Hands-On Ginger

The longer ginger matures before harvest, the more fibrous—and spicy—it will be. Pulled before the papery skin forms, mild, tender Hawaiian baby ginger is perfect for more delicate dishes (steamed fish, for instance)—but younger is not always better. Curries, for example, demand the texture and piquancy of mature ginger; the rhizomes should be elongated, reveal fibers when broken, and feel heavy and very firm to the touch. Peel only as needed, and when slicing or grating, work across the grain. Keep unused portions, wrapped in paper towels and plastic, in the refrigerator.