Ginger has been used in folk medicine for many centuries. It is commonly used in Asia for cooking as well as medicine. India is the largest producer of ginger and it can be used fresh, dried, powdered, juiced or as oil. In many Asian cultures it is used in tea or white hot water. This is how I like to use ginger as it adds extra flavor without the extra calories or sodium. It does wonders for our bodies digestive system and should be an essential part of our diets.
Ginger can be used in many ways including tea, beer, snaps, cookies breads and much more.
Name: Ginger (origin Southern Asia)
Varieties: Ginger comes from the Zingiberacease family of plants which includes turmeric, cardamom and galangal. There are over 1,300 plants in this family but only eight main edible ginger plants of which butterfly ginger is the most popular. It is most often sold in the grocery store or farmers’ market in the form of ginger root (as shown above and below). Pink pickled ginger is also popular in many Asian countries.
Season: Ginger is at its best in September. It is available year round but it is best bought in stores in the fall months. This is why so many recipes including this spice are popular around the holidays including gingerbread cookies and houses.
Heath Benefits: Ginger has long been associated with helping to reduce the effects of nausea. This is due to the phenolic compounds present in ginger that relieves the gastrointestinal issues. Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea can relieve motion sickness, morning sickness, upset stomach, nausea from chemotherapy, diarrhea and more. It has also been linked to reducing muscle pain and inflammation.
Nutrients: Contains vitamins B, C and E as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium and zinc. A small ginger root contains about 5 calories.
How to store them: When selecting ginger in the store be sure to pick pieces that are firm and wrinkle free. Pick ones that are free from damage and have smooth skin. Ginger can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for about 3 weeks. It can also be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.