It’s been rainy and cold this week, and although the weather put a damper on our gardening activities, we decided it was an ideal opportunity to harvest and process our ginger crop!
1. This year’s ginger crop grew exceptionally well, probably due to the higher than usual rainfall during summer. The plants are in large plastic pots on the northern side of the vegetable garden, and receive some shade from the neighbours tall Lilypilly trees during the hottest part of the day.
The plants usually go dormant in winter when their pseudostems and leaves turn brown and die back. This year however the ginger plants have taken longer to become dormant, and because of the wet conditions we decided to harvest the crop as soon as possible so that the rhizomes did not spoil.
Once the top soil has been cleared away you can see the dense rhizomes and fleshy roots.
2. The rhizome mass was removed from the pot and washed to remove as much soil as possible. The old rhizomes are kept aside and it is only the new rhizomes which are used.
3. The ginger was broken into manageable sized pieces and given a final wash and scrub to remove all remaining bits of soil trapped between the rhizomes. We then peeled the pieces of ginger using a vegetable peeler.
4. Due to its high fibre content the peeled ginger was then sliced across the grain to make it easier to process the dried ginger. You will notice that our ginger has darker tinges to it, which by all accounts is usual with Australian grown ginger. The Asian ginger is lighter and more uniform in colour.
5. The larger pieces of ginger were placed directly onto the metal drying racks, while the smaller pieces were placed onto brown drying mats on the racks. The ginger was dried in a food dehydrator at 45 degrees C for approximately five hours (the drying time varies depending on the humidity of the air).
6. Once dried, the ginger was processed.
The dried slices of ginger were placed in a blender to chop it up as much as possible. It resulted in a fairly coarse ground.
The ginger was then passed through a conical burr grinder to give a finer ground, which was then stored in sealed jars for use in cooking and baking during the year.
This year we had 8 pots of ginger plants. We lost one as the rhizomes rotted, we kept one pot un-harvested, and processed most of the new ginger rhizomes from the six remaining pots. This gave us approximately 800ml of ground ginger, which we stored in sealed jars.
After such a busy week it’s time to sit back and enjoy looking at other gardeners experiences during the week. Pop over to the Propagator’s blog and look at the links in the comments section to other gardeners Six on Saturday posts.