reading their blogs.

Here's what I just learned from reading David Lebovitz's blog: You can peel ginger with a spoon. Apparently some other people already knew about this, but I didn't. Unlike your paring knife or vegetable peeler, a spoon will scrape the papery skin right off without taking the underlying ginger flesh with it. It even does well at working around the crevices and little knobby bits, which your peeler won't.

Also, using a spoon reduces the chance that you'll accidentally slice open your finger. Which, let me tell you, you don't want to do while cutting ginger.

How to peel ginger with a spoon

Ginger root (zingiber officinale)

There's no real skill or technique here: just scrape the skin off the ginger with the edge of the spoon's bowl. This works even better with young ginger, which has thinner skin and fewer tough fibers, but isn't always available. The bigger pieces in the pictures are young hawaiian yellow ginger, but I also tried this on an old dry tough ginger root, and it worked just fine.

My eyeglasses ended up getting splashed with a few spots of ginger juice, so you might want to wear goggles, or at least scrape in the direction away from your face.

How to peel ginger (zingiber officinale) with a spoon
And for those of you who are wondering, I'm peeling this a huge pile of ginger to make candied ginger. Never tried it before, but it seemed an appropriate time to try. If it fails to set up properly, I can just make super-intense gingerbread. Which, now that I think of it, I may need to make anyway. Check back in a few days for the report.

Peeling ginger with a spoon

Peeled and sliced young hawaiian yellow ginger