This season I’ve been doing a workshare on an organic farm owned by Kelli and Mike. Aside from the luxuries of literally reaping what someone else has sown, I’ve also picked up a thrilling new kitchen tip. Kelli casually mentioned that she keeps all surplus ginger in the freezer and just grates it frozen as needed. The frozen rhizome is grated skin and all. And she’s not just talking about the young fragile-skinned stuff, but also the dry brown skinned stuff. Say what?!
Fresh ginger is medicinal and intoxicating. It’s incomparable. It is also a prep nightmare. Reading “fresh grated” or “fresh chopped” ginger on an ingredient list is like hitting a speed-bump. For even the most graceful chef, preparing fresh ginger is a clumsy shit show amidst an otherwise ballet of mastered kitchen moves. I think the rampant suggestion of ‘peeling ginger with a spoon’ just proves how clueless even the professionals are at this task.
Keep it in the freezer and grate it.
Brava, Kelli. Brava.
This gingerbread recipe is a hybrid of Claudia Fleming’s Guinness Stout Ginger Cake and Regan Daley’s Black Sticky Gingerbread, manipulated further by my preference for whole wheat flour and favored spices. Daley calls for an abundance of natural sweeteners – the stickiest of the ickiest. Three-quarters of a cup of honey is hardly economical but it contributes to the special wholesomeness of this cake while offering a little finesse to the blackstrap molasses.
8oz butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch chunks
½ water (or gingerbeer)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup honey
¾ cup blackstrap molasses
½ cup dark stout (or milk)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup All Purpose
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
1 ½ Tbsp fresh grated ginger
Heat oven to 325F. Prepare 2 9×5” loaf pans, greased and lines with parchment. Allow the parchment to overhang for easy removal of the finished cake.
In a medium saucepan combine butter, water (or gingerbeer), brown sugar, honey, and molasses. Heat mixture, stirring occasionally, until butter is mostly melted and ingredients are homogenous. The butter will continue to melt after the pan is removed from the heat.
Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Allow butter mixture to cool completely and add milk (or beer). Whisk in eggs one at a time. Whisk in fresh ginger.
Add dry ingredients to wet. Begin by folding and gradually work up to whisking batter until shiny and smooth.
Evenly distribute batter between pans and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until center has risen and gently springs back when touched. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.