Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ginger – Your Chinese Spice Next Door

Ginger is a tuber that can be consumed as a spice, medicine or sometimes even whole as a delicacy. It is very widely used in Asian cooking. Within the ginger family, we also have turmeric, cardamom and galangal, which are very common in Indian cuisine.

It is typically used as a spice or flavor provider/enhancer and can be found in both sweet and savory food items. Examples of savory food items include sauces, pickles, chutneys and curry pastes. Examples of sweet food items include jams, preserves, candied ginger, cakes and cookies. Ground dried ginger instead of fresh grated ginger is typically used in cakes and cookies such as gingerbread and ginger snaps.

Flavor of Ginger

Whole raw ginger has a brown to off-white skin with a pale yellow interior. It adds an aromatic, pungent (to some people) and spicy flavor and zest to stir-fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes.

Buying and Storing

Ginger is commercially available all year round and typically in the following forms:
1. Whole fresh roots
2. Powdered ginger
3. Preserved ginger
4. Crystallized ginger
5. Pickled ginger

In Asian cooking, ginger is almost always used fresh, either minced, crushed or sliced. Fresh ginger can be kept for several weeks in the salad drawer of the refrigerator. You can also freeze fresh ginger roots for an even longer shelf life. Frozen ginger is in fact a lot easier to grate. You don’t even have to thaw them before grating them directly into the sauce that you are making. Dried and powdered finger should be stored in airtight containers.

Medicinal Properties of Ginger

Ginger has many wonderful health benefits. Ginger is most commonly known for its effectiveness in relieving indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping by increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva. Ginger root is also used to treat nausea related to both motion and morning sickness. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms. Some studies have also been done to show the beneficial effects of ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties on some cancers such as colon and ovarian cancer. Ginger also helps stimulate circulation of the blood, aiding the removal of toxins from the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys and nourishing the skin. The ginger root can also be used to treat asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems because it is helps loosen and expel phlegm from the lungs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good recipe. Let me order these with the spices i ordered at

I use ginger powder from here instead of whole ginger.

That increases shelf life...