[Sca-cooks] candied ginger

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Feb 24 01:51:47 PST 2009

On Feb 24, 2009, at 1:19 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> I was implying that they only showed up in fall, but they suddenly  
> become much more prolific and the selection of candied fruit gets  
> bigger.

And I was just wondering if it was accurate to say that they only show  
up in late Autumn, or is it just that people go looking for and/or  
noticing them then. If so, maybe it is simply a matter of market forces.

> <<< As for the seasonal nature of the pink-tinged young ginger, as  
> far as
> I know it shows up in markets in January and July because those are
> when it's harvested in the Southern and Northern hemispheres,
> respectively. It's like apples in New York or Pennsylvania in
> September or October; it's not timed that way because that's when
> people want to make pies.>>>
> But the apples get ripe seasonally and then won't last for a year.  
> Since ginger is a root, does it actually have particular seasons it  
> has to be picked in? Or left in the ground does it pretty much stay  
> the same, so that you can pick it at anytime during the year? The  
> older, tougher ginger is how old? Years? If so then does this just  
> mean that it needs to be picked young, but not necessarily during a  
> particular season? Keeping it from Drying out would simply mean  
> using it within a certain time of harvesting along with good  
> preservation techniques, whether it was picked in August or December.

I don't know, Stefan. Tell it to the Farmer's Almanac or something;  
there may be forces at work we don't understand well enough to do more  
with than happily exploit them. The fact remains that the seasonality  
of certain plants is about more than simply allowing them enough time  
to mature, or the right temperature range. There may be some plant  
equivalent of the spawning season where for some reason the product is  
different as a result of some reproductive process, for all I know.  
There do appear to be growth spurts, for whatever reason, and I  
believe the seasonal availability of the product reflects this.

Are you perhaps being thrown by the question of two seasons in the  
year rather than one? In a given locale there would be only one, I  
suspect (although there are some cultivated plants with two growing  
seasons a year). However, we're still dealing not only with a living  
thing, but one valued for the rather volatile chemicals that comprise  
its flavor, so yes, the plant gets to determine when the fresh,  
tender, and sweet young growth occurs, and we can only do so much to  
preserve it the rest of the time. Beyond that point, we either can't  
preserve it, or there are fairly radical changes that occur when we do.

> Or does ginger grow to harvesting size within one year?

I doubt it, but I don't know for sure.


> It's possible I missed some fiber, but those chunks were also more  
> evenly cut, like pieces of cut candy. All of the pink, sushi ginger  
> I've seen has been in thin, flatish strips, not cubes like the stuff  
> I was thinking of. The texture was more like gum drops.

Yes, this does sound more like ginger-flavored candy (ginger-flavored  
Turkish Delight? That actually sounds pretty good.). I don't recall  
seeing that myself, so I can't comment too much on it.

> Where does the pink color come from in the sushi ginger? Is it added  
> or is the actual ginger root used for this pink in color?

As far as I know, it's somewhat pinkish on the outer surfaces, and  
then coloring is added to enhance that. I note that the past, oh, five  
or six times I've eaten sushi the pickled ginger seems to have been  
made without the pink coloring, so the ginger was mostly sort of cream- 
colored, with only the faintest of pink tinges. It may be that the  
sushi market is finally catching up with some of the data available on  
some of the red food dyes, but either way, I think it's now a trend  
rather than an isolated phenomenon.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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