Ginger is the root of a very juicy plant, which looks like a small bamboo. It has been known and used for 3,000 years. Since ancient times, it was used a spice in numerous cuisines, including Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Roman cuisines.
It is grown in the southern parts of China and in India. After dried spice mixes, it is the most widely used spice in Asian cuisine. In Asian countries, it is usually consumed fresh. When ginger reached Middle East and Europe through caravan routes, it was in the form of dried roots and therefore, the tradition of using dried ginger spread.
9-10 months after planting ginger, it reaches full ripeness, has the ideal amount of fiber and can be harvested. They are dried in the sun. For the highest quality of ginger, its skin is removed before the drying process. Those dried with their skin are considered of lower quality.
The aroma of dried root ginger reveals itself after it is pound up in a mortar or grinded until it becomes powder. Ginger has a warm, peppery, earthy and woody aroma with slight notes of lemon. Its bitter and sharp taste burns a bit.
Ginger works well with sweet vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. It compliments casseroles and especially, meat meals braised with dried fruits. It is most popular with cakes and cookies. Also, ginger blends well with fruits such as bananas, pears, oranges and pineapples.
Dried ginger can be purchased as whole roots or as powder from spice stores. When buying ginger, you should pay attention to its quality. Low quality ginger has a very sharp taste and its texture is too fibrous. With high quality ginger, you can easily sense the lemon notes.
It may be hard to grind the roots in your home. Therefore, try purchasing small amounts of ground or powder ginger you can consume immediately. If you are planning to boil the ginger for herbal tea, you can opt for root ginger. You can preserve dried root ginger in a glass jar with a tight lid for 2 years.
Cookies baked with ginger and butter are simply divine. By adding plenty of ginger and a pinch of cinnamon, her closest friend, to your butter cookie recipe, you can bake delicious cookies, which will leave their unforgettable mark on your palate.
How about a homemade ginger soda to refresh and energize you during the long summer days? For this, boil a half dessertspoon of powder ginger with a glass of water in a coffeepot for 5 minutes. Turn the stove off and let the liquid cool for 10 minutes. Afterwards, strain the liquid. Add flavor to your drink with a dessertspoon of honey and mix it with mineral water. Keep it in the fridge until its cold and serve it with lemon slices and leaves of mint.
To benefit from ginger’s ability to refresh you and speed up your metabolic rate, it is sufficient to add one or two teaspoons of ground ginger, according to your preference, to your meals, ranging from soups and vegetables to meat dishes. Not only will you benefit from the positive effects of ginger, but you will also add a new flavor to your meals.
Vegetables prepared with ginger and garlic compliment grilled meat and chicken well. According to season, try finely chopping winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrot or summer vegetables such as squash, beans, green peas and fresh onion and sautéing these for a few minutes in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add one or two cloves of garlic, a bit of salt and a dessertspoon of ground ginger and cook the vegetables for a few more minutes. Ready to serve!