Friday, 11 June 2021

Ginger and Galangal: What's the Difference? Plus Grow Broccoli


What's the difference?

Are you into Asian cooking?
Not with the pre-made pastes but starting from scratch.
Even if it’s just a stir fry, you may be wondering about two items you can buy in the supermarket.
Both are used in Asian cooking but one is a more reddish brown colour and the other a sort of light brown.
Both are rhizomes,and both are members of the Zingiberaceae family, so what’s the difference?

Galangal tends to get used in South East Asian cooking.
Galangal has a very different and somewhat stronger fragrance to ginger.
Centuries ago, powdered galangal was used as snuff!
  • There's two varieties of Galangal,
Greater galangal is used mainly in cooking.
Lesser galangal is used mainly for medicinal purposes.
Some alternative names for galangal is Laos powder, and Siamese ginger.
Ginger can be bought fresh as a brown rhizome, but it's also available in various preserved forms.
Candied ginger; ginger in syrup; pickled ginger (pink in colour); ginger powder is derived by slicing the ginger root, then drying it and pummeling it into a powder. 

Ian's Tips
  • If you often buy fresh ginger from the supermarket, or even grow your own, the best tip for peeling it is not with a knife or a vegetable peeler, but scraping it off with a spoon.
  • The other tip is to use a ceramic grater especially designed for grating ginger and not the skin off your fingers.
  • Fresh ginger should not be fibrous.
  • The longer the ginger stays in the ground, the hotter and more fibrous it gets.
  • What great tips from Ian!

Can you substitute galangal for ginger?

Use about half but do not use it in sweet cooking because it has more of a savoury flavour.

You can grow your own ginger even though it's a tropical rhizome. 
Growing it in a container in cooler climates is perfectly acceptable.

So let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from

If you want more information about any herb or spice, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Which vegetable has more vitamin C than an orange? 
  • Would you have guessed broccoli? Brassica oleracea var Italica or botrytis cymosa
Freshly picked from my garden photo M Cannon

  • Would you also have guessed that Broccoli heads are actually groups of flower buds that are almost ready to flower? Each group of buds is called a floret.
There’s some confusion as to where exactly name broccoli comes from.
Some say it’s from the Latin word brachium, which means "arm" or "branch," other’s that it’s from the Italian word broccolo, which means "cabbage sprout."

Broccoli is of course in the Brassicaceae family of vegetables along with cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, turnips and many of the Asian greens.
Apparently Romans grew and loved to eat Broccoli way back in 23 to 79 BCE.

Why should you grow Broccoli if it’s available all year round in your supermarket?
Firstly, supermarket Broccoli has probably been sprayed for all manner of pests whether or not the pests visited the Broccoli plant.
Secondly, supermarket Broccoli stems are pretty tough to eat, when they’re supposed to be tender.
Why, because that type of Broccoli transports better?
But there’s another reason too.

  • Broccoli has had a resurgence in popularity – for its high vitamin content and anti-cancer agents. It’s a fast-growing and easy-to-grow crop, producing bluish-green heads.
Sprouting Broccoli Anyone?
The sprouting types – white or purple sprouting – are hardy and overwintered for harvest in spring, filling the gap between sprouts and spring cabbage.
  • Homegrown Broccoli, especially the heirloom varieties, also re-shoot after your cut of the central Broccoli stem.
When to Sow
  • Temperate and cool climates suit Broccoli best with a temperature range of 150C to 250C. 
How to grow Broccoli?

