Ginger is a knotted, thick, beige rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale and has been used as a medicine in Asia, India and Arabia since ancient times.

It can not only be used to treat stomach upset, diarrhoea and nausea and aid digestion, but also to help treat arthritis, colic diarrhoea and heart conditions. Ginger also contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and many people with arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels.

But ginger is also valued around the world as an important cooking spice and helps treat cold symptoms as well as headaches, as it can promote healthy sweating. It can be used either fresh or dried and ground to a powder.

The sweetly pungent taste of the fresh, juicy ginger makes it suitable for sweet and savoury dishes. It can also be preserved in sugar syrup or crystallised. The dried ground ginger is more fiery.
You can use ginger finely chopped, grated, crushed to give juice or sliced. It can be added to curry pastes, fish dishes, squash soups and many more. Dried ginger is often used in baking.

Fresh ginger is of course superior in flavour and contains higher levels of gingerol. When purchasing fresh ginger make sure it is firm, not wrinkled and free of mould. Unpeeled it can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks. Dry ginger quickly loses its pungency when ground and you should keep it in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.

You can easily make ginger lemonade by combining grated ginger, lemon juice honey and water. It is not only very tasty but also very healthy. And combining ginger, tamari, olive oil and garlic makes a splendid salad dressing. Ginger is often used in puddings, jams, preserves and drinks like ginger beer or ginger wine and tea.

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