Ginger is one of those indispensable herbs that we often take for granted. I can remember having a jar of ground ginger in my cupboard for so long that it lost it's flavor! That was before I realized how many things it could be used for. In the 13th Century the English Royalty loved it so much it became worth it's weight in gold. We are fortunate that we can buy ginger fresh or ground at our grocery stores without having to sell our earthly possessions.
You can grow fresh ginger by planting a ginger root in a 12 inch pot, just below the surface of the dirt. Place the pot in a warm sunny spot, making sure it has good drainage. Water sparingly until the small green shoots appear, and then water well. Ginger loves being misted and fertilized regularly. You will have to bring it inside during the winter, where they will become dormant and die down. After the plant is well established, in about a year, dig up the roots from the newer sprouts to use; these will be more flavorful.
Roots will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, and you can freeze it if it's wrapped well in plastic. You can use fresh ginger in recipes that call for dried, but use about half the amount called for. You can peel ginger root and chop it into very thin pieces for adding to any stir fry recipe. Try adding thin slivers to your poached fruit recipes or compotes. Grate the ginger root and add to your vegetable recipes as you boil or stem them.