Fall’s New Food Trend
A few years ago kale and broccoleaf, coming straight from the United States, found themselves a privileged place in our fridges.The time has now come for baby ginger to cross the border and become the new fall celebrity on our market stalls. First cultivated in Quebec on an Outaouais farm, this rhizome is the next Pinterest and Instagram sensation, and will be widely available this September.
What Is It?
Baby ginger or young ginger comes from the same plant, Zingiber Officinale, found at grocery stores, the only difference being that it is harvested before maturity, hence the name. At this stage, it has not yet developed the brownish skin of its big brother, nor its tenacious filamentous fibres, which make it a very different gastronomic product. It is characterized by its declination of three lively colours: a yellow and fuchsia rhizome to which we leave a piece of green stem. Baby ginger is juicer and lessfibrous than the mature version, and still has the characteristic taste of a ginger root. However, its floral and softer taste tickles the palate without hiding the flavour of the food with which it is combined.
How Is It Used?
There are myriad ways to use baby ginger in the kitchen. The softer texture of the rhizome, similar to that of the palm heart, makes it much easier to cut or press, like garlic. This makes it an extremely versatile food. Unlike its big brother, there is no need to peel it, a good cleaning suffices. In addition to everything that can be done with mature ginger root, baby ginger can be marinated, and candied. Sliced thin, it is added to salads and sandwiches. It enhances salsas, smoothies, vinaigrettes and soups. Mixologists concoct an artisanal ginger ale by adding pressed baby ginger and a simple syrup to sparkling water. The stem, in turn, can be infused in herbal tea or be used to flavour broth or the water used to cook rice or quinoa, for example. Use within a week, or freeze and grate frozen in favorite dishes.
A Local Niche Product
Baby ginger is a local and fresh product which means freshly harvested on home turf. It is kept in the refrigerators only a few weeks, otherwise it is frozen. Since it is a fine product that finds its niche especially among chefs and foodies, and is only available a few weeks a year, it can cost six times more than mature ginger, but the experience is worth the cost!
The Market Gardeners
Located at L'Ange-Gardien in Outaouais, the Chapeau Melon Farm was one of the first in Quebec to start cultivating baby ginger. Noting the trend in the United States, François was ready to take up the challenge of cultivating a tropical plant at home. After a successful trial, this new and exceptional product was introduced to the farm line of winter greens and melons, to enhance the supply of certified organic food at a reasonable price.
Availability: September only
Ferme Chapeau Melon