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Friday, 1 June 2012

How to grow and 7 uses for ginger

We purchased some ginger rhizomes, which are the part of the plant that is eaten, when we were last in the UK. They were planted out in early Spring and are now thriving.

Ginger is a tropical plant where it can be left outside all year round but in Cyprus it will require replanting annually but even cooler climates it can be grown in large pots under heat, as it requires a temperature of 30c or over whilst growing.

We planted the rhizomes under an olive tree at 20cm apart, as ginger prefers filtered sunlight. We added well rotted compost before planting, as the plants enjoy a rich soil, and we ensure the plants are moist but never waterlogged. A weekly watering, with a good layer of mulch to preserve the moisture, is usually recommended.

The plants will grow for 8-10 months before they start dying down and turning brown which is the stage to harvest your ginger. The rhizomes are broken-up, cleaned and dried for storage but keep some with growing buds to re-plant when the danger of frost has passed in early-spring.

The uses for ginger are many and varied, here are just a few.

1. Make ginger tea which is said to be good for digestive problems, colds and headaches.
2. Use in numerous recipes and for baking - especially for my favorite ginger biscuits.
3. Make your own pickled ginger.
4. Dry and powdered it can be used in baking or to make ginger ale.
5. Make your own candied ginger.
6. Make your own ginger jam.
7. Make your own ginger juice.

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