Six on Saturday- W27/2021 – Harvesting Ginger

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 tall plants are ginger

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.

Dormant ginger rhizomes visible at soil level

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.

Washing the rhizome mass to remove as much soil as possible
This photo clearly shows the central older rhizomes with the younger rhizomes around the outer edge of the rhizome mass

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.

Unpeeled pieces of ginger
Peeled pieces of ginger.

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.

Sliced fresh ginger

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).

Smaller pieces are put on drying mats to stop the pieces falling through the wire

6. Once dried, the ginger was processed.

Dried slices of ginger

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.

Blended dried ginger

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.

Conical burr grinder
Finely ground ginger powder

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.

12 comments

  1. Well thank you for explaining the process. As Sel commented, you have a lot of unusual equipment. I think I shall stick to buying my dried ginger from the shop! But I do occasionally have fresh ginger and to preserve it I peel, slice and chop it and then put it in a jar with cider vinegar and keep it in the fridge. Lasts for ages.

    • Thanks for sharing your way of preserving ginger. I had not come across that method and we will definitely give it a try, especially if it lasts for a long time.

  2. Wow! That’s an impressive amount of dried ginger! I imagine it’s delicious, though. What do you cook with it?

    • This year’s harvest was good! We use the powdered ginger in baking (ginger biscuits, gingerbread, etc) and in cooking (curries, stews, soups etc). I love the aroma and the flavour.

  3. That was really interesting. I didn’t know you could dry and grind ginger to create your own powdered stuff. I think the fragrance of peeled fresh ginger is one of my favourites – almost lemony in a away.

    • Our house certainly smelled gingery while the dehydrator was on! It’s a pretty easy way of preserving our produce. Fresh ginger is lovely, but it doesn’t keep too long unfortunately. We love the crystallised ginger too, but I think that would require a lot of had work to make!

  4. That was really interesting, thanks for taking us through the process so clearly. It seems like quite a bit of work, and you need some specialist equipment – I have never heard of a food dehydrator before, what else do you use it for? But it must be worth it, your own harvested ginger, you can certainly give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back!

    • We use the food dehydrator for drying turmeric, herbs, tomatoes and bananas. You can use an oven at a low temperature but the dehydrator offers more accurate lower temperature ranges and has a timer. We invested in a dehydrator when we realised how much we would use it. We find it’s a great way to preserve some of our produce.

  5. Goodness, that ginger is impressive! Do you also freeze it to use as ‘fresh’ ginger?
    We have had so much rain, the garden is soggy and I fear for my bulbs. A most unsustainable winter.

    • We are in the same predicament here, and I too am worried about my bulbs! The forecast is dry weather for next week, so I’m hoping that the ground will dry out a little. We just keep the fresh ginger in the fridge, and it will last for a while. If you know of any other easy ways of preserving it please let me know. We find it easier to dry it, and it lasts us until the next harvest. Hope you are keeping safe where you are?

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