It is one of the oldest spices in the world — and not only popular in cooking because of its lemony, pungent aroma. Ginger also offers a lot in terms of health and was named medicinal plant of the year in 2018. Its essential oils and the pungent substance gingerol have an antioxidant effect, relieve nausea and inhibit inflammation. In addition, it has a digestive effect, stimulating the release of saliva and gastric juices. Right now, fresh ginger tea is beneficial for sore throats and colds. In addition, it stimulates the metabolism and thus heats up cold hands and feet.
The origin, properties and history of ginger
Ginger originated in India, more precisely in the tropical forests there. In Europe, it spread only after the Middle Ages. Today, ginger is grown throughout Southeast Asia, the tropical regions of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Australia. Its spicy, citrusy aroma also brings a slightly sweet pungency, so that it is used in the cuisine of all countries in a variety of ways.
It is also impossible to imagine European cuisine without the rootstock of ginger. It can be used as an ingredient in various forms, especially in Asian dishes, for example as a powder, sliced and pickled, as a candied variant or, of course, fresh. And the beverage industry has also long taken ginger to its heart: Alongside ginger beer, tea and lemonade, the ginger shot is currently conquering supermarket shelves.
Ginger has a woody surface and is a light brown to yellowish tuber. The rhizome can grow up to 40 cm long and reach a weight of up to 1 kg. Its taste is pungent, aromatic and slightly soapy. In our country, ginger can be harvested from March to October, as it is a frost-sensitive plant. However, in other countries, which have a subtropical climate, ginger is grown all year round and is therefore available in our country all year round.
The ingredients of ginger
Ginger is one of the healthiest foods in the world. This is due to the many ingredients, such as vitamins A and C, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
For example, 100 g of ginger contains 97 mg of calcium, 17 mg of iron, 910 mg of potassium, 130 mg of magnesium and 34 mg of sodium.
The effect of ginger on our body
Ginger is considered a so-called “superfood”. Responsible for this are certain bioactive ingredients, the so-called gingerols and shogaols. They are responsible for the pungent taste and some health effects. In addition, ginger contains essential oil, which is responsible for the typical ginger aroma.
No wonder ginger has been used as a remedy in Asia for thousands of years. It is used for the following complaints:
- Stomach pain
- Asthma and respiratory problems
Researchers and physicians have found in numerous laboratory tests that ginger can, for example, slow down the formation of so-called free radicals, which are harmful to many tissues. The ingredients of ginger may also have a positive effect on the development of cancer cells. Studies on humans show that ginger can help especially with the following complaints:
- Feeling queasy in the stomach area and vomiting
- Inflammation, especially in osteoarthritis
Ginger in the kitchen
The tuber is versatile. Most people know it from Asian dishes, because it is impossible to imagine Asian cuisine without ginger.
Ginger is excellent with soups and vegetables, as well as fish and meat dishes. Ginger is also used in some desserts, for example to add an aromatic note to cream dishes, fruit salads, cookies or cakes.
But ginger is not only used in dishes, but also in drinks. The best known is ginger tea. But the so-called ginger shots are also gaining in popularity. They usually contain a mix of ginger pieces, ginger juice and other, often sweetened, fruit juices.
Ginger can be processed fresh, but is also available in powder form or dried. For the preparation of dishes, ginger can be sliced, diced or finely grated.
Purchase and storage of ginger
The fresh ginger can be easily stored in a cool and dark environment for several weeks.
Ginger can also be frozen without any problems. To do this, simply slice or grate the root and freeze in a freezer can.
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