Sow Sprouting Broccoli seeds 6mm deep, spacing plants 35cm apart. 
Broccoli seeds take 7-10 days to emerge. 
  • Broccoli seedlings can be unstable and fall over during heavy wind, to help then send out additional roots to anchor them better you can remove the cotyledons (the first two seed leaves) once the first set of true leaves are formed and cover up to this point in soil. 
  • In temperate areas you should sow Broccoli seeds from mid-Summer until the end of August. 
  • Snail damage on young broccoli seedlings
    In really cold areas where winter growing is impossible, try sowing the seed during Spring and growing broccoli as a warm season crop. 
  • In the subtropics green looping caterpillars can be a major pest of broccoli so sow the seed from April to May to avoid their peak period of activity in Autumn. 
  • Broccoli is not suited for growing in the tropics as it is too hot and humid, try growing Asian or other tropical greens instead.
Fertilising your broccoli
Once a fortnight feed your broccoli with a liquid fertilizer; seaweed, manure tea, nettle tea etc.
When your Broccoli is growing always make sure that the beds are free from competitive weeds by hand weeding regularly.
Don’t plant or sow Broccoli in your veggie bed if you’ve grown it before in the past 3 years.
You may get a disease called Club Root that causes you Broccoli plant to wilt regardless of how much water you give it.
  • Remember the acronym. LRLC-Legumes, root veg, leafy then Cucurbits, Brassicas.
Harvest broccoli heads when they have reached maximum size, are still compact, and before the buds loosen, open into flowers, or turn yellow.

Broccoli is not too choosy about the site it grows in but prefers to be in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade with no problems.
  • Growing in too much shade will reduce the size of the Broccoli head.
The ideal soil is a reasonably heavy (not pure clay) which is rich in nutrients and has been well-dug.
Like all brassicas, Broccoli needs a minimum soil pH of 6; but really prefers a pH of 7.
  • Add lime if you need to raise the soil pH.
  • Broccoli is what’s called a heavy feeder, so do add plenty of blood and bone, and decomposed manures by the bucket load before you start.
Broccoli types
Broccoli comes in many shapes and varieties but is grouped into five major strains: sprouting, broccolini, purple, Romanseco, and Chinese varieties.
Today, I’m concentrating on the sprouting variety.
  • Now you probably thought that was what those little shoots of Broccoli are called but you would be wrong.
  • Those little guys are called Broccolini.If you plant the sprouting varieties, they can be continually harvested for up to 3 months.
  • Prepare the ground with plenty of well- rotted manure or compost.
  • Always pick the central head first, because this will encourage the prolific growth of side shoots.
Pick these shoots regularly and don’t allow it to flower, as this will stop production of new shoots.
Broccoli di Cicco
Broccoli seeds are easy enough to get at supermarkets, garden centres and online seed suppliers of course.
Try these varieties
Broccoli green sprouting
An Italian variety, the blue-green head is followed by side shoots for up to 3 months. Harvest in 9 weeks from transplant
Broccoli purple sprouting.
The ultimate cut and come gain vegetable, this broccoli keeps on producing for months.
Not only is it delicious and full of antioxidants; it’s visually spectacular with its wondrous spires of deep purple florets.
You can start picking the shoots in as little as 10 weeks from transplant.
Broccoli 'Green Sprouting Calabrese'
Broccoli 'Green Sprouting Calabrese' is a sweet, mild and tender Italian heirloom broccoli which forms multiple heads.

Did you know that this variety was introduced into English speaking countries by Italian immigrants during the 1880's?
This variety will produce over a longer period of time than singular headed varieties, and is mild in flavour, sweet and tender in texture.
Time to maturity is 6-10 weeks .
All of these varieties will provide months of continual harvest and can even be considered as a perennial plant if you can manage to deal with the influx of cabbage moths that come around as the weather warms up.
When do you pick your Broccoli?
You’ve got to time it just right, and that’s when the cluster of tight buds in the central head is well formed and before the individual flowers start to open.
Make a sloping cut (this allows water to run off), picking a piece that's about 10 cm long.
That way you’ve left a reasonable amount of the plant intact to produce smaller sideshoots or "florets," which you can pick as well.
Great for stir fries.
At this stage, don’t stop feeding and watering the remaining broccoli stem otherwise your plants will go to seed and you won’t get any side shoots.
TIP: If your Broccoli plants starts to flower it’ll going into seed production and you won’t get any more side shoots.
Why is Broccoli good for you?
Broccoli contains twice the vitamin C of an orange.
Did you know that just 100g of Broccoli has two day’s supply of vitamin C (don’t overcook  or you’ll lose some).
Broccoli also a good source of dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin E, folate and beta carotene
100g broccoli has 120kJ.
Broccoli also contains magnesium and as much calcium as whole milk.
One cup of broccoli boosts the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. 
Great for preventing colds. Don’t underestimate the power of broccoli! 

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