Obsessions: Ginger Juice
Talking about food is almost as good as actually eating it. Obsessions can start innocuously. Trolling the farmers’ market and tasting the sweetness of the season’s first albion strawberries. Tasting beets as if for the first time in Santa Monica. Once an obsession is in its full throes, it makes a person practically quicken creatively in the kitchen.
It started with golden milk. But, more on that later. Instead, I’ve been on a bit of a tear, trying to find as many ways as I can to get this one ingredient into as many dishes as possible. No, it’s not tea. It’s ginger. I’ve always appreciated the bit of zing it brings to chai but before now, I hadn’t played outside of fresh or ground. Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s cookbook Zahav included a tahini sauce that’s been a mainstay in our refrigerator ever since we first tried it. You toss in unpeeled cloves of garlic into the blender, blend, and strain. On a lark, I turned my attention to ginger and wondered how our high speed blender might make mincemeat of its golden fibrous chunks. Color me obsessed. This flaxen hued liquid made its way into one dish after another. I wanted to figure out how to use the entirety of the glass jar in as many ways as possible not letting a drop go to waste.
What’s not to love about ginger? It’s helped in a pinch of digestive distress brewed hot as a tea and offers other health benefits. When pickled, a slender slice makes cucumber avocado rolls perfect. Candied, it’s the niblets inside chewy ginger cookies like tiny crystalline treasures to discover in baked batter. This Ginger Juice is a concentrated flavor bomb. It adds an extra layer of heat, where a little goes a long way. I’ve got a bevy of recipes headed your way in coming weeks to feature my latest obsession and to fuel your own.
Use fresh ginger root that’s firm and unwrinkled. Don’t worry about peeling the ginger root, just chop it into chunks and lob them into the blender–you will be straining out the fibrous bits and peel leaving a smooth, silky liquid behind.
YIELD: 2 cups ginger juice
2 cups water
8 ounces fresh ginger, chopped into 2-inch chunks
Pour the water into the receptacle of a blender. Toss in the chunks of ginger. Puree until smooth. Pour the ginger juice through a fine gauge strainer set over a large bowl. Stir the ginger juice with the fibrous pulp in the strainer until the pulp is dry and all the liquid has been extracted. Store in a quart-sized mason jar in the refrigerator.