I feel about ginger the way other people feel about garlic: the correct amount to add to a recipe is n + 1. If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon fresh, I get out my microplane and grate at least three times that amount. I dice crystallized ginger to stir into freezer jams and baked goods, even if they don’t call for it, and I am constantly searching for ginger teas strong enough to lay fragrant waste to my sinuses.
I’m told that my love of ginger is genetic, shared by my maternal grandmother. She was killed in a car accident when I was only three, so there’s a part of me that’s looking for her every time I pull a knob of ginger from the freezer. This may be the reason why I almost never find ginger products that are gingery enough for me: I’m looking for something that cannot be found. But Inna’s Super Spicy Ginger Snacks come close.
When I lived in San Francisco I knew Inna only as the Bay Area producer of some very good jam. It wasn’t until late last year that I learned they had branched into ginger, courtesy of a bag of the snacks that my friends Mike and Kristian sent me for Hanukkah. A sweet slap of ginger hit me right in the nose when I opened it, and I knew I was in for a good time.
Inna likens its ginger snacks to ginger jerky, and this is an entirely accurate comparison: what you get here is full-on ginger, sliced, dehydrated, and very lightly doctored with sugar and apple cider vinegar. Unlike crystallized ginger, which often has enough sugar to demote the ginger to a competing, if not secondary consideration, Inna’s keeps its focus where it should be. This is ginger that travels straight up your nose with the ruthless accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. It burns everything in its path: your mouth, your throat, your sinuses, your brain. It’s glorious.
That said, the snacks aren’t all spice — there’s a little sweetness, too, along with the faint tang of vinegar. While people who aren’t ginger fans will be easily overpowered, those of us who are will say the balance here is just right, no notes. There’s also the appeal of the crisp-chewy texture, which both invites compulsive snacking and fights back just enough to be satisfying. And while the snacks are in no way marketed as having any medicinal purpose, I find them to be ideal for eating after a big meal or for bringing peace to an irritable stomach.
What I’m saying here is that they are perfect. After I finished the three-ounce bag my friends sent me, I ordered two 13-ounce bags. I finished one of them just before I sat down to write this, spooning the ginger dust from the bottom of the bag like a fiend. My grandmother, I’m sure, would approve.