Ginger is a root, the rhizome of Zingiber Officinale, and grows in fertile, moist soil (definitely not where I come from). Unlike most spices when ginger is used fresh, not dried, it is still called a spice. Typically the root is dried, and ground to a powder, or the oils from the ginger are extracted and used medicinally.
Ginger purportedly has many medicinal uses. Most of them are unproven by Western Medical Science, but well known in the Schools of Ayurveda, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I am not a trained Nutritionist, or part of the Medical Profession, yet I do believe in the power of herbs and spices to heal. And ginger is one of those spices. It is known as an anti-inflammatory, helping with Arthritis, nausea and vomiting in both pregnancy and chemo therapy patients. It is used to combat ulcerative colitis, heartburn and stomach upset. It is also used to treat Upper Respiratory infections. It may possibly help in heart-related disease, by lowering cholesterol. And there have been studies done to show its usefulness in alleviating motion-sickness. Ginger may possibly have cancer-fighting agents as well, but that remains unproven as of right now.
The culinary uses of ginger are simple. Chop it up fresh and add it to sauteed vegetables. Make a spice mixture, or ginger paste, with turmeric and coriander and a little water, add this to potatoes and cauliflower (Aloo Gobi). Or make a tea, cutting discs and steeping in water. Ginger carries heat, and is spicy, when used with chili powder, it creates a volatile, hot, and terrific compound for soups or stews. I use Ginger in Fava Bean Cassoulet, it creates a complexity in the broth, and the Fava love the ginger. You can pickle ginger, or make ginger beer. Here in the US, ginger has been regulated to Ginger Ale, Gingerbread, Ginger Snaps, and candied ginger. Maybe if we got a bit more fresh ginger in us, we’d be a healthier, happier nation.
Do you have any ginger recipes, or uses of ginger, leave a comment below, let me know. I’d love to post it here on Kitchen Shaman.