Often, I end up with some left over ginger after following a recipe and throw it into a kitchen cupboard, hoping I will find a use for it, only to rediscover it months later when it has sprouted. I like to use fresh ginger in my recipes and surplus ginger can be planted up for future use.
The ginger plant is similar in appearance to a lily, with a thick green stem and wide leaves. The leaves are dark green in colour with a prominent midrib. Ginger plants can reach a height of almost 1 metre, with greenish yellow flowers. It grows from a underground stem, the rhizome. All the energy and reserves are saved in the rhizome, and new plant material arises from it through a process called budding.
It is the ginerols within this aromatic herb that gives this plant its distinctive taste. Ginger is used to treat a number of disorders including improving digestive activity, correcting liver function, relaxing muscles and stimulating circulation.
Select a piece of fresh, shop bought ginger. Wash the ginger and remove knuckles and segments that are approx 2 cm. Place the ginger pieces on a windowsill for 2-3 days to seal the cuts.
To achieve the perfect soil for growing ginger, mix one part horticultural grit with three parts John Innes seed and cutting compost. Place this soil mixture into a tall, narrow pot and plant the ginger on the surface, half buried in the soil. Place on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse, or propagator. Bottom heat will ensure they have a head start, but is not required if temperature is kept at around 25 degrees.
You can either directly plant the ginger outside or place the pots outside. Select a well lit position that is not in full sun. The ginger will be ready to harvest when the foliage dies down, in the autumn. Each piece of ginger will have produced a new hand.
New ginger. Ready to use in your kitchen again.