Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes.
Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section of your local market.
Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture.
The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety.
It's covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.
Native to southeastern Asia, a region whose cuisines still feature this wonderfully spicy herb, ginger has been renowned for millennia in many areas throughout the world.
Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties.
Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.
Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger-spice possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger-spice contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols.
These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.
Arthritis-related problems with your aging knees?
Regularly spicing up your meals with fresh ginger may help.
Protection against Colorectal Cancer
Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells.
Ginger Induces Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Cells
Lab experiments showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion).
Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells.
Anyone who's ever reached for a glass of ginger ale when they’ve had a stomachache knows about the anti-nausea effects of ginger.
So it's fitting that the herb somewhat resembles the digestive organ.
Gingerol, which is the ingredient responsible for ginger's pungent scent and taste, is listed in the USDA database of phytochemicals as having the ability to prevent nausea and vomiting.
A clue to ginger's success in eliminating gastrointestinal distress is offered by recent double-blind studies, which have demonstrated that ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness.
In fact, in one study, ginger-spice was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness.
Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.
Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Ginger's anti-vomiting action has been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, even the most severe form, hyperemesis gravidum, a condition which usually requires hospitalization.
Immune Boosting Action
Ginger-spice can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flu's.
A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist
German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections.
Ginger-spice is so concentrated with active substances, you don't have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects.
For nausea, ginger-spiced tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach.
For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.
How to Choose and Store
Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger's active protease (it's anti-inflammatory compound).
Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, make sure it is firm, smooth and free of mold.
Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature.
Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.
Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled.
Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it'll keep for up to six months.
Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.
Alternatively, you can store it in the refrigerator where it will enjoy an extended shelf life of about one year.
Tips for Preparing Ginger:
To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with a paring knife.
The ginger can then be sliced, minced or julienned.
The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process.
Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.
A Few Quick Serving Suggestions:
Turn up the heat while cooling off by making ginger lemonade.
Simply combine freshly grated ginger, lemon juice, cane juice or honey and water.
Add extra inspiration to your rice side dishes by sprinkling grated ginger, sesame seeds and nori strips on top.
Combine ginger, tamari, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.
Add ginger and orange juice to puréed sweet potatoes.
Add grated ginger to your favorite stuffing for baked apples.
Spice up your healthy sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger.
Ginger is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines.
Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin-B6.
If you don't know what to have for dinner tonight ...
Try this quick and easy salsa as an awesome complement to shrimp, scallop and halibut dishes.
Ginger Papaya Salsa
Prep and Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 med. papaya, diced
1 Tbs. cilantro, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbs. lime
Combine all ingredients and enjoy!Tweet
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