Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I've been paying too much for ginger

So I have a sick Finn staying at my house, and I thought I'd make a batch of my favorite cold remedy for her. Old-time Greenpoint residents will recognize this as an adaptation of good ol' Gombu's "Winter Remedy" recipe, the tried and true combination of fresh ginger, honey and lemon. Gombu got the Greenpoint Coffeehouse chopping and boiling the ginger, but I've had much more success with the following method.

Peel and coarsely chop the raw ginger, and put it in a blender or food processor with just enough water to keep the whole mess moving. Once the ginger is basically liquified, extract the juice either by putting it in cheesecloth or a jelly bag and squeezing. If I don't feel like getting the jelly bag out I'll sometimes just squeeze it with my "brutish Wisconsin hands" (as MSF once colorfully put it).

This method is way more efficient and produces a much more concentrated product than boiling, so it goes a lot further.

Then squeeze a couple lemons in there, add some honey, some hot water and you've got a delicious refreshing tonic that will soothe your throat, clear up your congestion, and taste great with a couple ounces of scotch in it.

But I just realized that I HAVE BEEN PAYING TOO MUCH FOR GINGER. I once bought organic ginger for $8/pound at a "natural grocery store" near my job. That was bad, but I was desperate and I knew it, so what can you do. Lately I have been buying ginger in bulk for a dollar a pound at one of those little Chinatown markets on Grand street. I have been so completely chuffed to carry around one of those red plastic bags, knowing I only paid 5 bucks for the whole sack. With my chest puffed out and my head high I have vainly paraded the streets of lower Manhattan for months, drunk on the joys of knowing that I had insider information, that I had found the best price on ginger. I once even got up on a stage in front of a paying audience and told them where to get cheap ginger.

But I was wrong.

Today I stopped by that little market under the Manhattan bridge to get some celery and carrots for my fish stock, and there I saw it, mocking me. Ginger, large golden cloves of beautiful ginger, for


I don't know how they're doing it, and I'm sure however they're growing it is giving the planet whatever the planetary equivalent of AIDS is, but I bought about three and a half pounds of it just for fun. And the guy charged my $1.50 for it because it was under four pounds! That comes to 42 CENTS A POUND!

Excuse me, I have to go put my head between my knees for a second.

Okay, I'm back. But if anyone knows a retail spot that has a better price on ginger, let me know so I can kill you.