One of my good girlfriends is a first grade teacher—Ms. White.  She can rattle off every state capitol, the order of presidents, and all multiples of 12 before I'd have a prayer.  But recently she asked me:  What’s a knob of ginger?  And I started to think, What a weird name, and more important, what an unhelpful description.  When a recipe calls for a knob of ginger, what is one to do?

Ginger is one of my favorite ingredients.  It’s strong and spicy, and does wonders for your health.  Best of all, as soon as you ingest it you can feel it working. So, in honor of Ms. White and my favorite secret ingredient, I’d like to offer a few must-know facts about ginger:

  • What’s a knob?  A piece of ginger root has big knobs, little knobs, humps and bumps of all sizes.  So when a recipe calls for a knob, I’d recommend using about an inch.
  • Buy the smoothest piece you can—no reason to make yourself crazy with an extra bumpy piece.
  • Unless a recipe specifically calls for unpeeled ginger, always peel it first.
  • How do you peel ginger?  The easiest way is to use a spoon (see photo).
  • You can quickly mince peeled ginger root in a food processor.
  • Ginger freezes beautifully for up to six months—I always have a root or two in my freezer. 

Two of my favorite ways to enjoy ginger:

#1.)  Lemon + Ginger Tea:

I’m not much of a coffee girl (occasionally I get into the ritual of it – somethin’ about those red cups) but I love waking up with something hot.  So, it’s always lemon, hot water, and a few big slices of ginger.  When you make this ginger-lemon ‘tea’ you can just slice big chunks of ginger right off the root—no need to peel it!

#2)  Ginger Simple Syrup:

Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil.  Once sugar has dissolved, add ginger (4 ounces peeled and sliced into large rounds) and remove from heat. Let steep for an hour then discard the ginger pieces. If using immediately, let syrup cool first.  You can store the syrup in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one month.  This spicy simple syrup takes any cocktail to the next level. 

How do you use ginger?  Let me know in the comments below!