Friday, February 1, 2013

Ginger Sweet, Spicy and Good for You

I have to be honest ginger is one of my favorite seasonings. Commonly used in Asian Cuisine but used to a lesser degree in western kitchens. When I was young and living in the southern U.S., I rarely heard the word ginger unless it was followed by the words bread or snaps. Luckily for me I have had the opportunity to travel and be exposed to a lot of new things which has greatly broadened my culinary horizons. Now I cannot imagine a kitchen without GINGER.

Ginger or Ginger Root to be more accurate is technically a Rhizome. This means it is not a true root but the underground stem of the Ginger Plant. It is easy to grow in either gardens or pots and in temperate climates will grow for most of year. Simply plant the roots from one patch to grow the next. Similar to planting potatoes one root cut into pieces will grow a multitude of plants. If cut it will keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks and if frozen 6 months. So having ginger year round is easy.

Ginger has a sweet, slightly lemony taste with a very spicy edge. Younger roots tend to be sweeter while more mature roots seem to have a bit more fire. This makes it very versatile. It goes well with almost any meat but particular well with chicken and pork. I would not make a stock from either one without adding a little ginger to the pot. It brings out and enhances the flavors of these light meats without covering them up. Similarly, it goes well when used in marinades and stuffing mixes. The place ginger really shines through though is when it is added to soups. The addition of a little sliced or chopped ginger will really wake up your taste buds.

It’s always nice to enjoy good food but when it taste great and is beneficial to your health you have the best of both worlds. Doctors are studying ginger as a natural substitute in the treatment of several common ailments. So far it has been found to treat nausea, lower blood pressure, help in regulating blood sugar and relieving some of the pain due to inflammation associated with Osteo Arthritis. One word of caution, ginger does act as a blood thinner and should be avoided by people with bleeding disorders.

So there you have it, ginger, one of my favorite seasonings. It taste great is versatile and good for you. If you’re not familiar with it, give a try. If you use it regularly, now you can do so with more confidence that it’s a good thing to use. Me, I think, I’ll have a nice cup of Ginger Tea with a little honey to pick me up.

Please reference the US Gov. Institute of Health at:

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