Making Ginger Cubes for Everyday Use
Ginger is the second most widely cultivated and used spice around the world, next to black pepper. Ginger comes from a rhizome, which is simply a stem with roots that runs sideways underground. And this little rhizome packs quite the health wallop.
The ongoing research on ginger includes anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antidepressant and anti-allergic effects, along with abilities to reduce nausea and vomiting. Some researchers have even suggested anti-obesity actions of ginger, thanks to its ability to help control blood sugar. While there are many active components of ginger, the main compound of interest for many of these health effects is known as -gingerol.
Now, as a PhD nutritionist, I am well aware that no one ingredient can be the end all, be all, cure all (if only!), but I am convinced I need and want more -gingerol in my diet and on a regular basis. What to do?
Easy. Buy several pounds of the freshest ginger you can find and make frozen ginger cubes! These cubes can then be easily added to juices, smoothies, soups and other dishes for months to come.
Here is how it goes step by step:
1) Buy Fresh Ginger - In this example, I bought three pounds. My theory is go for bulk buying and bulk processing because the frozen cubes keep for months in the freezer. A bit more time spent today means tons of time saved later.
2) Chop the Ginger - There is no magic size. Just bear in mind that creating ginger chunks that are a size that your juicer can easily handle is advised. Best of all, these little chunks of ginger goodness do not need peeling. Ah, more time saved.
3) Juice the Ginger Cubes - I'm using my Omega juicer - note this is NOT a blender, but rather a cold press juicer. Process all ginger chunks slowly and methodically to create a golden "ginger juice" along with the cellulose waste (this is just the fibrous part of the plant separated out that can be discarded, or for clever bakers, used elsewhere).
4) Strain the Ginger Juice - With the three pounds of ginger starter material, I ended up with about four cups of ginger juice. Carefully pour this through a fine mesh strainer to remove any unwanted bits remaining from the ginger skin.
5) Pour into Trays - Take the purified ginger juice and pour into ice cube trays. These 12-cube trays hold about one cup of ginger juice per tray. Feel free to use smaller cube trays instead for single-serve smoothies.
6) Freeze - Once the cubes are fully frozen, drop them into a freezer bag. Store for up to six months or until freezer burn sets in.
7) Enjoy Daily - Take a full or half a cube and drop it into a green smoothie, vegetable soup, savory stir fry or whatever is on the menu. Experiment with how much frozen ginger juice is needed for various dishes based on your unique taste preferences. Just know you are getting lots of that -gingerol!
Source: An Impression on Current Developments in the Technology, Chemistry, and Biological Activities of Ginger, Kubra and Rao. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2012.