Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

The ginger root is used as a culinary spice. The rhizome of the ginger plant is referred to as the hand. Ginger’s name is derived from a Sanskrit word with a meaning of ‘shaped like a deer’s antlers.’

Flavour

Ginger is not only used in cooking but is also a wonderful way to add zing to fresh juice. Ginger has a sharp yet subtle flavour with a tangy freshness, light spiciness with a slightly sweet and refreshing taste.

Aroma

Ginger has a fresh, lemony, pungent aroma

Pairing

Ginger can add a wonderful zing to all types of dishes, from salads to entrees. Put a little zest into your life with ginger as it can add flavour while also enhancing particular flavours. Fresh ginger's tanginess, spiciness, warmth and sweetness complement a range of dishes, from sweet to savoury. It can be a dominant flavouring, or it can work in conjunction with other flavours. Beyond the traditional Asian dishes like stir-fries, curries and dipping sauces, ginger is equally at home when used in biscuits, ice-cream and cakes.

Growing

The hand of ginger can be dug up at any stage during the growing period. However the longer you leave it, the larger it will be and the hotter the flavour. To plant ginger cut up a hand of ginger into 3cm long pieces and plant them 5cm apart in a partly shaded spot. To grow ginger requires warmth with a decent amount of rainfall. During spring the rhizome planted will shoot buds.

History

For thousands of years ginger has been used in Chinese and Indian cooking and was essential in almost all of their meals. During the great plagues over Europe, ginger was recommended as a guard to protect from the disease.

In traditional Chinese medicine ginger was used to dispel potential disease as it makes the body sweat, clearing it of toxins and blocking ailments from forming. Because of its ability to treat stomach disorders, ginger was highly valued in the 6th century. When it became popular in the 13th to 14th century, a pound had the same value as a sheep.

Gingerbread became popular during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Medicinal

In modern China, ginger is still used as an official guide drug to calm effects of potentially toxic ingredients. Research has found that ginger acts like aspirin in stopping the production of chemicals in the body responsible for thickening the blood, which can cause blood clots. Eating ginger also increases the production of bile which can reduce fat absorption and lower cholesterol levels. Eating a small amount of ginger before consuming a meal can help minimise the chance of indigestion. You can eat ginger to increase the function of your metabolism, circulatory, respiratory and immune systems.

Facts about Ginger

The shoot that grows out of the ginger rhizome is highly valued in China, Korea and Japan.

Common Questions

Should ginger be peeled?

There is no reason to peel or not peel ginger. If the ginger is visible then for aesthetic reasons, it is good to peel, if not than you can save some time and keep the skin on. There is very little difference in nutritional or flavour benefits with the skin on or off.

Will ginger go off?

The ginger you buy in the supermarket is almost always cut into a finger from a hand. This can decrease the life. Ginger, when not kept refrigerated, generally has a life of a week before deterioration begins. When ginger begins to go bad the skin will become harder and the flesh will become softer.

How does ginger stop nausea?

Studies have shown that ginger works better than a placebo at reducing motion sickness, though is not as successful as conventional motion sickness medication. A small study has also found that consuming a small amount of ginger for no more than 4 days has reduced morning sickness in pregnant women.