You’ve never tasted ginger like this before.
Tender, crisp, and devastatingly spicy, young ginger is a delectable new experience for those of us used to fibrous, brown-skinned roots at the supermarket. The thin, delicate skins – which do not need to be peeled before use – blush from pale gold to a rosy sunset pink. It positively begs to be sliced into and sampled raw.
Growing ginger in New Hampshire might sound like a wild idea, but at Eastman’s Corner, it made perfect sense. As part of our mission to support other local farms and farmers, we proudly source the majority of our produce, from beets to yams, from other area growers. That leaves our Head of Agriculture, Rich Colburn, free to pursue more unexpected passions.
Eastman’s Corner will be one of the only farms in the state growing its own ginger. “I’ve been crawling around the idea for years now,” Rich admits. “It finally seemed like the perfect time to test the market.”
Growing a tropical plant in northern latitudes is no simple business. Rich orders his rhizomes directly from Puna Organics, a leader ginger seed supplier in Hawaii. The seeds are then nestled in trays lined with coconut fiber, then placed in a cozy, insulated box in our nursery greenhouse. Temperatures inside hold at a steady 70 – 75 degrees with plenty of humidity, a close copy of their native tropical environment.
It takes two months or more for the rhizomes to start sprouting, but by June, the plants are ready to move to their own greenhouse. Rich plants them in 6″ deep trenches, gradually hilling them over as they grow, adding frequent feedings of chicken manure and using drip irrigation to keep them nice and moist.
For thousands of years, ginger has been grown both for its phenomenal flavor and for its health-boosting benefits. Chinese medicine practitioners have long known the plant’s power to aid digestion and treat a wide variety of ailments, and modern science is starting to catch on.
Studies have proven ginger’s value for fighting nausea from motion or morning sickness and reducing inflammation, offering relief for arthritis sufferers. There’s also mounting evidence that it can lower cholesterol, ease migraine headaches and prevent some types of cancer. It’s looking more and more like the old Indian proverb is right: “Everything good can be found in ginger.”
With young ginger, even the sturdy green shoots are edible, and can be used in everything from stocks and juices to stuffing grilled fish. But all that superb flavor and texture ginger does come at a price: a shorter shelf life. Eastman’s Corner ginger should use used within a week of purchase. After that, simply bag and freeze it to enjoy all year round. – Jacquelyn Benson
Ginger Apple Lassi
1 cup yogurt
2 Tbs roughly chopped local young ginger
2 Tbs honey
Half of a tart green apple, roughly chopped
2 ice cubes
Pour yogurt into a glass or bowl.
Put ginger, honey, apple and ice into blender. Pulse to blend, stopping to press down if necessary.
Add puree to yogurt, stirring to combine. Enjoy cold.
Amount per serving