Thanks to the encouragement of my friends here at Always Be Cooking, the 2nd half of the fresh ginger went into two projects, and for each one I got a little more out of it than the recipe said, just by thinking “am I really supposed to get rid of that now?”
Ginger beer starts off with a syrup of sugar, water, and finely grated ginger, steeped for an hour and then poured through a sieve into the bottle with yeast and water. So I sampled whether all that steeping had sucked all the flavor out of the shredded, somewhat sweet ginger – it hadn’t. I scraped that onto a piece of wax paper, sprinkled more sugar on it, rolled it flat between two layers of wax paper, and let it dry on the wax paper, and wound up with a tasty ginger candy sort of thing, lacking some texture and integrity compared to the real product.
Because I wasn’t fully invested in the ginger beer project, and wanted something that was pleasantly gingery but not knock-your-socks off, I used less ginger than the recipe called for for my first 2L test batch.
This left me with just a little bit more ginger – perhaps 2″ of thick root. Just enough for a microbatch of the other project I was hoping to try – homemade pickled ginger. Once again, the first thing to do gave me a bonus – the slivers of ginger had to be blanched for a minute or two in water. So while I proceeded with the recipe (you just dump the blanched ginger in a jar with the same volume of vinegar plus a little sweetener of your choice), I poured off the water into a mug and drank it with a little sugar and lemon.
4 gingery food items, one half a root of fresh ginger in need of using up.