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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ginger

Ginger:

About:

Ginger (Zingiber officinate) is a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae whose rhizome (underground stem), ginger root is widely used as a spice or a medicine.   Ginger produces a hot fragrant kitchen spice.  Young rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste.  Young rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste.   Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. 


 










History:

Ginger is indigenous to southern China, and was spread eventually to the Spice Islands, other parts of Asia, and subsequently to West Africa and the Caribbean.  Ginger was exported to Europe via India during the 1st century A.D. as a result of the lucrative spice trade.  India remains the largest produce of ginger today.  From 1585 Jamaican ginger was the first oriental spice to be grown in the New World and was imported back to Europe.  


Uses:

You ginger rhizomes are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes.  They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added.  Sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added.   Juice from the ginger root is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a common ingredient in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many south Asian cuisines for flavoring seafood, certain meats and vegetarian cuisines.   


Health Benefits:

Ginger has a long history of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.  In herbal medicine ginger is regarded as am excellent carminative (a substance that promotes elimination of intestinal gas) and as an intestinal spasmolytic (relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract).  Modern research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit formation of inflammatory compounds and direct anti-inflammatory effects.  Ginger's anti-vomiting action has been shown useful in reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Ginger has been shown to be very effective in preventing symptoms of motion sickness especially seasickness. One study showed ginger to be more effective than Dramamine, and over-the-counter and prescription for motion sickness.  
Gingerois, the main active ingredient in ginger may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells.  Lab studies have shown that the active phytonutrients in ginger kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death and self-digestion. 
Ginger can help promote healthy sweating, which often helps fight colds and flu's.   Other uses include pain relief from muscle soreness and arthritis, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough and bronchitis.  It is sometimes used for chest pain, low back pain, and stomach pain.

Season:

Ginger is available year round.

Selecting and Storing:

Wherever possible choose fresh ginger over dried.  Select firm, smooth, and free from mold roots.  Mature ginger is the more widely available type.  It has a tougher skin and requires peeling.  Young ginger is usually only available in Asian markets, but does not need to be peeled.  Ginger is also available crystallized, candied, and pickled.
Fresh unpeeled ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  Unpeeled ginger stored in the freezer will keep for up to 6 months.  

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Ways to use Ginger:

  • To make a spicy lemonade, combine freshly grated ginger with lemon juice, cane juice or honey, and water.
  • To enhance a rice side, sprinkle grated ginger, sesame seeds and nori strips.
  • To make a great ginger salad dressing, combine ginger, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic.
  • To spice up your vegetables, add freshly minced ginger.
  • To tweak your sweet potatoes,  add ginger and orange juice and puree. 

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