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VSU research results show baby ginger (young and immature harvested ginger) contains significantly higher antioxidants than mature, or conventional, ginger found in grocery stores. Higher antioxidants mean potentially higher health benefits. Additionally, many chefs prefer the more delicate tasting baby ginger for their dishes. The fact that baby ginger doesn’t have an outer skin needing removal before consumption is an added bonus. It’s one reason marinated baby ginger and not its older counterpart is used as a sushi accompaniment.

The fresh U.S. ginger industry is based on imported mature ginger. Baby ginger has a shorter growth-cycle than mature ginger, and can, therefore, be grown in most of Virginia in high tunnels and outdoors. It is harvested and available in the fall. However, it has a much shorter shelf life than conventional ginger, which is why the product is imported to the U.S. in its mature version. But due to the new finding that baby ginger is higher in antioxidants and is often preferred by chefs and nearly impossible to buy at retail, it holds great potential for Virginia’s small-scale farmers.

For more information, please contact the Small Fruits & Vegetables Program at mjklingman@vsu.edu/804-524-5493.