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China produces almost half of the world’s ginger, but last year the country suffered a poor harvest. The coronavirus pandemic made the problem worse, and this October’s harvest was just as bad. Ground ginger output from China has dropped by 20 percent, and prices for the spice have risen. What else can you use to give your gingerbread men that festive flavour?
Bakers are in trouble this Christmas, with a key ingredient almost impossible to find in shops.
The pandemic and two poor harvests in China has caused a global ginger shortage just before Christmas.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s have completely sold out of the spice online, and Asda has no ginger available online or in store.
While supermarkets insist that they will be able to meet demands, it is thought that the shortage could last until February, 2021.
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Gingerbread lattes, gingerbread men, and gingerbread houses will be hard to come by this Christmas.
The spice is synonymous with Christmas and gives a spicy taste that children and adults love.
Ginger as a spice has a warming effect on the throat and body when consumed, so it’s perfect for the winter.
Alongside vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, ginger is one of the most popular spices to use in cooking at this time of year because of its smell and taste.
What can you use instead of ground ginger?
Miele’s home economist Cesar Fernandez has revealed what you can use instead of ginger this year.
There are plenty of alternatives that will offer the same warmth and flavour to your cooking.
The most obvious solution is to use fresh ginger instead of ground ginger.
Ground ginger is just peeled, dried out and powdered fresh ginger.
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Simply switch out the ground ginger for fresh ginger, but don’t go overboard.
Mr Fernandez said: “Fresh ginger is the best substitute for ground ginger, and it is fine to freeze fresh ginger and grate directly from frozen if needed.
“As fresh ginger is a less concentrated version of ground, you will need one teaspoon of fresh ginger per quarter teaspoon of ground ginger in a recipe.”
You can be a little more generous with crystallised ginger.
This form of ginger isn’t as strong as ground ginger or fresh ginger.
Mr Fernandez said: “Keep your eye out for crystallised ginger, as although you will need to use a lot of it, it is an ideal substitute when baking festive recipes such as gingerbread.
“To substitute, use 50g of chopped crystallised ginger per teaspoon of ground ginger in a recipe.”
If you can’t find fresh or crystallised ginger, you can try making your own spiced blend.
Mixing together some festive spices in place of the missing ginger could work.
Mr Fernandez said: “If you don’t have any fresh or crystallised ginger, you can create your own spice blend, which will work as a ginger substitute.
“Combine equal quantities of ground cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace and use ½ teaspoon of this mixture as a substitute for a teaspoon of ginger.
“Although the flavour might not be exactly the same, it will still enhance your bakes with warmth.
“If you don’t have these spices, you could also try using mixed spice or turmeric instead of ginger.”
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