Ginger, our most beloved rhizome, has been delighting our palettes and curing our ailments for as long as we can remember. Whatever form it may come in – a delightful spice in our Asian eateries or a flavor in our favorite teas and ales – it's our go-to root when we're looking to spice up our lives. Lucky for us, the root has been popping up in our very own Georgia clay, and we have the folks of Verdant Kitchen to thank for it. Founder Ross Harding, who hails from Australia (where there are ginger fields aplenty) found himself in Savannah two years ago and suspected that the swampy, Savannah soil was prime for gingering. He couldn't have been more correct. Despite the crop's reputation for being a bit on the persnickety side, his ginger plants flourished.
But what to do with the ginger once it's grown? The folks at Verdant wanted to get the most out of the root, but were faced with the challenge of sustaining a veggie with a relatively short shelf-life (like we said, ginger is pretty fickle). The solution? Raw food temperature dehydration – a process that preserves the plant without compromising its nutritional value. Once properly dehydrated, the good people of Verdant grind it for use in their various products: ginger syrup, ginger-infused honey, crystallized ginger and their infamous Savannah Ginger Snaps.
The fun doesn't stop there though. Once they had a method of successfully preserving their plants, the people of Verdant started brainstorming innovative ways they could use it. Want to spice up your bacon? Verdant's Chandler Case suggests candying it with their ginger syrup – just preheat your oven to 400 degrees, lay out your bacon on a baking sheet and cook it for five to seven minutes. Then, pour their ginger syrup (and maybe a little extra ground ginger and brown sugar) and cook it for an additional ten minutes. Voilá – your very own homemade candied ginger bacon.
And if that didn't pique your interest, how about recipes for ginger bananas foster or ginger and honey glazed salmon wraps, or cocktails like a dark n' stormy or a moscow mule? Verdant's website is also chock-full of different recipes for ginger fans to try their hand at. In fact, the Verdant folk are so innovative with their recipes they partnered up with Georgia Organics at this year's annual Brew Your Cask Off event at Sweetwater Brewery. Their secret? Incorporating sliced and dried ginger and ginger infused honey with Richland Rum soaked oak chips and casking it with Sweetwater's Georgia Brown Ale base. The result was a delicious, sudsy take on a traditional dark n' stormy that had beer lovers everywhere singing their praises.
Want to try your hand at their recipes? Verdant Kitchen's goods can be found in some of our favorite Atlanta stops (including Savi Provisions and the Grant Park Farmers Market).