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Ginger warms you from the inside

Root ginger may look beige and boring, but tastewise it’s anything but. It tastes fruity, peppery, slightly sweet and maybe a little lemony. The exotic mix of flavours adds a fiery note to many dishes. The essential oils and pungent ingredients – gingerols and shogoals – add flavour and warm you from the inside; research is now identifying their therapeutic effects.

Ring the changes with different varieties

Zingiber officinale – the botanical name for ginger – came originally from India or China. Today, the reed-like plant is grown in many places in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The part that is harvested is the rhizome. There are numerous varieties of ginger: Australian ginger is generally very mild, Indian is very hot and spicy, Jamaican ginger has a fine lemony aroma. For eating fresh, it’s mostly the unripe tubers of less fibrous ginger varieties are preferred. Mature tubers are often dried, peeled, ground and used to enrich spice blends such as curry, ras el-hanout and gingerbread spice.

Cooking with ginger

Grated or finely chopped ginger goes well with Asian meat and vegetable dishes and adds warmth and flavour to soups, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. Add it to citrus-based fruit salads for a spicy tang and to lemon tea for extra warmth and sharpness. Ginger reduces the sulphur notes of garlic. And many sushi fans love pickled ginger (gari) as a key part of a sushi meal.

Tip: If you cook fresh ginger too long it will lose its aroma. If you put large chunks of ginger into the cooking pot and then remove them before serving, you won’t have to peel them.

Rediscovering a traditional remedy

Chinese and Indian medicine traditionally use ginger as a remedy for many complaints. It is a well-documented fact that ginger counteracts nausea, for example, travel sickness, during pregnancy or during chemo therapy. Although the evidence is not yet conclusive, it is also thought to promote circulation, to help with inflammation, muscle and joint pain and to prevent colds. 

Tip: Many people swear by ginger tea. It is warming and it helps you to breathe more freely. To make tea, simmer thinly sliced ginger in water for 10 minutes and drink hot.

 

Source: Stiftung Warentest