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The Wonders of Ginger

written by Guest Blogger June 14, 2011

Guest blogger and flexitarian cookbook author, Bindu Grandhi, is back. This time to tell us about ginger, the funky-looking root that adds flavor and zest in cooking and calms an upset tummy! Make sure to read right through to the end as she shares another tasty, healthy recipe with us.

Even though ginger is available year round in the supermarket, now’s the perfect time to snap it up because the roots are at their juiciest and tastiest. It is so versatile and adds flavor and zest in just about every dish – soups, sauces, marinades, pickles, rice dishes, curries, baked goods and even ice cream! Not to mention my favorite way of getting a ginger fix, a soothing cup of ginger chai (recipe below).

Ginger is native to India and China. Whether, minced, crushed or sliced it is an essential ingredient in Asian cooking. Did you know in English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers put out small containers of ground ginger, for people to sprinkle into their beer — the origin of ginger ale!

It is one of the oldest, most well known spices worldwide and is prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal uses.

My grandmother would tout the therapeutic uses of ginger, especially for relieving all kinds of tummy trouble like indigestion, gas, diarrhea and stomach cramping. She would make ginger tea or grate a teaspoon of fresh ginger in a warm glass of milk. Ginger root is also used to treat nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness.

By the way, store-bought ginger-ale and cookies don’t contain enough ginger to help with nausea. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms. Ginger is high in potassium and low in sodium which helps if you’re trying to cut back on salt but crave flavor.

Here are some tips for selecting and storing ginger:

  • Look for ginger that has clean, smooth skin; the more wrinkled, the less juice and flavor.
  • You don’t have to buy the whole hand of ginger root, just break off as much as you need.
  • Fresh ginger can be kept for several weeks in the salad drawer of the refrigerator uncovered. Wrapping it in plastic will make it mold faster.
  • If you frequently use ginger, puree it in a food processor with a little water. Freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray(s); use cubes to add flavor to the above mentioned dishes.
  • I use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin, but you can use a teaspoon or a special ginger peeler as well.

My mom and I love this tea and savor the sweet tangy flavor of ginger and brown sugar during those cool summer evenings.

 

About the Author

Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.

I love ginger so much so that I buy it almost every time I shop for groceries. Thank you for the excellent post, Bindu! Ginger in ice cream? How interesting! What’s your favourite way to use ginger?

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