Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Other Names: Jamaica Ginger, East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Pepper

Medicinal Uses: Digestive aid, Bowel colic, Carminative, Dyspepsia, Aphrodisiac
 
Ginger: (spice) Dried roots (rhizomes) of a member of the zingiber family. Root pieces are called “hands.” Smooth, straw-colored ones have been peeled, bleached.
 
Ginger is a spice which is used for cooking and is also consumed whole as a delicacy or medicine. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale. The ginger plant has a long history of cultivation, having originated in Asiaand is grown in India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. Its actual name is Root Ginger. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. 

They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and Chinese cuisine to flavor dishes such as seafood or mutton and vegetarian recipes. Powdered dry ginger root (ginger powder) is typically used to spice gingerbread and other recipes. Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 parts fresh for 1 part ground, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are not exactly interchangeable. 

Ginger is also made into candy, is used as a flavoring for cookies, crackers and cake, and is the main flavor in ginger ale—a sweet, carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage, as well as the similar, but spicier ginger beer which is popular in the Caribbean. Fresh ginger should be peeled before being eaten. For storage, the ginger should be wrapped tightly in a towel and placed in a plastic bag, and can be kept for about three weeks in a refrigerator and up to three months in a freezer.

 

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